Giants Coach Alyssa Nakken’s Long Walk to the 1st Historical Baseline for Women in Baseball

Alyssa Nacken and Antoine Richardson walked for a heart-to-heart talk, making their way across the back field at Scottsdale Stadium for about 45 minutes on one day in March, right before baseball was shut down by the coronavirus.

“Look, let’s not kid ourselves, you are not ready,” Richardson told Nakkenu.

The trainers of the two giants have promised to get back to work and go even harder, focus on whatever she does well, and realize the importance of acknowledging what she doesn’t know – or at least not yet.

So when Nakken took over as Richardson’s coach on Monday night during an exhibition game in Oakland, that moment meant so much to each of them.

“Now I have goosebumps. The road we walked and some of the conversations we had to bring up to this point were really satisfying, just seeing her grow and learn over the past couple of months, it was just really great, “Richardson said by phone from Los -Angeles. “The time she took to learn the craft in the time we weren’t on the field, I can see that it pays off for her, which is really great to see. We talked about her willingness.”

Nakken now has many missions for the Giants, so busy preparing for the season, she has little time to enjoy the story of it all.

Nakken (left) talks to the Giants during training in San Francisco on Tuesday. (AP)

She is the first woman on a major league coaching staff and even worked at first base for part of Monday’s game at the Oakland Show and then started at night in San Francisco.

“You feel a sense of pride to be there,” said 30-year-old Nakken, becoming the first woman in major league history to coach on the field. “Personally, this is the best place to watch the game, that’s for sure.”

For the first step of Thursday’s rookie of the season at Dodger Stadium, Nakken will be backstage, making sure the bench players are ready in the batting cage and talking about basic running and outfield defense. Richardson is a regular first base coach.

He pushed her to spend some innings at home this week, which proved to be a rewarding experience for the former college softball star.

“I still wrap myself around it all. I have always prepared and prepared for any position I would get into, ”Nakken said. “We talked about this opportunity before, but it seemed to come quickly. I was ready to go when Antoine Richardson advised me to go there. It’s an amazing feeling to be there. “

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She also got into some of the player encounters, telling them they made a team and packing up their bags for the road to face off against the Dodger rivals when the delayed 60-game season finally begins.

Nakken, with that long blonde braid swinging under her padded helmet, made history when Gabe Kapler hired her to his major league coaching staff in January.

“I keep reminding Alissa that by introducing herself she represents a lot of people and a lot of hope,” Richardson said. “I always encourage her to not just think about not only how each decision affects you, but also how it affects other people who are affected by your every move.

“Sometimes it’s a lot, a lot of responsibility, but she made a commitment to take on it. She admits every day that the conversation she has with me affects the next woman who has the opportunity to do something, but it is not. even has to be in baseball. I’m just very proud that she takes on this responsibility and takes it upon herself with pride, and I continue to speak the word with dignity. She really respects those she stands for. “

In Sacramento State, from 2009 to 2012, Nakken was a participant in three conferences and a four-time All American Academician. In 2015, she received her Master’s degree in Sports Management from the University of San Francisco.

“Antoine came over and made sure Alyssa would continue her development at the bases,” Kapler said.

This conversation four months ago certainly helped in the growth process.

“I just kind of conveyed it, really shared and learned a little about what’s going on, some of the issues and really had an honest conversation about the job,” Richardson said. “I think we just learned a lot about each other, and we learned how much we cared, firstly, about what we work with, but also about how we cared about the people around us and how we wanted help each other grow in this opportunity. ” “

Nakken is so grateful to both Richardson and Kapler for encouraging her and pushing her to keep taking steps forward.

“I don’t know exactly how the conversations between him and Cap went, but they are both very encouraged by the people who are taking steps to develop,” Nakken said. “So I’m pretty sure Cap was involved when Antoine went with him with some confidence that I could do it.”

This time they all knew she was well prepared.

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