The reason? Let’s be frank: It’s because she’s a woman.
Being a woman, of course, has no bearing on her ability to be a GM. Say what you will about the locker room, and we could debate whether the theoretical downsides of having a woman coach would outweigh the upsides of her qualifications (for the record, I want to believe it would be just fine, but I’m not a member of a professional men’s sport). But at the front office level, I don’t believe a person’s sex would have much impact nowadays.
So, the questioning of Ng as a candidate is not (and watch for the double “because”) because she couldn’t do the job because she’s a woman. The questioning of Ng as a candidate is only because she’s a woman – and there has never been a female GM in baseball before. Thus, when her name is added to lists, there is a certain measure of distrust. Is the writer being sincere? Is Ng merely the token nod to enlightened thinking?
As the GM search goes on, and Ng’s name keeps popping up, it becomes increasingly fair to treat her as a legitimate candidate – she has, after all, interviewed for a couple GM gigs before. Even if her name keeps popping up on Writer Y’s list only because Writer X listed her, Ng is becoming a part of the discussion.
And, hey, if Ned Colletti can be discussed as a legitimate candidate without his dynamite mustache derailing the conversation (his resume might do that on its own), Kim Ng can be discussed without her sex defining her candidacy.
So, with that very ample and preachy preamble in mind, here’s Phil Rogers’ thoughts on Ng:
Ng is in her second decade as a highly visible, almost universally respected baseball executive. She has provided analysis, research and information acquired through her network of sources for the White Sox, Yankees and Dodgers, and she currently serves as the senior vice president of baseball operations for MLB, working for Joe Torre and Commissioner Bud Selig.
Her skill set perfectly fits the wish list the Cubs chairman has laid out for his next GM, in particular the part about coming from a winning culture. The former University of Chicago softball player long has gotten high marks from Brian Cashman and Ken Williams, among others, and appears to have been better qualified than Jon Daniels and Andrew Friedman were when the Rangers and Rays, respectively, hired them.
Although presently an MLB executive, Ng hasn’t been out of the front office game for long – she was an assistant with the Dodgers until March of this year – so that can’t really be held against her. She probably saw the way things were going in Los Angeles, and sought an escape route when Joe Torre threw her a lifeline to the MLB offices.
But, rightly or wrongly, I’m wary of someone who served under Colletti for five years. Colletti’s penchant for scouting and veterans is, of course, not Ng’s fault, but it doesn’t give her the same pizzazz as an assistant like Thad Levine or Ben Cherington, who have served under – and learned from – Jon Daniels and Theo Epstein, respectively.