On Friday, Alanna Rizzo returns for another trailblazing MLB Network broadcast. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
MEDIA

Historic All-Woman Broadcast Team to Call Cubs-White Sox on MLB Network

Melanie Newman, Alanna Rizzo, and Elise Menaker will make up the second-ever all-woman broadcast team for a Major League Baseball game.

On July 19, Major League Baseball marked its first-ever game featuring an all-woman broadcast team, with the action streaming live on YouTube. On Friday, an all-woman team will step up to call a game once again. And this time, it will be for a national TV audience as part of the latest MLB Network Showcase.

Last month, Melanie Newman handled play-by-play, with Sarah Langs alongside the booth as an analyst. That night, the Rays defeated the Orioles 9-3 at Tropicana Field. Alanna Rizzo was the on-field reporter, while Heidi Watney and Lauren Gardner hosted pregame and postgame coverage.

And true to the phrase “it’s not a novelty, it’s about normalcy,” Newman and Rizzo are set for round two.

On Friday, a Windy City battle is on tap at Guaranteed Rate Field as the host Chicago White Sox take on the Cubs.

Elise Menaker, a Cubs reporter for the Marquee Sports Network and analyst for the network’s Triple-A Iowa Cubs, will join Newman and Rizzo on the call.

As there was with the first go-around, the run up to Friday’s game features a combination of excitement and a business-as-usual approach.

“The experience of the first game in July was so high-adrenaline,” Newman told Boardroom. “The excitement came on multiple levels, to not only break another ceiling for women but to work with women who I so very much admire. Friday’s Showcase game on MLB Network shows the sincerity of the original intent, something none of us ever doubted.”

Notably, Rizzo noted that the team did not know the game would have an all-woman broadcast until their work schedules were released.

“For us, it’s business as usual,” she said. “We realized who would be working together and the significance of that. The difference was everything surrounding the broadcast — the interviews talking about how momentous July’s telecast was.”

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Rizzo has seen some incredible games, having been a part of the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ television broadcast team from 2013 to 2020. She’s seen seven no-hitters, as well as the Dodgers’ 2020 World Series victory over the Rays.

But she and her Friday broadcast partners unanimously feel that the game and players are what matter the most.

“As a reporter, you never want to make the game about you, right?” Rizzo said. “The ability to connect with players is what’s most important. Each game has its own unique story and it’s our job to tell that. Sure, we talk baseball but we also give people a reason to care.”

Even though it’s not the first, this broadcast will still be monumental when viewed through the lens of “business as usual” for this trio. The second-ever all-woman MLB broadcast crew — this one on national television with an intra-city rivalry as storied as Cubs-White Sox — is an incredible event.

But, as Rizzo says, “once the first pitch is thrown and Melanie calls strike or ball, it’ll be like another game.”

And all along, that was always the goal.

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