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For The First Time, An All-Female Crew Will Broadcast A Major League Baseball Game

Broadcasters Melanie Newman and Suzie Cool, shown here on April 24, 2019 calling a minor league game.
Broadcasters Melanie Newman and Suzie Cool, shown here on April 24, 2019 calling a minor league game.

Updated July 19, 2021 at 3:50 PM ET

The on-air crew of Major League Baseball broadcasters will make sportscasting history on Tuesday night when, for the first time, a team of exclusively women will provide coverage.

Melanie Newman, broadcaster for the Baltimore Orioles, will handle the play-by-play duties. Sarah Langs will provide analysis, and Alanna Rizzo will handle on-field reporter duties for the game between the Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays. The pre- and post-game hosts will be Heidi Watney and Lauren Gardner.

For Newman, it's part of the journey that began growing up in a family full of sports fans.

"We were the kids that wanted to pay attention. We wanted to know everything and be a part of everything and ask as many questions as we could," Newman told NPR.

MLB Network sportscaster Heidi Watney stands on the field after a game between the National League Futures Team and the American League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver.
Dustin Bradford / Getty Images
MLB Network sportscaster Heidi Watney stands on the field after a game between the National League Futures Team and the American League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver.

She says when playing sports didn't pan out, she started writing and talking about them instead.

Newman paid her dues as a minor league announcer, finally getting "called up" to the majors last year. The broadcasting of ballgames has been dominated by men, though women have increasingly been in the mix for several years.

"We're not alone in saying that it's surprising that it has taken this long for it to open up a little bit more in terms of diversity," Newman says.

Broadcaster Alanna Rizzo before the game between the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 18, 2018 in Los Angeles.
Harry How / Getty Images
Broadcaster Alanna Rizzo before the game between the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 18, 2018 in Los Angeles.

When it comes to female broadcasters covering pro baseball full-time, Newman is still firmly in a minority that includes Suzyn Waldman, Jenny Cavnar and Jessica Mendoza. The NHL, NBA and NFL have had all-female announcing and production teams in the past few years.

"It's crazy that we're still doing all these firsts," Newman says. "I feel like that's been most of my career has been first female this, first female that. But the good thing about it is we're not the last."

You can watch Newman and her colleagues make history Tuesday on MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube.

"At some point soon, I think we're on our way to this just being a normal day in a broadcast," she says.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.