RedHawks female groundskeeper joins growing list of women in baseball

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 6:55 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - History was made Tuesday night when, for the first time in Major League Baseball history, an all-female announcing crew called a game. It’s part of a growing trend in sports and particularly in the baseball world, where opportunities are opening for women.

That includes right here in Fargo.

”We don’t give her any special treatment. She’s been able to do everything we’ve asked her to, we ask her to do the same things we ask any of our other guys on the crew to do,” RedHawks assistant groundskeeper Tim Mans said.

Jessica Withrow became the first female groundskeeper with the RedHawks this summer. And while she didn’t set out to break a barrier she admits she always noticed the imbalance.

“When I’d go to baseball games like we grew up going to them, you never saw a woman on the field,” Withrow recalled.

But her sister Leah has helped change that, and in turn, inspired Jessica to do the same.

“She’s only one of four head groundskeepers and that’s crazy to think because there’s a hundred plus teams, if not more,” Jessica said. “That’s just really inspiring, personally.”

Leah is the head groundskeeper for the Reno Aces, the triple-A team for the Arizona Diamondbacks. She’s the first female to head a crew in the triple-A ranks and was able to teach her little sister a thing or two last summer while minor league baseball was halted for COVID.

“So I kind of learned a little bit then,” Jessica explained. “But I didn’t get the game experience obviously.”

When Jessica took a teaching job in Warren, Minnesota, and decided to stick around the area this summer, her sister made a call to some fellow former North Dakota State Bison, and once again, history was made.

“She has a great work ethic,” Mans said of Jessica. “We have a list on the board and she knocks it all out and then comes and asks me what else needs to be done. She’s been a great addition to this team. "

Once the little girl in the stands herself, Jessica says she’s aware and proud of the example she’s setting.

“I know I just want to inspire others. I know my sister has inspired me and I just want to keep passing that along.”

Jessica will return to teaching this fall and said she looks forward to taking her stories and experiences back to the classroom to share with her students. She emphasized the importance of not just telling your students to dream big but being the example for them to chase them. No matter their gender, their dream, or the current barriers they might see right now.

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