April 24, 2024

Jenny Cavnar grew up obsessed with baseball. She spent much of her time practicing with the high school team coached by her father or pretending to be Oakland Athletics slugger Mark McGwire or Jose Canseco while playing home run derby with friends.

Cavnar also knew at a young age that she wanted to be a sports broadcaster. But it didn’t occur to her that she could pursue that career in baseball.

“I don’t think I saw any female broadcasters on regional sports television when I was in high school, and, really regional sports television was kind of a newer thing in that arena,” Cavnar recently told NBC Sports California. “So for me, it was like, ‘I want to be a college football sideline reporter,’ because that was every female I saw on television.”

That is no longer the case. Cavnar is among the many women who have broken barriers in sports broadcasting over the years — including a huge one this year. NBC Sports California has named Cavnar as the primary play-by-play announcer for Athletics broadcasts for the upcoming season, making her the first woman to hold such a role for a Major League Baseball team.

“I think for women specifically, there’ve been so many wonderful pioneers in our game who have really blazed a trail of knocking down doors and making a lot of jobs accessible,” Cavnar told NBC Sports California, “not just one or two jobs, but we’re seeing women in uniform now, women in positions in the front office of a baseball team … Women who I admire so much, who took a leap of faith into a career path not a lot of women were doing.

“They’ve opened so many doors, and I hope we continue to do the same so this next generation of girls can see how many opportunities there are laid out to them.”

Cavnar actually did get her start in broadcasting as a college football sideline reporter, but it wasn’t long that her deep interest and knowledge in baseball started opening doors for her in that sport. In 2007, she got a job with the San Diego Padres in 2007, then five years later moved on to the Colorado Rockies, where she served as a reporter and host of pre- and postgame shows.

In 2018, Cavnar filled in as the play-by-play announcer for a Rockies game. It was the first time a woman had performed that duty for an MLB team since ESPN’s Gayle Gardner in 1993.

“That kind of opened up this whole new world that I had never had my sights set out for up until that moment, and I started dreaming a new dream of what this could look like and having new career goals,” Cavnar said of her first stint in the broadcast booth. “I’m really excited that it led to this opportunity.”

Cavnar, who also calls men’s and women’s college basketball games on FS1 and the Pac-12 Networks, has won five Emmys for her work, and in 2021, she became the first woman to be Colorado Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Assn.

“Jenny is a very talented announcer with significant experience covering baseball,” Matt Murphy, president and general manager of NBC Sports California, said in a news release. “She’s been a groundbreaking professional who’s earned the admiration of fans and her peers throughout her career. We’re very excited for her to join our excellent team and lead our A’s coverage starting this season.”

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