Former Denver Broncos cheerleader Lauren Gardner, a Colorado native and University of Colorado alumna, made history on Tuesday night as part of the first all-female broadcast crew in MLB history.
As the Tampa Bay Rays faced off against the Baltimore Orioles, all eyes were on the five women who anchored the broadcast. For the first time, the MLB matchup featured an announcing crew composed entirely of women.
Following six seasons as a Broncos cheerleader from 2004-09, Gardner worked as a sideline reporter for Fox Sports, CBS Sports and Altitude Sports and Entertainment before joining the NHL and MLB networks in 2019.
At first glance, Gardner noted that the broadcast crew assigned to cover the Orioles and Rays matchup was packed with talent, but she was initially unaware of just how historic the moment would be for the sport.
"I [thought], 'This is awesome,'" Gardner said to MLB.com. "Then someone said, 'You know, these are all women.' It took a minute for that to sink in, that we were going to be a part of history."
Gardner cohosted the Orioles and Rays pre- and postgame shows alongside Heidi Watney, while Sarah Langs and Melanie Newman were in the booth for analysis and play-by-play responsibilities, respectively, and Alanna Rizzo served as the on-field reporter.
"It is an absolute honor," Gardner told the Gazette. "On one hand it is one of those pinch-me moments. You look at the other names and you see that they are so talented and capable. When I first looked at it I just saw really good broadcasters, they just happen to be all women."
For Gardner, this achievement is not just for herself, but for all the young girls and boys watching as well.
"For all the young women out there, I think this is so important," Gardner told the Gazette. "And on the flip side of the coin, it is important for young boys to see an all-female crew and to know that this is the new norm. You can watch women in all of these positions and know that gender doesn't determine your passion."
Below the Fold
As Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks to a Game 6 win and the team's first NBA title since 1971 on Tuesday night, Milwaukee native Shelby Harris celebrated alongside his home state of Wisconsin, basking in a victory over 50 years in the making.
"It was special," Harris said. "People waited their whole life for this. People have waited their whole life for this — 50 years."
In addition to his hometown pride, Harris has immense respect for Bucks star and NBA Finals MVP Antetokounmpo and his dominant Game 6 performance.
"I think Giannis' performance is one of the all-time great performances in the NBA Finals' history, looking back coming off that knee injury," Harris said. "That was so gruesome, and nobody thought he was going to play. And to go from not going to play to putting up that performance, hats off to him."