Newly hired Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng acknowledged on Monday that her long road to an MLB corner office likely included job interviews where she wasn't a serious candidate.
Ng, meeting with reporters via a Zoom call at Marlins Park, was asked if she believed past interviews for high-level jobs might have been window dressing for owners to claim they were considering a diverse candidate pool.
"Yeah, there were times where I felt like the interview wasn't maybe on the up-and-up," said Ng, the first woman and only second Asian American to become an MLB general manager.
"But I will say that just by having my name out there was a source of hope for people. And so you do it because you know that you just have to keep your name out there. "
Even if Ng never got to be an MLB general manager, the former New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers executive insisted that going through the interview process was crucial for future generations.
"It wasn't about me, it was about others," she said. "It was about other owners who might give interviews to minorities and women. It was about the women behind me. Or it was about the women starting out in baseball and across sports, all sports. It was about just letting them know this was going on."
Moments after the hour-long meeting with reporters, MLB Network analyst Ron Darling bluntly amplified on Ng's "slow track" to the corner office in Miami.
"If you look at her resume, she should have been on the fast track" to becoming an MLB general manager, the former Mets pitcher Darling told viewers.
"She was on the slow track, quite frankly, because she was an Asian woman. So it changes all of that today with this hire."
Ng's resume includes gigs as assistant director of baseball operations of the Chicago White Sox, assistant general manager of the New York Yankees, vice president and assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and senior vice president of baseball operations for MLB.
Even as her dream to be a general manager appeared to stall out, Ng likened her struggle to any MLB player, who suffers a host of setbacks during a typical 162-game season.
"You just have to keep plowing through," Ng told reporters while seated on one side of home plate, a safe social distance away from Marlins CEO Derek Jeter on the other side. "It's something we tell the players, 'You can go down, and you can mope and sulk for a few days but that's it. Then you got to come back.' "
Ng, 52, thanked her parents, husband and former colleagues for helping her get to this point. She cited tennis legends Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova as childhood inspirations.
In her first 72 hours as Marlins general manager, Ng said her phone has exploded with well wishes and that she understands the weight of this moment as MLB's first female general manager. She's also the first GM of Chinese descent.
"I got calls and text messages from guys that I’ve known over the years who were just so excited to tell their daughters and wives," the University of Chicago grad Ng said. "And then I got voice mails from friends, from front office executives with tears, just so happy that I had broken through. But really I think (the reactions were) more for the sport and more about what it meant for us in society.”