Troy University alumna Melanie Newman made baseball and broadcasting history last week.
Newman, a Minor League Baseball play-by-play announcer, became part of professional baseball’s first all-female broadcast team when she and color analyst Suzie Cool called the Salem Red Sox’ road game against the Potomac Nationals last Tuesday.
The 2013 TROY graduate had play-by-play experience with the Trojan women’s volleyball team, then worked her way through a variety of jobs in television and radio.
“[While at TROY] I took an invitation and went out on a leap of faith to try out sideline reporting for the Atlantic Sun Conference, and at that time I wasn’t sure if live broadcasting was what I wanted to do,” said Newman, who majored in broadcast journalism with minors in sports information and leadership studies. “I fell in love with it, then it became about being as involved as I could while I was in school.”
After she graduated, Newman landed with the Mobile BayBears, where she did everything from graphics to arranging player appearances. She even played the mascot on occasion.
This year, right before pitchers and catchers were set to report for spring training, she got the call that she’d be joining Salem, a Single A-Advanced affiliate of the Boston Red Sox based in Virginia, as their new play-by-play announcer.
“From there, everything just really clicked,” Newman said. “Suzie and I have been friends through social media for some time now. There was still a little bit of nerves. She felt more okay going into the game, as did I, and she and I have this great friendship. Everything clicked on the air.”
Newman said it still hasn’t sunk in that she’s part of such a historic event that could inspire people for years to come.
“They had over 200 people apply when this position came open and none were female,” Newman said. “It really came down to the last minute and came together. I don’t think we can ever fully grasp it because we’re on the inside. We’re just showing up and doing our job. The real world scope is that us doing that is changing things and setting a precedent for not just women, but men and women to take hold of their day and do exactly what they want to do for their careers.”
As for the future, while she knows they’ll part due to the nature of professional baseball, Newman hopes to get two seasons working alongside Cool.
“Baseball is such a fluid industry that it’s hard to say, but I would adore getting at least two seasons together,” she said. “(That would) give us a chance to build it up, to build that relationship with the fan base.”