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November 27, 2009

Quick Hit: Sherry & Suzyn Make History

I had a totally wonderful and perfect Thanksgiving yesterday...except for the fact that I watched three football games, and the team that I was rooting for lost all three. (The Giants/Broncos game especially hurt.) So, to make myself feel better, I thought I'd highlight some cool news from the world of sports broadcasting.

On Wednesday night, New Jersey Devils broadcaster Sherry Ross made history when she became the first female broadcaster to provide play-by-play in English for an entire NHL game.

Ross, who is usually the color commentator on Devils radio broadcasts, took over the play-by-play when fourth-year New Jersey announcer Matt Loughlin took time to be with his family after the passing of his father-in-law. Ross called the game, with former Devils forward Rob Skrlac serving as analyst. [Fanhouse.com]

This comes just a few weeks after Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman made baseball history:

In the beginning, Suzyn Waldman had to endure begrudging players and sexist fans. That's the product of being first.

But Waldman relished the opportunity that Yankees owner George Steinbrenner gave her, hiring her as a television analyst at a time when women simply didn't hold such positions. It was because of Steinbrenner that Waldman was able to climb to the top of a male-dominated field, and because of Steinbrenner that Waldman on Wednesday became the first woman in history to broadcast a World Series game.

"If I live to be 150, I could never thank George Steinbrenner enough," Waldman said.

A fixture in the Yankees' clubhouse for more than two decades, Waldman has worked as a play-by-play woman, an analyst, a host and a reporter, but has never had the privilege of broadcasting a World Series game. In Waldman's fifth year in a position to do so, as an analyst for WCBS radio, the Yankees finally made the World Series again. And so the team's public relations staff took a moment to recognize her during the middle of Wednesday's World Series Game 1.

"It was very important to me, and it meant a lot," Waldman said. "It really meant a lot to me. It's the highest thing you can do in baseball, broadcast a World Series game."[MLB.com]

And all of this history-making is inspiring some young women who are considering careers in broadcasting:
Ross is humbled by the calls and emails in the hours after, declaring that she has paved the way for women to become NHL announcers. "I was told about one young girl who already contacted the NHL and wanted to speak with me. She wants to call play-by-play and now feels she has a chance," said Ross. "That made me feel amazing, like I have made an impact. If this opens some doors, Wednesday night was something the Devils and I and everyone who was involved can be very proud of."

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