An upcoming baseball game between the soaring Tampa Bay Rays and the slumping Baltimore Orioles most likely will be a blip in the standings for one of the division rivals — akin to a yawn among baseball fanatics.
But pay attention: the real show for that game is elsewhere in the ball yard.
While few eyes may be attuned to the field, many ears will be tuned in to the broadcast. For the first time, an all-women team will handle the full broadcast for a major league baseball game.
For the first time, it’s a call of their own.
Setting the tone
The goals of #5050x2028 are not limited to business and politics. The idea of putting the whole team on the field is smart, productive, and beneficial in all areas — perhaps more so in cultural mainstays such as major league sports.
The scorecard for this broadcasting history: Melanie Newman, the Orioles’ radio play-by-play announcer, will call the action for the MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube. Sarah Langs, baseball analyst and writer for MLB.com, as booth analyst. Alanna Rizzo, on-field reporting. Heidi Watney and Lauren Gardner anchoring the pre- and postgame shows.
“For the first time, an all-women team will handle the full broadcast for a major league baseball game.”
Sports fans cling to the words of sports broadcasters. Those in the booth and on the field set the tone — with the tone of their voice, skin, and gender — for a view of America many accept as a foundation for our nation. When the game comes and we hear the voices of Newman, Langs, Rizzo, Watney, and Gardner, that tone of America adds range, depth, and melody.
Being a dozen times better
The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport profiled about 75 different sports-media companies in a 2018 report. At the time, only 10 percent of sports reporters were women.
Females who have called major league sports events in the past cite what will sound sadly familiar to many when discussing women entering white male domains: they fear making a mistake and providing credence to those who scoff at a woman in the job. They say they have to be a dozen times better than others and if they make a mistake — instead of it being considered an accidental error — the gaffe is proof of not being good enough for the job.
Breaking through bias
A study by scholars Anne Cutler and Donna R. Scott proposes that when women are in conversation with men, people tend to overestimate how much women speak. They perceive that women talk more than their male counterparts, even when they actually say less. The authors note that these misperceptions could be a result of attitudes toward social roles and power relations.
That becomes a bias issue when you realize an announcer is talking three or more hours non-stop during a baseball game.
When we break through the bias and realize that we’re best served when all parts of America are represented by all of us — on a level playing field — we will be, together, at the top of our game.
©2021 Women’s Campaign Fund
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