Keeping her eyes on the ball

Former Padres scout and ASU student works to achieve her dream

Astrid DeGruchy used to watch baseball games from the cheap seats — now she is paving the way for diversity in the male-dominated sport.

A former scout for the San Diego Padres, DeGruchy is working toward a Masters in Sports Law and Business at Arizona State University with an eye on a future executive position.

“The ultimate goal was always to break through to the front office,” DeGruchy says. “Baseball is a male dominated sport, and it is obviously male dominated in the front office as well. It’s a matter of carrying yourself well, and really proving that you can do it.”

A Peruvian immigrant, DeGruchy spent her early childhood learning both the English language and the game of baseball. She came to this country with only her family and an ambition to prosper.

“I came to this country knowing nobody, not knowing any English,” DeGruchy says. “We struggled financially. When we used to go to games as kids we would sit in the nosebleeds. This past year I sat behind home. Going from the nosebleeds to the Legend Suites at Yankee Stadium right behind home plate, it makes you feel that you are pushing through.”

DeGruchy has spent her entire life investing in baseball. Whether she was practicing with her brothers at the local field or doing in-depth analysis of their recorded lessons, DeGruchy’s early dedication to the sport helped her to build a strong foundation in the game.

"I used to go with my brothers to their lessons,” DeGruchy says. “I used to take notes and video them all the time, so we could watch it when we got home. Mind you, these lessons were not cheap at all, so to get the best out of them, we broke the videos down frame by frame. I really just started to build my knowledge.”

Today, she continues her in-depth analysis of the game at ASU. No ASU professor has inspired her more than former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

“There’s nobody that is going to teach me more or give me more perspective than him,” DeGruchy says. “Every single class he says that baseball is a social institution. It is so true. Everything that revolves around the world is applied to baseball. From Jackie Robinson to the Arizona Diamondbacks here, baseball is a big part of the community.”

Nowhere is the community aspect of baseball more apparent than in DeGruchy’s friendship with Isabella Picard, a former softball player at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“She has given me a much deeper level of understanding how important I believe it is for people to realize that we always have a choice in life no matter what the situation or circumstances may be.” Picard says. “We can always choose to make a struggle or a challenge of any kind into something greater than what it may seem like and that’s what Astrid did when she fell in love with baseball.”

Elena Pelkey-Landes | The State Press

Picard says she is inspired by DeGruchy’s drive to fight for her career goals.

“That’s what I find so inspiring about her, the fact that she didn’t just settle for what her situation could have been as a female wanting to pursue a challenging male dominant career path that society portrays as not normal or unattainable,” Picard says. “Instead she chose to make something far greater out of what could have easily been a dead end street.”

DeGruchy credits much of her professional success to networking.

“It is not easy to build that initial impression, they are getting hundreds of email a day. It’s about doing it the right way,” DeGruchy says. “People are more likely to hire you if they think they can teach you something. It’s about finding that right connection and building from it.”

DeGruchy has found that connection with Robin Wallace, current scout for the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau and former executive director of the North American Women’s Baseball League. Wallace has acted as an advisor toward DeGruchy, encouraging her professional career.

“It is a rare encounter to meet a person with the unique qualities of Astrid DeGruchy,” Wallace says. “She is a driven competitor with intriguing smarts and baseball wiles. Yet, she is a charming and sincere person who enriches all who meet her. There is no doubt Astrid will succeed in whatever she puts her mind to.”

Wallace has set a powerful precedent for mentorship among women in baseball. She has left a major impact on DeGruchy, instilling in her a greater level of professional confidence.

“She said I was going to make it,” DeGruchy says. “It makes me so happy that with her background she could look at me and say that I’m going to make it.”

Now, DeGruchy preaches a message of encouragement not just for women in baseball, but in all professions.

“Always encourage other females. I think that’s such a problem,” DeGruchy says. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something."

DeGruchy tries to live the advice she preaches. She has overcome both economic and gender related adversity, and she has not let her circumstances keep her from success.

“You have to have the mindset that nobody is going to tell you that you can’t do something, DeGruchy says. “I am going to do it no matter what. I’m all in on this.”


Reach the reporter at Madison.Staten@asu.edu or follow @madisonmstaten on Twitter.

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