Mariners hire woman as area scout
Hopkins interned in club's scouting department before being offered job
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Former Central Washington University softball standout Amanda Hopkins, the daughter of Pirates assistant to the general manager Ron Hopkins, has been hired by the Mariners as an area scout.
The move will be seen by many as a trailblazing event as Hopkins is believed to be the first full-time female scout hired by a Major League team since the 1950s, according to Baseball America. But Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara wants one thing to be clear: Hopkins was hired because she's an excellent scout, not because she's female.
Hopkins, 22, was officially hired several weeks ago, but the news is just getting out as she begins her career as the Mariners' area scout in the "four corners" area of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.
"We didn't make a big deal out of it, and the reason we didn't was because she fits right in," McNamara said Tuesday at the Winter Meetings. "I look at her as a scout. Everybody here is excited. We're excited because we feel we've hired a good scout."
Hopkins has been working as an intern in the Mariners' scouting department the past three summers while attending Central Washington. She graduated from Mount Rainier High School in the Seattle area in 2011 and played four years of softball at Central, where she was team captain as a junior and senior before graduating this year with a psychology degree.
The Mariners sent her to the Major League scouting developmental program, an intensive two-week training session in Phoenix, and hired her after she drew top ratings and rave reviews.
"She's been helping us as an intern, in the office, at workouts, at Safeco, anything on the amateur side," McNamara said. "I've actually been to a couple games with her where we started talking about players. And I was sitting there thinking, 'Man, she has a really good feel and breaks down a player like a veteran scout.' The more I spent time with her, the more I kept saying, 'Maybe pushing her into the office isn't a good idea. She really wants to scout.'
"We sent her to scout school and she ranked pretty high in the class. When I called to tell her we'd nominated her for scout school, she was in tears on the phone, literally in tears. It was kind of chilling. It meant a lot to her."
Hopkins' father was the scouting director for the Rangers and A's before being hired by the Pirates. He began his career as an area scout with the Mariners and still lives in Seattle. McNamara said it's evident Amanda Hopkins grew up in the baseball world.
"Whenever she had free time, she was always doing something baseball-related," McNamara said. "She had that passion. This is something she really wants to do. It's in her blood."
Hopkins will take the place of Chris Pelekoudas, who has been promoted to West Coast supervisor.