As newly hired Kim Ng breaks down barriers as the first woman and the first East Asian American general manager in major-league baseball, a racist attack against her 17 years ago is re-emerging in the sports media.
The 51-year-old, who was hired by the Miami Marlins last week, is the first female general manager in any of America’s four major sports leagues. Her road to baseball has been a long one, and in 2003, when she worked as an assistant general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers, she was the victim of a racist attack by pitch-executive Bill Singer. The story is mooted on Tuesday after an ESPN podcast missed initial reporting on the incident.
According to eyewitnesses of the incident, Singer, who was 59 years old and working as an executive with the New York Mets at the time, contacted Ng at a hotel bar during general manager meetings and called him repeatedly. The bar asked questions such as “What are you doing here?” The “And where are you from?” The singer also made fun of her Chinese heritage with fake accents.
“His conduct was unforgivable and extremely hopeless,” Doggers general manager Dan Evans told The New York Times after the incident. “Kim handled the entire situation professionally, and we addressed the matter with the New York Mets the next day.”
Neither Singer nor Ng responded to the request for comment.
The singer apologized after the situation became public in a statement provided by the Mets to several news outlets.
“I am embarrassed by what I said when I met Ng on Tuesday evening,” Singer said. “My comment was really inappropriate and I’m really sorry. I apologized to him and hope he forgives me.”
He was fired shortly thereafter, but worked as a scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals.
At a Zoom news conference on Monday, Ng spoke to reporters about what it meant that he had been trying to work in his system for years, often stacked against him. After the hourlong meeting, MLB network analyst Ron Darling blunted it.
“If you look at his resume, he should have been on a fast-track”, Darling, a former Mets pitcher, told the audience to become a major-league general manager. “She was on a slow track, quite frankly, because she was an Asian woman. So it replaces all of them today with this mercenary.”
Ng told reporters what it meant to finally arrive.
“I got calls and text messages from people I have known over the years who were very excited to tell their daughters and wives,” she said. “And then I got voicemail from the front office officials, with tears, from friends, just happy that I was broke. But really, I think. [the reactions were] It is meant for sports and for us in society. “