Bianca Smith’s career as a professional baseball coach might not have started yet without some watchful big leaguers.
The newly appointed Boston Red Sox minor league coach explained to The Undefeated on Tuesday how the Cincinnati Reds staff was integral to her becoming a pro coach. Smith was an intern in the Reds’ baseball operations department in summer 2019 when then-assistant hitting coach Donnie Ecker spotted her taking notes in the stands during batting practice. Ecker invited Smith to join him on the field days later, and she quickly impressed him, manager David Bell and other Reds with her intelligence, knowledge of the sport and drive.
“She was clearly trying to learn and be close to the game,” Bell told The Undefeated. “… You could see her being really humble, but confident in her ability to help a team.”
Smith soon gained greater access to Cincinnati’s inner-workings and immersed herself in life in the big leagues.
“Getting to listen to the coaches and interaction with the players influenced me a lot,” Smith said. “It just wasn’t going over the sabermetrics, it was how are you feeling. There’s more to coaching than ‘this is what your delivery looks like.’ … That was a huge part of my development.”
Smith, professional baseball’s first Black female coach, will report to Red Sox spring training next month, and she’ll take the next step in her journey toward accomplishing one of her lofty goals: becoming the first woman to manage a Major League Baseball team.