For sport fans in North America, it’s equivalent to the United States getting its first female president. As the new general manager of the Miami Marlins, reporters are running out of “firsts” to describe Kim Ng’s trailblazing appointment: the first Asian-American, the first Chinese-American and the first woman to take up such a post in Major League Baseball (MLB). At a time of high tensions between China and the US, even some mainland fans of the sport have greeted the news with enthusiasm and celebration. In fact, for a woman, the hire is unprecedented in any of the four major league sports in the US. As Chinese sports authorities try to restart professional baseball as a major competition, Ng can also be an inspiration in China. To be sure, it’s the kind of news that breaks out of the narrow confines of the sports pages. NBA champion Jeremy Lin, the first Chinese-American to win the NBA championship last year with the Toronto Raptors, expressed admiration for his fellow Chinese-American. Former first lady Michelle Obama paid tribute. It would be hard to find someone more qualified. At 51, Ng has devoted more than half of her life to the sport, having worked in senior positions for the Chicago White Sox, the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Since 2011, she has been senior vice-president of baseball operations in the MLB commissioner’s office. Whatever people may think of female executives in sports, she is definitely not a diversity hire. Besides being an inspiration in North America, she may also help promote interest in baseball in China. Last year, MLB signed an agreement with the Chinese Baseball Association to help revive the China National Baseball League. ‘Job interviews weren’t on the up-and-up’ Marlins GM Ng tells press Since its inception in 2002, the mainland’s top baseball league has suffered numerous setbacks, having been suspended in 2012 and 2017 because of insufficient funding and public interest. To establish the league as a permanent sport competition, the Chinese association has looked to MLB for help and advice, resulting in a memorandum of strategic cooperation. For MLB, China is a potentially huge market. With Joe Biden as president-elect, some Chinese hope there will be a reset of bilateral relations. Sport often makes great diplomacy. And who can be more inspiring at the moment than the Chinese-American Kim Ng?