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Behind the Mic: ESPN Set for Network's First All-Women Baseball Broadcast; Sportsnet's Jim Hughson Retires After 42-Year Career


Behind the Mic: ESPN Set for Network's First All-Women Baseball Broadcast; Sportsnet's Jim Hughson Retires After 42-Year Career By SVG Staff

Friday, September 24, 2021 - 7:05 am

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Behind the Mic provides a roundup of recent news regarding on-air talent, including new deals, departures, and assignments compiled from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week's edition, ESPN gets set for all-women MLB broadcast, Sportsnet's Jim Hughson retires from broadcasting after 42 Years, and ESPN shakes up their NBA studio programming.

ESPN To Debut First All-Women Baseball Broadcast Melanie Newman and Jessica Mendoza will be ESPN's first all-woman broadcast team for a nationally televised Major League Baseball game on September 29. The game will mark the first time ESPN has had an all-woman broadcast team for a MLB, NBA, NFL regular season or playoff game.

Newman was a part of MLB's first-ever all-female broadcast in July, while Mendoza became the first female analyst to call a nationally televised MLB playoff game in 2015. Mendoza, ESPN's first regular female MLB analyst, has been with the network since 2007.

Honestly, each earmark is just another page, says Newman. I feel fortunate to be the one handed this chance, it's our responsibility until there are no more firsts and its just an even playing field of all-qualified professionals who happen to look different.

Mendoza is a two-time Olympic medal winner and was a four-time All-American on Stanford University's softball team.

For young girls, women, and Latinas, to hear a voice that represents them is so impactful for not only the sport to grow its audience, but to continue to broaden the opportunities for more young girls, women and Latinas to do the same, says Mendoza.

Newman, who also made history as the first woman in Orioles history to call a regular-season game in 2020, will provide play-by-play commentary for two ESPN baseball telecasts as the network puts together its pennant race stretch of 11 games in 11 days. She also believes that representation is important in growing America's first professional sport.

Representation absolutely matters, Newman said. The number of younger girls who have felt they couldn't be a fan of sports in general solely out of not seeing women in front still amazes me. (CNN Business)

Sportsnet's Jim Hughson Retires from Broadcasting after 42 Years Jim Hughson is stepping away from the mic. The Hall of Fame play-by-play commentator has announced his retirement from sports broadcasting, closing out a remarkable 42-year career as one of the iconic voices of hockey in Canada.

It's been a fantastic run and I'd like to thank Sportsnet, Hockey Night in Canada, and all my friends and colleagues over the years for the tremendous support and countless memories, says Hughson. This is a decision I made in consultation with my family and I'm very much at peace with it. My only goal in this industry was to work at the highest level and on the last day of the season. I've had that opportunity a number of times and will always be grateful for it.

Calling his first game on radio in 1979, Hughson has done hockey play-by-play spanning the course of six different decades, becoming one of Canada's most notable voices. Hughson has covered countless NHL, OHL and CHL games and has been the voice of the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and national hockey broadcasts on Hockey Night in Canada. He's also called a dozen Stanley Cup Finals and the men's hockey tournament at both the 2006 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Jim is one of the best this business has ever seen, says Rob Corte, VP of Sportsnet and NHL Production. Whether on TV, radio or in video games, for many he has been their soundtrack of hockey. He's set the gold standard for broadcasting in this country and has accomplished pretty much everything any broadcaster would set out to do in their career. On top of that, he's a tremendous teammate and an even better person. I respect his decision to step back and spend more time with family but he is going to be missed by us at Sportsnet, the entire broadcasting industry, his colleagues and his many fans.

While best known for hockey, Hughson also made a name for himself calling Major League Baseball at times throughout his career notably being part of the Blue Jays broadcast crew during their championship runs in 1992 and 1993.

Jim ranks amongst the greatest play-by-play announcers of all-time, says Bart Yabsley, President of Sportsnet. His contributions to the sport of hockey in this country have been immense. He has brought tremendous passion, knowledge, grace and care to every single game he's called, which is a testament to his longevity in this business. He is leaving behind incredibly big shoes to fill after a legendary career.

In 2019, the Hockey Hall of Fame awarded Hughson the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award to honor his outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster. He is also a four-time Canadian Screen Awards winner for Best Sports Play-by-Play Announcer.

It's been an honor, privilege, and pleasure to join Canadian hockey fans in watching so many fantastic games over the years, adds Hughson. I look forward to continuing watching together, but from the same side of the television. (Sportsnet)

ESPN Launches New Show, NBA Today, on October 18 ESPN is launching a new studio show NBA Today, beginning on Monday, October 18, just prior to the October 19 tipoff of the 2021-22 NBA regular season. ESPN NBA journalist Malika Andrews will host NBA Today as part of a new, multi-year contract extension. Andrews will be joined by ESPN NBA analysts Kendrick Perkins, Chiney Ogwumike, Vince Carter, and ESPN Senior Writer Zach Low
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