Wednesday night marked an historic event in baseball and the world of sports, but it may have been overshadowed by, ya know, the game. Some backstory… Melanie Newman, the first woman to call a game in major league baseball for the Orioles (this was last year in 2020), was in the booth calling the Baltimore Orioles game earlier this month when a fan showed up in the audience for... Newman herself.
From the Orioles game on Sept. 7, 2021:
First yet > First ever@MelanieLynneN is inspiring the next generation of young broadcasters pic.twitter.com/fxtcCFSwCC— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) September 8, 2021
Update: I got to meet Ellee. She’s going to do big things. My heart could explode. Huge thank you to our @Orioles staff making this happen ! pic.twitter.com/WcEkihhGqY— Melanie Newman (@MelanieLynneN) September 8, 2021
As Newman (and just about everyone else) has said: “Representation matters!”
Justin Baker, one of Newman’s first bosses in the baseball world said of Newman:
“I don’t know the public will ever understand just how much she actually works. She’s not just an actress being told what to say into an earpiece from a producer. She actually is her own producer, statistician and content creator. She knows her sh%@.”
Newman was also on play-by-play for a July 20 game between the Rays and Orioles, part of an all-female broadcast crew on YouTube, the first of its kind in MLB history.
Pretty cool then, that last night’s Dodgers-Padres game was the first time a female duo announced a nationally televised game. Newman was in the “booth” with ESPN analyst Jessica Mendoza.
They even had minority-owner of the Dodgers Billie Jean King on during the broadcast to weigh in on the event. King recalls the Dodgers moving to LA, grew up “bleeding Dodger Blue,” and her brother Randy was a major-league pitcher in the 70s and 80s. King compared the accomplishment of the female-led broadcast to being a female owner of a baseball team, saying there aren’t enough women owners either. “It’s fantastic to be a part of and to watch,” King said of the change toward having more women represented in baseball.
If you’re interested in reading more about Melanie Newman, Dan Connolly has an excellent piece over at The Athletic: ‘Like an absolute rock star’: Broadcaster Melanie Newman’s rise from the minors to a major future
- How Max Scherzer has gotten on top of the curve with the Dodgers Fabian Ardaya and Eno Sarris at the Athletic on Scherzer’s improvement with his curveball this year and how that has led him to some of the best games of his career
- Jeff Passan at ESPN+ has started breaking out this year’s free-agency tiers
- Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs on The Fascinating and Still Unsettled NL MVP Race. Interesting to see so many Dodgers hanging out at various points on these lists, but none of them consistently enough through the season to be in real contention for the NL MVP right now — though with the post-season still to play, let’s not rule it out.
- The Dodgers Foundation was named as the 2021 winner of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award. The RWJF Award honors the innovative and collaborative efforts of individuals, organizations, and teams that are making their communities healthier through sport.
- And for those wondering, Joe Davis gave a brief update on Twitter on his possible return to the booth after following covid-19 protocols (can’t come soon enough!). No word yet on Orel Hershiser, who is also quarantining due to close contact:
Hi guys -- your thoughts and encouragement have meant a lot. I'm doing great now. I hate not being there for these games, and will be back the minute protocols allow. That'll be Saturday for what I hope is a memorable finish.— Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) September 29, 2021