SAN FRANCISCO - Thursday is opening night for Major League Baseball and the San Francisco Giants organization is making history. Their new coach Allysa Nakken is the first woman in a big league coaching staff. KTVU spoke to Nakken’s parents about the milestone.
Nakken proved she's capable coaching during both of the Giants exhibition games this week. She’s the back up for the regular first base coach.
During the Giants exhibition game against the Oakland A’s on Monday night Gaye Nakken watched her youngest daughter Alyssa in a baseball uniform.
“I saw her on TV and I go there’s Alyssa,” said Gaye Nakken. “He was not watching the same TV as I was. I go there's Alyssa on first base. It was incredible.”
From the family home in Woodland, Nakken’s parents had no idea their 30-year-old would be making her debut as the first woman in MLB history coaching for a big league team. Neither did Alyssa.
“She did say she was glad she was wearing a mask, maybe I shouldn't say this, she said I’m glad I’m wearing a mask so no one would see my lips tremble,” said Gaye Nakken.
The nerves went away. On Tuesday, she coached the whole exhibition game. Alyssa's parents never thought it would be possible.
“Not on a baseball field and not in my wildest dreams,” said Father Robert Nakken. “As far as making an impact in the Giants organization, yes I thought she would.”
Alyssa Nakken was a four-time Academic All-American at Sacramento State, before earning a Master’s degree in Sports Management at USF.
Nakken was a Giants intern in 2014 and worked on community projects through Giants Enterprises before moving to Operations.
Nakken held her head up high when she was named coach despite some naysayers and the pressure.
“It rolls off of her,” said Gaye Nakken. “She doesn't let her get it down.”
At Momo’s across from Oracle Park, fans watching opening night Thursday appreciate the diversity.
“Women are becoming more and more prominent in these male-based professional leagues,” said Taylor Moss of San Francisco.
Some fans hope Nakken aspires for more.
“It’s an excellent move,” said Dave Consalvo of San Francisco. “That’s where you start. Move to first base, third base and hopefully someday she becomes the manager.”
Nakken’s parents said their daughter doesn't see herself as a trailblazer. Her focus is on the team and winning.
“I’m hoping that not just the young girls but the other clubs in the league realize there may be something to this that can help us,” said Robert Nakken. “There’s other female talent out there that can do what she’s doing.”