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Women In Baseball: A Much-Needed Change

Jake has played baseball since the age of 3 and has been a die hard fan of the game ever since. He stays up to date on all the latest news.

The Problem

There are 17 professional baseball leagues across the United States that are considered the minor leagues. The minor leagues are the lower level of professional baseball. Players need to impress and move their way up the divisions to make it to the MLB. Within these leagues, there are 256 teams. There are only six women announcers out of 256 baseball teams in the minor leagues. Six. Before the 2018 season, there were only two. In 2018, it doubled to four and in 2019 it increased to six. These numbers are going up but they’re going up at a snail’s pace.

women-in-baseball-a-much-needed-change

First Woman Announcer in the Minor Leagues

Emma Tiedemann became the first woman to be an announcer in the minor leagues in 2017. She had an amazing resume that easily stacked up against the other men looking to get in the baseball broadcasting world. In fact, her resume was even more impressive than most other candidates. Her broadcast experience included: University of Missouri, University of Texas, Alaskan Baseball League and the American Association of Independent Baseball. The first minor league team that interviewed her, told her directly that she wouldn’t be hired strictly because of her gender.

Tiedemann was eventually able to get a job in Lexington, an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and she says it’s been a pretty positive thing that she’s a woman getting this opportunity. “I would love to not be a story. I want to be just background noise, like a player’s walkup song or the call of a hot dog vendor a section or two over – just part of the game.” She doesn’t want to stand out because she’s a woman, but she has no problem blazing the trail if she has to.

Emma Tiedemann, Announcer, Lexington Legends, has high school girls come to shadow her on game days in Lexington because they want to follow in her footsteps on the road to being a major league announcer. She does all that she can to set them up for success in the future. All she wants to do is make sure that once the next generation comes around, they have someone to look up to. These woman broadcasters in baseball need to be stronger than we can imagine. Facing adversity and overcoming challenges every single day can be exhausting but it’s worth it to achieve a dream.

women-in-baseball-a-much-needed-change

Jessica Mendoza: Breaking Through

This wouldn’t be a paper about women facing hate and sexism in baseball announcing if Jessica Mendoza wasn’t discussed. She was the first female announcer to ever announce a major league game on ESPN. She typically works the Sunday Night or Monday Night Baseball games on ESPN, which is as big a stage as there is for major league baseball. The backlash of hate, mansplaining, and discrimination that she receives over social media like Twitter and Instagram is so nasty that she waits two or three days after a broadcast to go on social media. The amount of hate that she faces simply for being a woman is unbelievable and shows how nasty some men are.

There have even been multiple instances of radio and television talk show hosts mansplaining the game to her on the air of their shows, trying to make it seem like she has no idea what she’s talking about. They question the fact that she played softball instead of baseball, and whether or not she’s fit to even talk about baseball. This is for some reason an accepted topic of discussion by the majority of the listeners on these shows and it shouldn’t be. Women shouldn’t have to continue being treated like they’re less than men, especially in certain cases like this where they know more than men. To what extent will the fans and critics allow this to go on? Women shouldn’t be ridiculed because of a longstanding culture that the game is so desperately trying to hang on to.

Mendoza is a woman who pushes the boundaries that have been unrightfully set before her. She shouldn’t have to go through so much discrimination and hate just to do the thing that she loves. This is where the issue sits, women having to overcome extreme obstacles and criticism to do something they should be able to do just as men do it.

Break The Mold

Both Tiedemann and Mendoza's stories culminate to one thing. Change. We live in a world that changes every day. People evolve, sports evolve, technology evolves, everything in life evolves. This situation that baseball has with women announcers is a discrimination in the workplace issue and there’s a huge gender barrier when it comes to being hired as a woman baseball announcer. I initially thought that a small amount of changes in the baseball announcing field would help change the narrative of manly dominance in the broadcast booth, but that’s not what we should be looking for. I think the process for which an announcer is hired needs to be strictly about experience and baseball knowledge. It should have nothing to do with the gender of a candidate for one of these jobs. If a woman is discriminated against solely because of her gender, like Emma Tiedemann was, I think their best action step is to expose whoever that was to create a positive change for the game.

The few women who possess these jobs are looking out for the girls who want to do what they are doing. Yes, there is a little bit of hope since a few minor league teams are giving women a shot in the broadcast booth but the world needs more. A young girl who has dreams and aspirations to be the voice of a major league baseball team needs to be able to turn on the television or turn on the radio to see or hear someone that they can look up to.

Women baseball announcers are scrutinized in the media for their gender and discriminated against in the workplace. I’m very passionate about this topic and I hope this paper can create more awareness for this issue. I hope that it can start to be taken seriously the next time we listen to a ballgame.

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