Melanie Newman’s trailblazing broadcasting career reached another historic milestone Tuesday night when she debuted as the radio play-by-play announcer for the Baltimore Orioles.
In doing so, Newman became the fourth active female broadcaster in MLB — joining Suzyn Waldman (New York Yankees), Jenny Cavnar (Colorado Rockies) and Jessica Mendoza (ESPN) — and the first-ever female broadcaster to call a game for the Baltimore Orioles.
Newman is also the fourth woman to handle MLB play-by-play duties, following Waldman, Cavnar and Gayle Gardner, who called a Rockies-Reds game in 1993.
Making history is nothing new to Newman. Her journey to the big leagues included a few memorable stops and trailblazing moments.
Most notably, Newman and Suzie Cool formed baseball's first all-female broadcasting team last season with the Salem Red Sox, the Boston Red Sox Single-A affiliate in the Carolina League.
Prior to that, Newman did play-by-play for the Double-A Frisco Roughriders and was a sideline reporter for FOX Sports Southwest. But that’s only a fraction of an impressive résumé that has now led to her latest groundbreaking opportunity.
“I never even thought that this would be in the realm of possibility for me,” Newman told MLB.com before her debut. “It was a situation that presented itself, and of course I said yes. … Being challenged to win teams’ and individuals’ trust, and to have them give me their stories and to know that I'm going to tell them justly, that's something that I really don't take for granted. And that means a lot to me.”
As much as it means to Newman, it means even more to baseball. Though there’s still a ways to go, her historic debut brings us one step closer to women in the baseball booth becoming more normal than novelty. The significance of that cannot be understated.
Just like everyone else, Newman’s last few months were filled with uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Her debut was supposed to take place in March, but was pushed back until July when baseball was shut down. Then her debut was delayed again when last week’s Orioles-Marlins series was postponed.
All the while, it didn’t impact Newman’s approach or confidence. It only gave her more time to reflect and prepare.
“I feel grateful for having spent so much time in the Minor Leagues; you get used to the uncertainty,” Newman told MLB.com. “Now that we've waited this long, and I think I've exhausted just about every Orioles history and fun book that I could find, I’ve just been ready to go.”
Newman undoubtedly put that knowledge to use on Tuesday. Though the Orioles lost the game 4-0, Newman and baseball won.
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