Word was getting around. When Jim Duquette became the Mets’ general manager in 2003, he tried to hire Ng as his assistant. She stayed with the Dodgers, and soon after, at a conference in Phoenix, a Mets special assistant mocked Ng’s Chinese heritage while yukking it up at a bar.
Duquette fired the assistant — a former pitcher, Bill Singer, who claimed he could not recall the comments — and came away with even more respect for Ng.
“Here was a blatantly difficult situation that became public, and she just handled it with such grace and class,” Duquette said. “She had every right to be upset and angry, and it was one of those things like, ‘Eventually, I’ll forgive.’ But she was very, very firm with Bill in particular and with us as an organization: It was not acceptable, under any circumstances.”
It was with the Dodgers, Ng said, that she first believed she could handle a general manager’s job, though the team hired Paul DePodesta to succeed Evans and then Ned Colletti to replace DePodesta after having interviewed Ng. Colletti increased Ng’s responsibilities, assigning her contracts to negotiate (as she had done with the Yankees), and giving her the lead on some trade talks. He recommended her for general manager openings, and eventually Ng would interview for the role with the Seattle Mariners, the Los Angeles Angels, the San Diego Padres and the Giants.
“I’d say, ‘How did it go?’ and a couple of days later she’d get a call back that they were going in a different direction,” Colletti said. “You could see the disappointment, but she stayed with it — and I think, perhaps, that the more she invested in it, the more she refused to give up. That’s a tremendous trait.”
The Dodgers reached the National League Championship Series three times under Colletti, twice with Torre as the manager. Torre said he developed a strong rapport with Ng, admiring her communication skills and breadth of experience.