It wasn’t what happened on the field in the Baltimore Orioles’ game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday that got people talking.
The clash marked the first time a Major League Baseball game was broadcast by women only.
Melanie Newman did it game by game, while Sarah Langs provided full color commentary. Alanna Rizzo was a field reporter and Heidi Watney and Lauren Gardner managed the pre-game and post-game shows.
Watney said they were surprised at how much attention the broadcast was getting ahead of the game.
“I sent everyone a little text and said, ‘Remember you are here because you love the game,'” she said Wednesday TODAY. “And that’s what the fans want to see, the joy you have for the sport they love.”
Newman said she didn’t have a chance to reflect in the moment as she was in the midst of a quick turnaround, with the Orioles playing again on Wednesday afternoon.
“After today’s final, I might finally have time to really digest it and see it again,” Newman said.
“It has not yet reached its full potential, but I am delighted to be able to come back to it,” she added.
Rizzo was keenly aware of what she and her colleagues had accomplished and that it showed that spreading sports for young girls was an area they could enter.
“I think it’s so important for us to recognize the moment of, we have an important job to do and we have the opportunity to be able to open doors for some young women who may not have realized that it was actually a career path and a choice they could make, ”she said.
She also said she would like to get to a point where no one thinks twice about seeing women playing a baseball game.
- Watch TODAY all day! Receive TODAY’s best news, information and inspiration, all day.
“In the end, the five of us collectively deserved this right,” she said. “We have the resumes to be there and at some point we have to take gender out of the equation and just say, ‘You know what? It’s a quality broadcast team, not a quality female broadcast team. ‘ “
Gardner was quick to thank the men who helped them all get to where they are today.
“We would be remiss if we did not recognize the men who have empowered and supported us along the way, whether in positions of power or as colleagues,” she said. “We kind of call them our guardian angels. And I always made sure that I would pass it on and pay it to the next one, but it was a lot of those people. “
Langs noted that his parents are huge sports fans and his mother wanted to be a presenter.
“She wanted to do that, but back when she was young it wasn’t really a realistic career path,” she said.
“It turns out I’m living her dream,” she added.
The all-female broadcast is the last step for women in baseball. Kim Ng became the first woman to serve as general manager when she took over the role from the Miami Marlins. Newman says the world is ready for more inclusion.
“This report of positivity has so far gone beyond what was previously quite negative and, quite frankly, an ignorant reaction when it was negative, to our presence in sport,” she said. “And so it’s really cool to see that turn the tide and move forward.”