WBSC podcast: For baseball/softball trailblazer Mariana Patraca ‘where there's a will there's a way’

WBSC podcast: For baseball/softball trailblazer Mariana Patraca ‘where there's a will there's a way’
Patraca was the featured guest on the latest episode of the Global Game - A WBSC Podcast in Spanish.

Mariana Patraca’s life has been associated with baseball and softball since she was a kid. A pitcher for the Mexican National Softball Team for more than a decade, she’s now the Manager of International Baseball Operations and Scouting for Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks. In 2021, she was the Dominican Republic National Baseball Team Operations Manager, the bronze medal winning-team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She was the guest of The Global Game, the WBSC podcast in Spanish.

“To be honest, this job was my dream when I was a kid. Softball and baseball allowed me to fulfil it, with a lot of work and support from my family,” she said. “Where there's a will, there's a way.” 

Patraca was a pitcher for the Mexican National Softball Team for 12 years, representing her country in many tournaments such as the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship 2012 and the Guadalajara 2011 Pan American Games, on home soil. “To wear your National Team jersey is indescribable,” she said. “Softball was my engine...it gave me the opportunity to complete a college career in the U.S., to strengthen my discipline...it taught me about team work and gave me values for life,” she said. 

As the Arizona Diamondbacks International Operations Manager, she is the liaison between the Arizona central office and the Latin America’s offices and academies. Her softball career gave her all the tools needed for her current job in baseball operations. “I was a high-performance athlete; I experienced the process of coming to USA from a Latin American country facing all the challenges both on and off the field. So I can identify myself with the player’s needs, and they can also identify themselves with my experience.”

Patraca explained that the Baseball Operations Department is involved with the logistic, the behind the scenes and the structure to allow the players to perform. “The Baseball Operations works for the players, so they can only take care of the game,” she added.

Being a woman in a world mostly ruled by men has been a challenge. But also has given her a different approach for her job. “As a woman, we have this maternal instinct, this proactive approach to help and protect younger people. Also as a Latin, we are known for helping each other. So this is the added value that I can bring to my job: as a former athlete, as a woman, as a Latin American,” she proudly recognised.

Being part of the Olympic Games was another milestone in Patraca’s career and life. “One of my dreams has always been participate in the Olympics, since my playing days with the National Team. But my prime days as a player coincided with the years when softball was out of the Olympic programme. So it was almost a lost dream for me.” 

However, living in the Dominican Republic -- she moved there after earning her college degree -- and after a few years working in baseball operations for MLB and Dominican organisations, in 2021 she was offered a position with the Dominican National Baseball Team, and managed the team operations during the WBSC Americas Olympic Baseball Qualifier in Florida; the Final Olympic Qualifier in Mexico and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where the team won a historic bronze medal. “I’m very proud of it, it was a dream come true, not only participating in the Olympics, but also ending with a medal. It was one of the best experiences of my career.”