Michele Smith Became The First Female Analyst For A National Baseball Broadcast Yesterday. Here’s How Viewers Reacted.
TBS broke unprecedented ground Sunday when they put analyst Michele Smith in the booth alongside Ernie Johnson and John Smoltz for their broadcast of the Dodgers-Braves game. It’s the first time a woman has ever served in the commentary role for a national MLB broadcast, and is one of a handful of breakthroughs in a summer that marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX.
Smith won two Olympic gold medals as a softballer, and is a member of the Softball Hall Of Fame. She’s certainly an expert on softball, having served as one of ESPN’s chief announcers for the sport, and testing her out for an MLB broadcast was an interesting idea. (It’s also one announced with surprisingly little fanfare; we only learned of the broadcast today.) Here’s baseball blogger William Tasker’s take:
She also knew what she was talking about. Her insights were usually spot on. The one awkwardness of the entire broadcast was the incessant pandering of the two men on the broadcast team to talk about or bring up Smith’s softball exploits. Such pandering was probably meant to make Smith as comfortable as possible, but it also gave the impression that such comments were needed to justify Smith’s existence on the broadcast. From a personal standpoint, during a broadcast, the less said about the broadcaster the better. Concentrate on what is going on in the field.
Briefly after I finished my Math and Comp Sci degree, I considered sports commentating. Basketball was my thing, though. I took a course at the other Montreal university in Radio News and Sports Announcing. It was absolutely fascinating. And I managed to wangle an interview with a member of the Canadian Olympic Basketball team as a homework assignment (since, you know, he was my barber—gotta love Canada). I pretty much wanted to grow up to be Robin Roberts. But, I had a hiccough in my life, ended up wanting to leave Canada, and had to go back to what I knew for a living, and never thought twice about it again. It’s weird to look at this and think “Seriously? This is worth whining about in public in 2012? Did Hannah Storm and Mary Carillo not happen?” Good god. Even John McEnroe ate his words.