Julie Cavnar Becomes First Primary Play-By-Play Announcer in MLB

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The Oakland A’s and NBC Sports California have named Jenny Cavnar as their primary play-by-play announcer for 2024 broadcasts. This makes her the first woman in Major League Baseball history to hold such a position.

Cavnar has been with the Colorado Rockies the last 12 years, serving as the backup play-by-play announcer and pre- and postgame host and reporter. In 2018, she called a game in Colorado when the San Diego Padres were in town, and that was the first time in 25 years that a woman did play-by-play on television for an MLB game.

She had another first in 2015, when she was the first woman baseball analyst for the National League on a radio broadcast.

“It’s a dream come true to join the broadcast team for the Oakland A’s and their rich baseball history,” said Cavnar in a statement. “Growing up the daughter of a baseball coach, I have loved the game from a young age, along with the stories, history, and relationships the game provides. I’m excited to start my 18th season as a major league broadcaster with my good friend, Dallas Braden, and share our experiences with the loyal fans of the Athletics as we go on this ride together.”

Braden is a former A’s pitcher who will team with Cavnar as the color commentator. The two have been friends for a number of years through Cavnar’s husband, Steven Spurgeon, who pitched in the minor leagues.

Considering the on-again, off-again relationship the A’s have with Las Vegas, their potential new home, this is a bit of good P.R. in a time when the A’s have been considered the worst franchise in MLB. Their attendance in 2023 was last out of 30 teams, and it is expected to be last again this year. Baseball online sportsbooks also have them last among World Series favorites.

Cavnar graduated from Colorado State University, and she has won five Emmys for her coverage of the Rockies.

Women in Baseball Broadcasting

Cavnar is the first primary play-by-play announcer for an MLB team who is a woman. But there are several others who have been in the broadcast booth at the highest level of baseball.

Jessica Mendoza has been working for ESPN since 2007, and in 2015 she became the first woman to serve as an analyst for a nationally televised MLB game. She also won a gold medal in softball at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

In 2021, there was the first all-female team that broadcast a game between the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays. Melanie Newman did play-by-play, Sarah Langs was the analyst, Alanna Rizzo was the on-field reporter, and the pre- and postgame hosts were Heidi Watney and Lauren Gardner. 

Newman has also worked as play-by-play announcer for Apple TV’s coverage of Friday Night Baseball, as well as covering MLB’s London Series last year for the BBC.

In 2023, Emma Tiedemann and Rylee Pay became the second all-female team of announcers in professional baseball, as they paired up to call Portland (Maine) Sea Dogs games.

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