WALDORF, Maryland -- The first thing Courtney Knichel typically does when she arrives in her office on a Saturday afternn is change into a pair of Converse sneakers. Saturdays with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs involve manual labor, even for the general manager.But today, thats not the first thing Knichel does when she arrives for work at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Maryland. Before she can lace up her chucks, marketing manager Austin Gore is waddling up to her. His head is poking out of a bulbous, furry, blue mascot suit; his huge, red clown shoes are awkwardly scuffing along the hallway; and in his giant, blue hands, hes carrying papers for her to lk over.Hes dressed as Pinch, the Blue Crabs mascot, for the team photo later in the afternn -- but he also needs to make sure all the names are spelled correctly in the in-game videos. In between lacing up her shoes, Knichel corrects the spelling of McCullough to McCawley.Welcome to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, an independent league baseball team in Waldorf, Maryland. While theyre based about 30 miles from Nationals Park and 60 miles from the Baltimore Orioles Camden Yards, theyre a world away from both. In baseballs backwater, Knichel is breaking ground as the only woman general manager in the Atlantic League.***Knichel, 29, started at the bottom of the Blue Crabs organization. A native of Charles County, Maryland, Knichel became a marketing intern for the Blue Crabs in 2008, when the organization formed; she was fresh out of college when her mom signed her up for a summer internship. During a year-end sorority party, Knichel received a call from the then-nascent Blue Crabs, offering her an internship. She wrote the details down on a nearby napkin.Unsure of what her job really entailed, Knichel showed up on her first day in heels to lk professional. She spent the evening picking up trash in the stadium, because in 2008, for a fledgling independent baseball team, marketing intern really meant grunt laborer.Knichel was quickly introduced to a job with long hours, but it turned out to be much more than that. When the original marketing manager was fired in May of the first season, Knichel tk over. She had been with the team for just a few months. It was mayhem.I had no idea what I was doing, Knichel said. That whole first summer I taught myself everything.For the next eight years, she steadily worked her way up the ladder for the Blue Crabs -- marketing assistant, then marketing manager for four years, then assistant GM for three after that. When Patrick Day, the previous GM, left to take over the New Britain (Connecticut) Bees in December 2015, Knichel was the natural successor.Its not like it was, [Courtney] hasnt been around the game, but lets give her a shot, manager Jeremy Owens said. Shes been here. Shes seen.The Blue Crabs released a short statement about the management change in March, but there was little fanfare.***Its four hours from game time, and the issue is tables.The Blue Crabs sell tables along the stadiums concourse for local vendors during games. But folding tables, as it turns out, are worth their weight in gold: the players need them for the clubhouse, concessions needs them to set up, the front office needs them in the main office.But right now, the game-day staff needs 25-odd tables for the vendors, and corporate sales manager Jason Sproesser protests, saying they dont have enough. Knichel tells him simply: Figure it out.At first glance, Knichel appears part-stereotype: Her hair is perfectly curled and she wears a large, monogramed necklace. Her office is not only decorated with nine years worth of Blue Crabs momentos, but also with a pink base from a breast cancer awareness event and a mug scrawled with Worlds best lady boss in pink script. On the wall behind her desk, theres a framed picture of the Blue Crabs opening pitch.If that clashes with the summer boys culture of baseball, Knichel does not care -- she has a vision for what she wants, and shes quick to respond if she sees something out of place.Earlier this year, Knichel was visiting the locker rm after a game to talk to Owens. As she usually does, she called out before entering to make sure all the players were at least decently dressed. As Knichel walked in, a first-year player made a crack, miming her peering through her fingers to see the supposedly naked studs in the locker rm. Knichel stopped.I was like, Dude, Ive worked here nine years, she said. If I wanted to lk at d--ks, Id have lked at d--ks, you know?The locker rm fell silent, and the player was so subdued he later worried if he was going to get released. Knichel went on with her meeting.People say stupid stuff, said Brian Bures, a three-year veteran among the pitching staff. Shes handled it as well as she can, I think. Youre going to get a reaction, because thats just how it is.Baseball as a whole -- and most especially the major leagues -- has long had a diversity problem. The all-womens league of the WWII era is long gone, and with the advent of softball, its rare that a woman makes her way onto a professional baseball team.The path to broadening executive and front-office positions beyond men has been tortuously slow. Some major league teams employ women at senior levels, particularly in marketing. But there are only a few women in player personnel or baseball operation roles. Linda Smith of the Kansas City Royals is one of a handful of women with direct input into player personnel decisions at the major league level.Kim Ng made waves after getting hired as an assistant GM by the Yankees and Dodgers, and she has been mentioned in several GM openings. She has been rumored to be the best candidate for the first female MLB GM.Minor league teams have seen a number of women as general managers -- though they typically dont make player personnel decisions; those are handled by the teams parent organization. A few hours down the road from Knichel and the Blue Crabs, Blair Hoke is GM of the Pulaski Yankees, a Rkie League team.With the Blue Crabs, Knichel decides who gets signed, who gets promoted and who gets released. Shes in charge of the bottom line, and that means when a player has to be acquired or released, shes in on the deal.On this day, Knichel is finalizing the release of high-profile player Fred Lewis, a one-time MLB journeyman. Lewis has been injured most of the season. The Blue Crabs say hes cleared to play. Lewis says he still cant go and is still in pain. He hasnt shown up in a while and didnt show up for the team picture.Thats it, Knichel said after Lewis was a no-show for the team picture, though shed already made the decision to release him. Lewis official release came through the wire after Saturdays game.With that decision and countless other personnel moves, Knichel has already (quietly) broken barriers. She may break more.On the weekly teleconference with other league GMs, Atlantic League president Rick?White called everyone guys or fellas. Knichel is the only person on the call whos not a man.Halfway through this season, White emailed Knichel to apologize -- hed totally forgotten there was a woman on the call.I told him I dont mind, Knichel said. I know Im playing ball with the boys.Knichel is also dead-set to have things her way, and shes single-minded in her standards. If there needs to be 25 tables on the concourse, there are going to be 25 tables on the concourse. If the sales team needs to make 50 calls a day, Knichel says she doesnt expect to hear why its not getting done.Courtney is really strong-willed, said accounting manager Samantha Slovik. Shes on a path, and she knows what shes set out to do.Knichel is one of a few women in senior management at the Blue Crabs front office -- Slovik is in her third year as accounting crdinator, and Alexandra Wohlenhaus is the box office crdinator. Both describe Knichel as approachable but unmistakably headstrong.Wohlenhaus, Slovik and Knichel make the Blue Crabs something unusual: a baseball front office with women in all of the senior management positions. All three started as interns with the Blue Crabs, and each has been promoted within the system. Knichel says it wasnt some grand scheme or vision -- just a result of the most driven and organized rising in responsibility.I didnt bring those girls in because girls are better, Knichel said. But are these girls better? Kind of, yeah.***Knichel may be on baseballs outer rim, but there are still occasional brushes with the big time.Earlier in 2016, the Blue Crabs were involved in a swirl of rumors around minor league moves. The Batavia Muckdogs, operating at a significant loss and struggling with flagging attendance, were for sale.A group of local investors wanted to bring the Batavia Muckdogs to Waldorf as a Nationals affiliate -- but the deal fell through because of a lack of agreement between the Nationals and the Orioles, both of whom had to approve the deal because Waldorf is in the territory of both organizations.What would have happened -- or what still might happen -- is totally up in the air to Knichel. She said she has no idea whether a minor league organization would incorporate some of the Blue Crabs front office or bring in their own people.But Knichel and White both said they were confident that the Blue Crabs would remain in Southern Maryland through the 2017 season and likely through the 2018 season.***During the afternns leading up to game days, Knichel takes a lap around the stadium. She circles every inch of the place, putting up placards that have fallen down, straightening umbrellas, pulling down signs still up from yesterdays game.I like to do it every day, to make sure everything is gd, Knichel said.In her first days and weeks as GM, Knichel struggled with micromanaging. Everything had to be perfect -- and nobody could do it better than she could.Ive learned to relinquish duties, Knichel said. And if something goes wrong, thats okay.Micromanagement is an understandable issue for Knichel, who has worked her way up the ladder in Waldorf. After nine years, this is home -- even at the fringes of a sport that is still struggling with the concept that women are just as qualified to run the show as men.She happily shows off the features shes most proud of: the kiddie wading pl just off the outfield that she had re-filled this year for the price of one outfield sign, the picnic tables along the concourse she had installed, the staff members spaced out along the concourse acting as de facto ushers and concierge.Knichel remembers putting seats together minutes before the gates opened for the first-ever Blue Crabs game.Now, Regency Furniture Stadium, which shares a parking lot with a metro bus stop and whose concrete is chipped and siding is starting to peel, is the place she doesnt want to leave.She knows this ballpark better than everyone, Wohlenhaus said.This, Knichel said, is a place thats very special to me.On this particular Saturday, Knichel is standing along the third-base concourse. People started lining up outside the gates well before they opened, and theres not a rain cloud in sight. Today will be a gd day.The Blue Crabs averaged about 3,500 in attendance in 2014 and 2015, gd for the top 10 of independent league baseball. On a gd Saturday like today, the park might bring in 5,000 or more.The chucks get some gd use: just before the gates open, it turns out the Blue Crabs are, as usual, one table short. So Knichel hustles down to the clubhouse and helps haul the final table into position. When another vendor requests some chairs, she ducks into a concourse closet and finds a few for them.Shes not joking when she says she knows everybody -- dozens of people come up to her to say hello and to chat with her for a few minutes during the game. Theres the owner of the local Chick-Fil-A, a big sponsor; theres the guy who runs a local haunted house; and Knichels mom scolding her for missing church two Sundays in a row.Tonight is a gd night, though. The stadium is full, and Knichel is able to present a local charity with a check for more than $5,000. Whats more, the Blue Crabs win 5-3. After the game, there are fireworks and a party on the field. But its already 10 p.m. and most of the young families head home.Knichel is still on the field, and gd thing she wore her chucks. Some of the fireworks from the postgame show blew onto the field, and somebody has to pick them up.Cheap Detroit Red Wings Jerseys .com) - The women will also have a new champion at the Australian Open. Andreas Athanasiou Jersey . Terms of the deal were not immediately available. The 26-year-old finished last season with Clevelands Triple-A affiliate in Columbus after signing with the Indians in August. http://www.cheapredwingsjerseys.com/?tag=adidas-mike-green-jersey . -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar will be out for roughly four weeks after tearing his left hamstring. Kris Draper Jersey . The Croatian served 21 aces and hit 42 winners against Sijsling, who double-faulted to give Cilic a 4-3 lead in the deciding set. "All the players, they know me and they were really happy to see me and they were really happy that this is over for me," Cilic said. Trevor Daley Jersey . The 31-year-old Spain midfielder hasnt played since Madrid lost in the Copa del Rey final to Atletico Madrid in May due to back and ft injuries.NEW YORK -- Ruth Riley was momentarily confused whether San Antonio actually won the WNBA draft lottery or not when the four picks were revealed at the same time.It tk a second, but when the Stars general manager realized she had the top choice, she let out a scream of joy.I thought historically they went 4-3-2-1, Riley said in a phone interview. Then I heard him say the No. 1 pick, then our name. Im really incredibly excited for our team, organization and our fans. Im lking forward to the addition of a great player.The Stars, who have the top choice for the first time, had a 44 percent chance to secure the No. 1 selection based on having the worst combined record the past two seasons.A lot of fans supported us knowing that it wasnt about we were doing this season, but more the direction we were going, Riley said.The Washington Mystics will pick second. They had a 10-percent chance of securing the top pick.The second pick is really exciting for us, Washington coach Mike Thibault said. Where we are with our franchise, to get another gd college player will help us a lot. Its a really exciting moment for our franchise.The Dallas Wings secured the third pick and the Los Angeles Sparks fourth. The Sparks acquired Connecticutts lottery pick through a draft-day trade last April that sent Jonquel Jones to the Sun.ddddddddddddConnecticut and Dallas each had a 23 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick.You never know how the balls are going to bounce, Dallas coach Fred Williams said. Were getting a nice pick there at the three position.Unlike the previous few seasons, there is no clear-cut No. 1 pick coming out of college this year.Clearly going to do some research, Riley said. Evaluating our roster and needs. Its a normal process. Theres a lot of discussion around the top draft picks and different opinions who they should be. My job as GM is to evaluate the talent.Riley also has to find a new coach as Dan Hughes retired at the end of the season. She said that finding a new one is a high priority for the franchise.The rest of the first round in order will be Phoenix, Seattle, Atlanta, Indiana, Dallas (from New York), Dallas (from Los Angeles) and Minnesota.There are a lot of things available for us since we have three picks in the first round, Williams said.---Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg ' ' '