Chicago Cubs Minors: Rachel Folden doesn’t believe women ‘can’t coach’
Rachel Folden doesn’t honor the ‘time-honored’ belief that women can’t coach. In fact, with the Chicago Cubs organization, she’s looking to change that
The Chicago Cubs’ Rachel Folden doesn’t adhere to you ‘can’t coach’ as a female. As a matter of fact, Folden still owns 15 of the program’s single-season or career records 11 years after she graduated. She became the lead hitting lab tech and fourth coach in the Arizona Rookie League team. h/t Anna Katherine Clemmons, ESPN
The new role makes her four of the females hired this offseason. Chicago Cubs director of player development Matt Dorey spoke to her commitment to the players. He’s ‘all-in’ on Folden.
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"“Her ability to speak about the swing, the mechanics — those were easy boxes to check,” Matt Dorey, the Cubs’ director of player development, says. “She was such an easy hire, not just because her credentials were so strong but also because when we got to know her personality and how ready she was to face the organic challenges, male or female, how committed she was to leaning into this challenge, it really resonated with all of us.”"
Her first love was baseball. During her eighth grade year, her basketball coach, who also was her softball coach, asked her to switch. Needless to say, she assumed it was slow pitch and declined. The coach?
"“Yeah, OK,” the coach responded. “You’re probably not very good anyway.”"
That was all the challenge she needed. She made the rec league, then made varsity squad at Diamond Bar High School in California. The result? A .531 average with all-state honors. And she didn’t get judged by her results with softball, not baseball–which was good.
"“Once I started softball, I was only getting judged on my talent. That felt like home to me.”"
She missed baseball. That was obvious. Side note, she caught Jennie Finch’s National Pro Fastpitch perfect game in 2009. 2009? Ugh.
When Justin Stone, head of Elite Baseball Training, came to Folden with starting a softball business with him, she had just one request. Work with baseball players. Once she started working with them, she ‘never missed a beat.’
Soon after on the way to Ann Arbor to run a camp for Michigan, she got the news she was anticipating.
"“I’m going to recommend you to the Cubs.’ Stone said. You’ll have to interview [with the team],” he continued. “But I need someone to run the hitting lab. I’d like you to do it.”"
She got the job. And they weren’t looking to ‘fall behind.’ The Cubs minors were sure about that.
"“We’re not trying to prove a point and then fall behind. We’re trying to win a World Series — several World Series — and we need to bring in the best possible people to accomplish those.’ And that included me.”"
They got a good one in Folden. One day, she might move up the list.