By Yasel Porto
Antonio Pacheco Massó is one of Cuba’s former players who draw the most attention among fans, which explains the presence of so many articles and videos about him, and not only regarding his glorious stage as a player. There is a lot of positive talk about him from players and fans, who think very highlky of his professional merits and his human qualities.
But Pacheco is also active in the presence, and for a long time he has declined to grant interviews since he settled in the United States. His presence as a coach in the New York Yankees organization makes it necessary to talk about him for one reason or another.
He is part of the coaching staff of the Tampa Tarpons, the Yankees Class-A affiliate, a team that made this season’s debut this weekend with two wins in three games.
What turns out to be very significative is the fact that this April 8 Rachel Balkovech became the first woman to manage and win in US professional baseball, after the 9-6 win over Lakeland. And there he was, Antonio Pacheco, as one of her key coaches, along with Habana-born and former Major Leaguer Michel Hernández.
Born in Omaha, this 34-year-old woman has been developing a coaching career since 2012. Since that very moment, she showed her skills when playing for the Johnson City Rookie League team (Cardinals) she took the award as the best coach of the Appalachian League.
Rachel started climbing the ladder: she was later hired by Houston, and since 2019 she has been part of the most successful franchise in MLB history. Throughout all this last decade she has being improving with scholarships and assignments inside and outside the United States, which has turned her into a very well-prepared professional.
In 2021, she was part of the USA team for the Future’s All-Star Game and she recently brought a lot of concerns among her followers when she was hit by a baseball during a practice session.
Back to the Cuban former second baseman and captain of the provincial and national teams, he is adding another year of experience in Class A. Just as Michel, who has been there longer than Antonio, although his work is sometimes overlooked. In this case, he is currently serving as a defensive coach of these Tampa Tarpons.
Being part of this unprecedented event in history is something worth mentioning for both men’s careers, although it is not their direct success. But the fact is that having a starring role in the coaching staff led by the woman who breaks the gender barrier in professional baseball will be one of the aspects to be remembered in their respective sports careers.