When Angie Mentink (then Marzetta) first picked up a baseball for the Colorado Silver Bullets in 1995, only a magic genie or a visit from the cast of Avengers: Endgame could’ve told her what to expect on March 11, 2023. The Colorado Silver Bullets were the first professional women’s baseball team since the All-American Girls Baseball League folded in 1954 and Mentink was freshly out of college at the University of Washington. Despite her playing softball for the Huskies, baseball was what got her up in the morning. She could’ve played in the Olympics for USA Softball, but instead she chose to stay in Colorado to play baseball with other women who loved the game equally as much.
Now 28 years later Mentink, who has been with the Seattle Mariners for the past 26 years, is calling a game from the broadcast booth at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale alongside Jenny Cavnar who does the same for the Colorado Rockies. Together, Mentink and Cavnar are joined by sideline reporters Jen Mueller and Julia Morales, as well as Alison Vigil and Erica Ferrero behind the camera as game producer and game director.
Saturday’s game between the Seattle Mariners and Colorado Rockies marked the second time in MLB history that the broadcast team featured all women, but the first time the game was broadcast over a television network (the first was on YouTube).
This gesture by the MLB was undoubtedly done to celebrate Women’s History Month and lift up several of those who have succeeded as women in the sport over the past two decades.
It’s a slow process integrating women into the sport of baseball and the broadcast booth. The days of using the “but she never played professionally” excuse are fading away thanks to women like Becky Hammon who have cracked the glass ceiling and broke into the men’s level of sports on a national level. As Mentink quoted Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng during today’s game, “if you can’t see it, it’s really hard to be it.”
Representation matters. Who knows, maybe a little girl – who was nothing but a twinkle in her mother’s eye when Mentink played for the Colorado Silver Bullet in 1995 – watched today’s broadcast and for a split second realized that she, too, could be in that booth.
But anyway, let’s get to the game!
Spoiler alert: the Mariners won.
They did not win by a lot but if you watched the game, they won convincingly.
This Spring Training has been about getting used to the new rules – namely the pitch clock – and today’s game was no exception. However, it wasn’t the pitching side the rule that the Mariners stood out on.
In the 2nd inning, noted speedster and dog Dad Sam Haggerty got working on his time on base like a can of WD-40 on a crusty keyboard. Following his hit through the gap and into right field, Haggerty used the next two at-bats to get in the head of Rockies pitcher José Ureña.
During Kole Calhoun’s time at the plate, Haggerty played with his lead off the base ever-so-confidently trying to get Ureña to bite. Ureña took the bait not once, but twice, but before things could get really interesting with a third attempt, Calhoun popped up for an out.
In the next Mariners at-bat, Haggerty was up to his old-as-of-one-AB-ago tricks. This time, though, he found success:
We just got a sneak preview of how that limited pickoffs rule could affect the Mariners this year. Ureña was clearly concerned about Haggerty on first and used up both his pickoff attempts; Swaggerty then stole second and basically walked in.— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) March 11, 2023
Following Ureña’s exit in 4th inning, Rockies pitching coach Darryl Scott admitted the pitching clock rule plus the base running rule combined gave their starting pitcher some trouble. Among many adjustments pitchers have to make with the rule change, having to mind the pitching clock and a runner on base at the same time will be a big difficulty.
BEEF BOY TRIPLE— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) March 11, 2023
We talked about the all-female broadcast crew making history at the top of the recap and we’re going to talk about it again. Today the Mariners hit back-to-back triples courtesy of Cal Raleigh/Big Dumper/Beef Boy and possible Mariners comeback player of the year Jarred Kelenic (is it too early to say that?).
The last time the team did that was in 2006 when Adrián Beltré and José López combined for back-to-back triple baggers.
This mega historic moment is what got the scoring started for the M’s with Raleigh getting Ty France across the plate and Kelenic subsequently doing the same for Raleigh.
On the pitching side the Mariners sent Chris Flexen to the bump to begin the game. Originally a starter for the Mariners, Flexen moved to the bullpen toward the end of 2022 due in part to his reliability for eating up inning after inning.
This year Flexen will most likely begin the season in the bullpen, however, the Mariners are stretching him out during Spring Training as if he were a starter. Accordingly, he pitched just over 3 innings giving up four hits and only one run (a run, I’ll add, that Juan Then gave up after Flexen exited).
In the end, this game was perfect for a Mariners fan who wants to avoid an elevated heart rate – a stellar broadcast team, solid offense and a convincing win.