Mia Michaels isn’t setting her sights low. She is shooting for the top.
“I want to be the first female Major League Baseball manager,” the senior at La Jolla Country Day School says. “I want to be just like Joe Maddon, Andy Green, Joe Girardi, Bud Black,” ticking off the names of dugout bosses she has observed over the years.
Michaels, who plans to pursue a college degree that combines statistical analysis with day-to-day baseball involvement — “I’m only applying to colleges with strong baseball teams” — fell in love with the sport while sitting behind the visitors dugout at Padres games beginning at age 4.
“One time, when I was 8, Heath Bell [former Padres reliever] came over. He indicated that he was going to throw the ball to me. My dad, holding me up in his arms, reached out, grabbed the ball, and all the time held onto me. It’s a moment I’ll forever cherish.”
The math/stats nut serves as one of Coach John Edman’s student managers in the successful Torreys baseball program. “There are four tasks we do as managers,” relates the energetic Michaels, who barely pauses for breath. “Keep score on Game Changer [an app], announce the next batter, operate the scoreboard, and play walk-up songs and other music during the game. Sometimes I juggle all of them.”
In the 17-year-old’s “free” time, she’s a captain on the Country Day cheer squad, which she has participated in during her four years of high school. Previously she played volleyball until eighth grade and some softball.
But baseball long ago captured the heart of a youngster, attending all those games at Qualcomm Stadium with her dad, Larry, on season tickets her mom, Tamar, got through her position at Qualcomm. The close-up provided an instant tutorial on the strategy of the game.
Plus, early on, dad taught daughter how to score a game. “We always took a pencil,” Michaels recounts, “and my dad would buy a scorecard.” Now, how many girls or women do you see keeping score at a game, much less a male? It’s not too common a sight, even among scouts.
“Every year at Country Day, I’ve taken math classes,” she reports. “I took geometry and Algebra 2 with trigonometry my sophomore year. My junior year, I took pre-calculus and AP statistics. This year I’m taking calculus and financial math.
“In college, Miami would be a great fit — since my name is M-I-A, then M-I starting my last name,” she jokes. “But I’ll either major in data analysis or statistics. None of the schools I’m applying at combine data analytics with sports science.”
Toward her future career, with the help of her parents, Michaels has networked with Justine Siegal, the first female coach of a professional men’s baseball team; Haley Alvarez, scouting coordinator for the Oakland A’s; Kim Ng, senior vice president for Baseball Operations with Major League Baseball and the highest-ranking Asian American female baseball executive; and Jean Afterman, senior vice president of the New York Yankees.