Reno Aces’ Withrow breaking gender norms in new position with club

Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 5:59 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It might not be baseball weather yet at Greater Nevada Field.

But there is always work to be done. For Leah Withrow this upcoming baseball season will be like none she has ever seen before.

“I’ve sweated my butt off here,” she said of her time with the Reno Aces, the Arizona Diamondbacks AAA affiliate. “I’ve bled here. I’ve cursed a lot here because I care. I care a lot about this field.”

The Aces front office knows she cares, too - which is why they promoted her to head groundskeeper. Only one other woman in all of minor league baseball holds the same job title as Withrow. Leah is doing it one stop shy of the big leagues.

“I’ve sat in this exact spot in this shop multiple times and looked around and been like ‘this would be cool if this was mine,’” she said of her dream.

Now the groundskeeper garage behind center field is hers - a home to manage the stadium’s biggest projects. It is something the Douglas High School grad did not think she would be able to show family and friends so soon.

“They’ve seen me from that moment eating glue in kindergarten now to be the head groundskeeper for the Reno Aces.”

Her new title comes with more attention than she would like. The fanfare does have its perks, however. One specific conversation with a little girl years ago still resonates with the 25 year old.

“(The girl) came up to me when I was an assistant and she said ‘is it weird being the only girl down here?’ No it’s not weird. It’s totally normal for me. I hope she thought it’s totally normal for a girl to be on the grounds crew and I hope other girls think the same way.”

Withrow says she has never been afraid of hard work - to get dirt under her nails, snow in her boots, and sunburns on her arms.

“I want to build an amazing facility here (at Greater Nevada Field),” she said. “I want to have MLB standards here at the AAA level. I want to win field of the year, I want to get all the accomplishments I need to here before I eventually hit the major leagues one day and am a head groundskeeper at the major league level.”

Until that day comes, fans can know the downtown ballpark is maintained by a local who doesn’t care about traditional gender norms.

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