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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Tonight’s Orioles broadcast is a must-watch

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John Means returns to the mound, and an all-female broadcasting crew will be on hand to call the action. Tonight is a game worth tuning in for.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Say, those Orioles aren’t half bad of late. Last night they notched their third win in four games since the All-Star break, beating the Rays for the first time in seven tries this year. Rookie Spenser Watkins continued to be a revelation in the rotation, the O’s got some clutch hits, and the bullpen locked it down. Harrison Jozwiak recapped the excitement.

Tonight, things get even more exciting.

On the field, there’s plenty of intrigue, as O’s ace John Means returns to the major league mound for the first time since June 5, when he left his start against Cleveland in the first inning with a left shoulder strain. His absence from the Orioles stuck out like a sore thumb as the O’s have had to slap together a patchwork rotation, with mostly disastrous results. Means should provide a shot in the arm to an overmatched pitching staff.

But what makes tonight’s game special isn’t who’s playing, but who’s in the booth.

For the first time in MLB history, an all-female broadcast crew will call the action. Orioles broadcaster Melanie Newman will work play-by-play and MLB.com writer Sarah Langs will serve as color analyst, joined by MLB Network’s Alanna Rizzo (sideline reporter), Heidi Watney and Lauren Gardner (in-studio hosts). The broadcast will air exclusively as YouTube’s Game of the Week.

This is going to be fun.

I’m sure there are plenty of other people who can (and have) spoken more poignantly about the significance of this event than I, a random dude on the internet. But let me tell you about one of my everyday routines. In the morning, after I’ve had breakfast with my 4-year-old daughter, I fire up the DVR and watch the previous night’s Quick Pitch — which Watney and Gardner alternate hosting — on MLB Network. Maggie plays with her toys but keeps a keen ear on the highlights; she likes to shout, “It’s gone!” whenever there’s a home run.

What she doesn’t get to hear nearly enough is a woman’s voice making that home run call. The audio clips from the regional TV and radio feeds that accompany the highlights are nearly all men, just as they’ve been for the decades upon decades since baseball broadcasts came into existence. The frustrating reality is that, for way too long, commentating on men’s sports has been almost exclusively a boy’s club. The only diversity in the booth was whether a team’s color analyst was a grizzled former MLB pitcher or a grizzled former MLB position player.

It’s time for that to change. And with talented, exceptionally qualified women increasingly becoming part of the landscape of baseball and other sports, a broadcast like tonight’s was a long time in the making. It’s the kind of event that will, hopefully, inspire the next crop of girls and women to forge a career in baseball and help the sport continue to grow and thrive.

Hey, maybe Maggie will be so inspired that one day she’ll be broadcasting baseball games of her own. (Her catch phrase: “It’s gone!”) And by then she’ll be just one of many female voices all over the highlights.

Links

Orioles-Rays all-women broadcast talks making history - MLB.com
The women involved in tonight’s broadcast discuss what it means to them. I am going to be so annoyed if there’s, like, some fluke power outage that cancels the game tonight.

Spenser Watkins impresses again in Orioles’ win - Orioles.com
I’m not sure I agree with the premise that Watkins was in danger of losing his rotation job to Means (aren’t there at least three pitchers worse than him in the rotation?), but he made it a moot point with his dominance last night. Kudos, Spenser!

In Their Own Words: Means Makes History | Baltimore Orioles
It's been a couple months, but there's never a bad time to relive John Means' no-hitter, especially on the day of his return from the IL. Jackie Harig compiled an oral history of the historic event.

Means’ goal is to “keep doing what I did in the first half” - School of Roch
Seems like a solid goal to me!

Minor Monday: Pitcher Cody Sedlock is on the rebound - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Remember Cody Sedlock? Cody Sedlock does. And he's optimistic he can still live up to the potential that made him a first-round pick in 2016.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 28th birthday to Orioles catcher Pedro Severino, who’s now in his third year behind the plate for the Birds. For a last-minute waiver-claim pickup just before Opening Day 2019, Severino has had some staying power, even if we know he’s not the long-term catcher for the Birds.

Four ex-Orioles have birthdays today: utility infielder Alexi Casilla (37), catcher Charles Johnson (50), left-hander Mark Lee (57), and 2011 spring training superstar Jake Fox (39).

On this day in 1974, the Orioles walked off the Angels at Memorial Stadium on a three-run homer in the ninth by...Mark Belanger?? Wow! Didn’t see that coming. It was one of only 20 homers in Belanger’s 18-year MLB career, but his career-high fifth of that season. The Angels had just tied the game in the top of the ninth on a solo homer by former Orioles legend Frank Robinson off Mike Cuellar, who went the distance for the win.

And on this date in 1983, Orioles leadoff man “Disco” Dan Ford hit three solo home runs, accounting for almost all the Birds’ scoring in a 4-2 win in Seattle. It was a weird night on offense for the Birds. Ford and Cal Ripken Jr. had four hits apiece, Rick Dempsey had two, and the rest of the lineup was a combined 0-for-21.