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.