Will She Be The First Ever (Serious) Female PxP Announcer in MLB Someday?

While there are seemingly countless female sideline reporters in all sports, including baseball, there is, regrettably, only one female color commentator in the major leagues: Suzyn Waldman, who provides relief to (from?) John Sterling during the Yankees’ radio broadcast on WCBS-AM.

This is not only a 21st century phenomenon.  Fifty years ago, Betty Caywood was the first broadcaster to do major league games, doing color for the Kansas City A’s for a few games toward the end of the 1964 season.  A decade and change later, Mary Shane was the first to do play by play for a big league game, for the Chicago White Sox in 1977, to less than glowing reviews.  The latter may have been serious in her pursuit of baseball announcing work, but they were both regarded by their employers as merely novelties, and neither were kept on for another season.

On the other hand, Waldman is a solidly professional and knowledgeable commentator, to the degree that listeners forget they’re listening to a woman, which is of course the goal.   She is setting a standard for professionalism among women in baseball broadcasting that could help draw more distaff representation behind the mic.

And perhaps the best female candidate to make that leap next is doing play by play for the Clearwater Threshers in the Florida State League.  Her name is Kirsten Karbach, she’s in her early twenties, and while this is her first full season doing Threshers games, she also did some play by play for the Charlotte Stone Crabs in 2012.

There’s a full article about Karbach here, where you can learn a little more about her background, but if you’re like us, what you really want is to hear Karbach in action, right?  How does she actually sound doing PxP?

There are two ways to get a handle on Karbach’s capabilities.  You can tune in to Threshers games online, for all home games and select road games, by clicking on this link while they are playing.

Or, if you really want to hear Karbach in action but the Threshers don’t happen to be playing at this very moment, you can tune in to her demo reel:

The first two and a half minutes represent highlight calls, but you can get a decent feel for Karbach’s ongoing style afterward as she settles down to do a typical inning.

h/t to The Sherman Report.

 

 

Costas cracks top ten; Chappell, Wedge, Virk, FS1 break in

Three new announcers, a new network, and one NBC stalwart replacing another in the top ten highlight today’s update to the national-telecast listing.

Fox Sports 1 became the first new network since 2009 to air an MLB regular-season game when it presented the Twins-Indians tilt from Cleveland on Saturday, April 5. MLB Network was previously the newest network in the fold; while TNT has aired five full games in the past (plus about 22 innings’ worth of overflow from TBS games that ran long), all of those were in the playoffs.

The Sydney Cricket Ground, home of the two-game LA/Arizona set in March is the 70th stadium to host a U.S. national television audience. With its first game, the Ground passed Colt Stadium (Houston),  Wrigley Field (Los Angeles) and Seals Stadium in San Francisco, which never hosted national TV. Later that night, based on Eastern time, the second broadcast from Sydney vaulted that venue past Aloha Stadium (Honolulu), Estadio de Beisbol Monterey and Sicks’ Stadium (Seattle), which each hosted but one game. The Ground now has 656 broadcasts to go before it catches Fenway Park for the most common host venue.

(Yes, even the lowly expansion Pilots hosted national television. The game was against the Tigers on May 31, 1969.)

That Australia series also introduced America to the 409th national commentator. Ian Chappell, the former captain of Australia’s national cricket team who now works for Channel Nine in that country, presided as a field reporter for the opening series.

Speaking of field reporters, FS1 used both Ken Rosenthal and Erin Andrews on the Giants/Dodgers game April 5. That was the first regular-season game with two reporters since Yankees/Tigers, on Fox April 6 of last year, and the first game to employ five commentators since Sept. 21, 2011.

ESPN’s Adnan Virk and Eric Wedge became the 410th and 411th announcers as the season continued stateside. Wedge analyzed the Red Sox/Orioles game on March 31 with Dave O’Brien and Rick Sutcliffe, while Virk teamed with Eduardo Perez to handle play-by-play of Astros/Blue Jays on April 9.

With the departure of Tim McCarver from Fox (and thus the dissolution of the Buck/McCarver tandem that had handled many Fox games for 19 years), O’Brien and Sutcliffe become the elder statesmen of active national-broadcast duos. The March 31 game, their only appearance to date this year, was their 220th game together. The pairing has appeared regularly for ESPN since 2002, also covering two games together since 2000.

In other news of longevity, Bob Costas cracked the top ten play-by-play announcers list, and he knocked out an NBC mainstay of an earlier age in the process. Costas, who started as a backup voice on the Game of the Week in 1982, then handled parts of three World Series and ten League Championship Series for the peacock network, called his 334th game when the Brewers met the Red Sox on April 4. That broke a tie with Jim Simpson, who appeared on NBC’s  Game of the Week from 1966 to 1979.

On tap: Fox Sports 1’s next game will be its fifth, as many full games as have aired on TNT … Tropicana Field is two appearances shy of 100 … The MLB Network broadcast Thursday night between Washington and St. Louis will make and break several ties in the record books as Matt Vasgersian, John Smoltz and Sam Ryan each appear … Tom Verducci‘s next game will tie him with Peter Gammons at 74 appearances.