On her way to becoming the first female coach of color in professional baseball, Bianca Smith has already been exposed to her share of indignities.
While working as a coach for the men's baseball team at Case Western University, she was repeatedly mocked and questioned. Once, after explaining her long list of responsibilities with the program to a high school coach, she was told that, upon completion of her degree, she would be qualified to "make sandwiches after you graduate.''
Name the slight, she's heard it. Reference the belittlement, she's experienced it.
But Smith, who was hired by the Red Sox last week and will soon serve as a minor league hitting coach at the organization's entry level, remains undeterred.
"It takes hard work as a woman to get into this game,'' he said, ''having to do more to prove that you can provide as much value as any man coming in. There definitely have been (hard) moments, but I try to use that as fuel every time I hear something. It kind of motivates me to be better.''
Like anyone else just starting work in a particular field, she has bigger aspirations in mind. For Smith, becoming a major league manager is a long-term goal.
"For sure,'' she said. "I don't want to limit myself. I want to go as far as I can, and yes, right now, that is MLB manager. I don't see that changing anytime soon. I want to be in that position. I want to learn as much as I can and get to that role.''
Smith is well aware of the historic nature of her hiring, but doesn't anticipate any obstacles in her way.