Last year’s Women in Baseball night wasn’t just a first for the Mariners; it was, as far as I know, the first event of its kind hosted at a ballpark and sponsored by a team. The event returns this Tuesday: you can get tickets here until noon on the day of the event. Tickets include admission to the game, with a special early entry for the panel, and a drink coupon. This year’s panel promises to be a really interesting one, with scout Amanda Hopkins returning, and the always-entertaining Angie Mentink making an appearance. Frances Traisman, Senior Vice President of Sales, might not have the same household name recognition, but she and Marianne Short are, as of last year, the only female vice-presidents for the Mariners in a list of 82 women who hold positions of senior vice president or above (Short retired this past off-season and was replaced by Lisa Winsby, formerly a senior executive with Bartell’s).
There are only so many slots on a panel, and obviously fan interest will generally veer towards the people who directly interact with the on-field product, the Amanda Hopkinses and Lorena Martins of the world, but it’s important to talk about the women who shape organizational culture from behind the scenes. Remember when Fan Fest was just opening the gates at Safeco and letting fans wander around for a few hours, and now it’s a well-oiled machine of player appearances and dugout interviews and tours and ziplines? That’s thanks to Mandy Lincoln, Director of Marketing. There are legions of women in the Mariners organization doing everything from picking out what hat you might impulse purchase at a game to going toe-to-toe with contractors while constructing the DR Academy. This week and into next, we will be bringing you a series of interviews with women who work for the Mariners in multiple capacities.
Our goal with this series is twofold: one, to highlight the behind-the-scenes work of women who don’t usually get asked to be on panels (“no one wants to hear from the lawyers,” said Melissa Robertson, Deputy GC to the Mariners, sadly); and two, to illustrate the variety of paths that can lead to a career in baseball. In last year’s TIDES report (The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport), MLB’s grade for gender hiring practices was 70 points, down from 74.3 in 2016. There is still a long way to go in achieving racial and gender equity in MLB organizations, and the Mariners have just as much work to do as their peers, and in some cases, have more work to do. There are no women or people of color who serve as CEO or team president. There are no women GMs, and only one owner of color, Arte Moreno. And in 2017, just 16.3% of vice presidents were women. We hope that by spotlighting some of the women in the Mariners organization and telling their stories, we not only help to raise their profiles but also help lay an easily-accessible trail for the next generation, so MLB organizations can continue to move forward, not back, on the path to equality.