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Exclusive: MLB’s first-ever female primary play-by-play announcer says her role opens ‘door for the next generation’

“The next generation of girls is going to have something to look at, that there’s lots of jobs in sports,” Jenny Cavnar tells TODAY.
/ Source: TODAY

Jenny Cavnar is in a league of her own.

Last week, Cavnar was named the primary play-by-play announcer for the Oakland A’s, making her the first woman to hold such a position in Major League Baseball history.

Cavnar will pair up with her broadcast partner, former A’s pitcher Dallas Braden, to bring fans all of the action for the 2024 season on NBC Sports California. While her new position is historic, the announcer is quick to point out that there're other women in media in baseball, including Suzyn Waldman, who works on New York Yankees radio broadcasts, Melanie Newman who does TV coverage with the Baltimore Orioles and Jessica Mendoza with ESPN and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“We’re chipping away ... at just kind of opening that door for the next generation and really having the idea that representation matters,” she said Feb. 16 on TODAY.

“The next generation of girls is going to have something to look at, that there’s lots of jobs in sports.”

Jenny Cavnar
Jenny Cavnar is all smiles while talking to TODAY about what landing the play-by-play job with the Oakland A's means.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Cavnar is a mother of two kids, ages 2 and 6, and grew up with a father who coaches baseball, so she understands the impact she can have.

“I feel most special when a dad comes up to me (and says) ‘I’m sharing this with my girls’ because I grew up with a dad that was a baseball coach and we shared sports, so that means a ton,” she said.

“I hope the path that we’re paving for their generation is just different,” she added, while talking about her kids.

Cavnar also knows she didn't arrive at this moment without help.

“I feel so grateful for the champions in my work life who have pushed me here,” she said.

While Cavnar may have broken down a door, she says she is ready to just be herself in the booth.

“It’s not traditional, by a play-by-play voice. I get it. It’s not going to sound traditional and I don’t want it to. I just want to be myself when I get in there.”

Cavnar is not just a baseball fan, either — she grew up watching TODAY’s own Carson Daly on MTV’s “TRL.”

“This is like full circle,” Cavnar said before Carson walked out to say hello during her interview.

“You’re a true inspiration,” he told her.

Here's what else you need to know about Jenny Cavnar.

How did Cavnar react to the news?

“It is a dream come true to join the broadcast team for the Oakland A’s and their rich baseball history,” Cavnar said, according to NBC Sports Bay Area.

“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," she continued. "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.”

She also took to X to comment on the announcement, writing "Excited for the next chapter!! Let’s go!"

What has Cavnar done before this job?

She may be a rookie in this new position, but have no illusion: Cavnar is a seasoned veteran in baseball.

In 2007, she broke into the majors when she got a job covering the San Diego Padres before returning to her home state, working as a sideline reporter for the Colorado Rockies.

Jenny Cavnar
Jenny Cavnar is looking forward to her new role with the Oakland A's.Sam Wasson / Getty Images

In 2018, she became the first woman in 25 years to fill in as the play-by-play person at a major league game.

She has also covered the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, co-hosted an Olympics show and worked for five years covering sports for San Diego State University.

How are people reacting to Cavnar landing the job?

Cavnar was feted by multiple people on X. Braden could hardly contain his excitement at teaming up with his new partner.

“I could not be more honored to sit next to the first woman in baseball history to assume the role of play-by play announcer,” he said in a video posted Feb. 13. “It’s a great day for baseball. It’s a great day for women in baseball.”

“Congratulations to Colorado’s own Jenny Cavnar for making history!” Colorado Governor Jared Polis wrote, in part.

“Cheers to @jennycavnar on making history!” Billie Jean King wrote, in part.

“Thank you @JennyCavnar for 12 great seasons with the Rockies. Good luck with @NBCSAthletics,” the Rockies wrote.