When Kim Ng made history as the first female general manager in MLB history, she shattered the glass ceiling for future generations of girls and women in sport. Count Ellie Burger, the younger sister of Marlins third baseman Jake Burger, among them. At the time of Ng's hiring, Jake sent out a social media post in support.
Jake and Ellie grew up in St. Louis in a competitive sports family, where Mom and Jake would face off against Ellie and Dad in anything from 2-on-2 tennis to board games. They cheered on the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, and even made a Spring Training trip to Jupiter, Fla., where current Marlins manager Skip Schumaker signed for them.
Ellie kept busy playing tennis or soccer, but she found time to help take stats for Jake's baseball games. Their father, who played college baseball, coached Jake through 15U.
"I grew to really appreciate the ins and outs of baseball," Ellie said. "We've always been such a sports family; mainly tennis and baseball. As the youngest sibling, you're always like, 'All right, we're going to baseball.' We're always getting dragged along. I just fell in love with it really from an early age when I was even in middle school, high school. I had always seen baseball as a career path."
Years later at Missouri State, Ellie double majored in Spanish and general business. She believed Spanish was an important part of the game, so she decided to learn the language to get a job in baseball. Ellie had a baseball operations fellow position lined up with the Twins in 2021 but backed out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, Ellie became one of the youngest Division I head tennis coaches in the country at her alma mater.
"I think she's really happy with the position she has now, but it's kind of a stepping stone," Jake said. "She's learning how to kind of run an organization, trying to go recruit, and last year, she didn't have an assistant coach, so it was all on her. It was coordinating everything and making sure all the girls had the right mentality and all the resources necessary. It was a fun first year, for sure."
While Ellie is content with where she's at, a career in baseball is something she would consider getting back into at some point. This fall, she plans to work on her master's in sports administration.
"I don't look at the jobs as much, but just what's going on, kind of the movement, when the lockout happened, all of that," Ellie said. "I feel like I was really up to date. I still talk with some of the guys who were at Missouri State who are in pro ball on the coaching side of it. [I'm] always kind of keeping up to date with what's going on, what's new. And then obviously Jake, every day I'm checking scores, have the game up. I'm always involved."
On Trade Deadline day, Ellie received a text from a friend that just read: "MIAMI." She was then sent a post with the report that her older brother was headed to the Marlins. Neither her sister-in-law nor her parents had any idea. Eventually, Jake confirmed the news. Once the shock wore off, it dawned on Ellie that Ng was the one to trade for her brother.
"I was like, 'Oh my God, that's right. She's the first woman GM,'" said Ellie, who planned to ask Jake for an introduction. "I remember literally exactly where I was when that announcement was made. I was heading down to Arkansas, just like a weekend trip with one of my friends from college, and everything came out that Kim was named the first woman GM. That was always one of my dreams. Just the fact that it came full circle in that way that she ends up trading for Jake, it was just like, 'Oh my God. That's insane.'"
The Yankees come to town this weekend during the 20th anniversary of the Marlins' second World Series championship season. Near-sellout crowds are expected for each game, so here are a few tips if you're planning to visit loanDepot park.
• Arrive at least two hours before game time, when gates will open early for both teams' batting practice.
• A Marlins Transportation Hub was established in Downtown Miami at the Government Center, with a parking fee of $15 that includes a complimentary shuttle service to and from loanDepot park.
• Parking at loanDepot park will be $30, with no advance purchasing allowed and on a first-come, first-served basis.
• For more details and to view the maps, fans can visit Marlins.com/Transportation.
• Brightline will have a Home Runner train from Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton or West Palm Beach to MiamiCentral Station. Guests can enjoy complimentary shuttle service to and from loanDepot park included with the ticket.
Members of the 2003 World Series champion squad Josh Beckett, Jeff Conine, Derrek Lee, Mike Lowell, Carl Pavano, Juan Pierre and Alex Gonzalez will be at loanDepot park on Friday. The schedule is as follows:
5-5:30 p.m. ET
Q&A on the field and broadcast
A special pregame program will take place on the field, led by Bally Sports Florida broadcaster Tommy Hutton. Fans will get to watch highlights from the 2003 season and hear from the players as they talk about those special moments.
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