WOODLAND, Calif. (KTXL) -- The dust still had not settled from Thursday’s historic announcement by the San Francisco Giants that Woodland-native Alyssa Nakken was promoted to assistant coach, making her the first full-time female assistant in Major League Baseball history.
“I was so proud of her because she's been an advocate for women and girls for a long time. She made it, you know,” said Nakken’s mother, Gaye. “She's done it and there's no words really. I mean, she's my hero."
Friday night, Gaye and Bob Nakken reflected on the news that their youngest had become the first female coach on a Major League staff.
“Just elated that they have the foresight to start integrating women into the operations side,” Bob said.
According to her parents, Alyssa and fellow Giants employee Mark Hallberg were approached by first-year manager Gabe Kapler over the holidays about handling a new position within the organization. It would include working on fostering a clubhouse culture that promotes high performance on the field.
“He expects Alyssa and Mark to carry the load on those aspects for the team and she'll have some duties on working with the players,” Bob told FOX40.
“It's going to be a challenge,” Gaye said. “It's not going to be easy for her but I think she's up for the challenge.”
That is something the 29-year-old has been doing her whole life.
She was a multi-sport star in high school before going on to achieve academic all-American status playing softball for Sacramento State, where she graduated with a degree in psychology.
Alyssa's relationship with the Giants began as an intern during the 2014 season. That year during the playoffs, she ran analytics for the team and it ended up with the Giants winning the World Series against the Royals in seven games, earning herself a championship ring.
“And got to go in parade, the whole thing, the whole shebang she was part of,” Gaye said.
Of course, even the most celebrated decisions sometimes come with nonsense outrage. Former Giants World Series-winning first baseman Aubrey Huff sent out a series of tweets following Thursday's news, starting with, “Couldn’t imagine taking baseball instruction from an ex female softball player. Have fun with that.”
“You know, that's part of blazing this trail, you know, is to change the culture and how people perceive,” Gaye said.
“And I hope he changes his mind,” Bob said.
Alyssa is already in Scottsdale, Arizona getting ready for spring training with the Giants that starts in about three weeks.