Orioles-Rays game will make MLB history with all-female broadcast team, in-studio hosts

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Five women will make history next week when they become the first all-female on-air broadcast crew to call an MLB game. The group will call Tuesday's MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube between the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Florida, the New York Times reported.

The Salem Red Sox made history in 2019 with the first all-female broadcasting crew and there are female broadcasters both in radio and TV throughout the minor and major league ranks. But never before has a group done it at the major league level.

Orioles-Rays game makes history with all-female crew

Melanie Newman
Baltimore Orioles play-by-play radio broadcaster Melanie Newman will be part of the all-female broadcast next week. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Melanie Newman, who was a part of that Salem crew with Suzie Cool, will call the game. She has been the Orioles radio play-by-play announcer since last season, when she became the first woman in the role in franchise history. She's joined in the booth by analyst Sarah Langs, a baseball analyst and writer for MLB.com.

Alanna Rizzo, who is of Cuban descent and speaks Spanish, will do on-field reporting.

“It can’t help but feel different,” Rizzo told the New York Times. “I’ve always had a male play-by-play voice in my ear during every game I’ve ever done. So, to do a game where those voices are Melanie and Sarah, that will be a unique feeling and a unique perspective of the game. It’s exciting to be a part of something like this.”

Heidi Watney and Lauren Gardner will anchor the pre- and postgame shows.

MLB: Plan to make all-female booths a regular part of game

The plan came about after Newman did play-by-play for a national game on YouTube in late June, per the Times. MLB chief revenue officer Noah Garden told the paper the plan is to make all-female booths a more standard part of the game and include diversity in the booth as well.

“That is very important, and we have diversity on this one,” he said, per the Times. “We have a very diverse group of players and a diverse group of fans, and we want fans to be able to relate to the people in the booth and for our people in the booth to be able to relate to the people on the field.”

MLB is joining the NHL, NFL, NBA and MLS as major male professional sports teams to have all-female broadcast booths. MLS first did it in August of 2018, followed by Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer on the NFL's Amazon Prime Video broadcasts on Thursday nights since 2018.

This past March for International Women's Month, an NBA game between the Toronto Raptors and Denver Nuggets featured women in the booth and two NHL games had all-women broadcast and production crews. That consisted of announcers, producers, directors and camera operators. The NHL also did it in 2020.

The WNBA regularly has all-female booths and the Atlanta Dream announced this season the team would also be an all-Black one. The NWSL also regularly features all-female crews.

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