Well, it’s about damn time – the first ever all-female MLB broadcast is happening TONIGHT (July 20, 7p EST) during the Orioles-Rays game. This is a great news, historic, and long overdue. This actually might be the first baseball game I’ve ever watched in my life without hearing a man’s voice. I’m giddy.
Here’s your #GirlPower lineup:
– Melanie Newman, Play-by-Play
– Alanna Rizzo, On-Field Analyst
– Sarah Langs, Booth Analyst
– Heidi Watney, Anchor
– Lauren Gardner, Anchor
Newman is the Orioles’ play-by-play announcer, so she’s no stranger to broadcasting. She’s also no stranger to making history. In 2019, her and Suzie Cool became the first all-woman team to broadcast a minor league game. Newman will be joined by Langs of MLB.com. Pregame and Postgame shows will be covered by longtime MLB Network anchors Watney and Gardner. Rizzo will cover on-field reports, as she has done for the past 6 years with SportsNetLA and the Dodgers.
So we can agree that all of these women have perfectly adequate, if not stellar, qualifications to cover a baseball game, yes? Yes. Great.
One of my favorite sexist microaggressions from men regarding women in the sports world is the “broadcasting is best left for someone with actual playing experience”. Ah yes, I do remember fondly all those home runs and strikeouts that Vin Scully and Harry Kalas were known for. And there are plenty of retired pro baseball players that really did not make great broadcasters.
We’ve heard it many, many times before. As soon as Jessica Mendoza stepped into the broadcast booth in 2015 as the first female color commentator for an ESPN MLB broadcast, she was criticized for having “no playing experience”, despite her legendary career as a professional softball player.
But, that’s unfortunately what women are still dealing with in 2021 when it comes to their basic presence in sports. When I first entered college, I did so with the intentions of majoring and studying sports journalism so I could be a broadcaster. I basically wanted to get paid to watch baseball all day (still do, tech avail for hire). I quickly found myself intimidated by the men-dominated world of broadcasting and changed my major. I was 19 at the time, and even though I was a completely different person then, a small part of me still regrets that choice. But that’s also why I’m so proud to see these women making history and that the baseless and sexist comments still circle.
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