Girl Power: ESPN to Feature First All-Female Team to Call Major League Baseball Game
On July 21, Melanie Newman made history as she and four others — Sarah Langs, Alanna Rizzo, Heidi Watney and Laren Gardner — became the first all-female broadcast crew for a Major League Baseball game.
Newman, who was the play-by-play announcer that night, will call a game with Jessica Mendoza, a longtime baseball analyst for ESPN, on Sept. 29, making the pair the first women to solely broadcast a MLB, NFL or NBA game.
“Honestly, each earmark is just another page,” Newman told CNN Business. “I feel fortunate to be the one handed this chance, it’s our responsibility until there are no more firsts and it’s just an even playing field of all-qualified professionals who happen to look different.”
Mendoza, a Latina and former New York Mets special adviser, understands the importance of representation in baseball. “For young girls, women and Latinas, to hear a voice that represents them is so impactful for not only the sport to grow its audience, but to continue to broaden the opportunities for more young girls, women and Latinas to do the same,” she told CNN Business.
Mendoza is a former Olympic gold-winning softball player and the first woman to be an analyst for a nationally televised MLB game. She was also the first woman to be an analyst for a World Series game. She has been with ESPN since 2007.
Newman will contribute to ESPN’s pennant race coverage for the final stretch of the season. “Representation absolutely matters,” said Newman. “The number of younger girls who have felt they couldn’t be a fan of sports in general solely out of not seeing women in front still amazes me.”
Image source: Baltimore Sun