MELANIE Newman has gone from participating in beauty pageants to becoming one of the leading female trailblazers in baseball.
Her debut appearance at MLB All-Star Week in Seattle earlier this week capped another milestone in her groundbreaking broadcasting career.
In April 2019, Newman and radio partner Suzie Cool became the first all-female broadcast team at any level of professional baseball, covering the Salem Red Sox, the Boston Red Sox Single-A affiliate in the Carolina League.
Then a year later, she became the first-ever female broadcaster to call a game for the Baltimore Orioles in the team’s history.
In doing so, Newman became just the fourth active female broadcaster in MLB — joining Suzyn Waldman (New York Yankees), Jenny Cavnar (Colorado Rockies) and Jessica Mendoza (ESPN).
In September 2021, Melanie reached an even bigger stage when she teamed up with Mendoza to become the first female duo to call a nationally televised MLB contest for ESPN.
A move to Apple TV’s Friday night MLB coverage did not work out for Newman and fellow commentator Katie Nolan.
But her stock has continued to rise with additional work at MLB Network, which included covering the High School Home Run Derby and MLB Draft earlier this week.
It is an incredible rise for someone who did not enjoy competing in athletics as a child.
“Everybody looked forward to field day, but that was the day where I was like ‘fake sick, just fake sick, you don’t have to show up’.” she told MLB.com.
“I hated it.”
The native of Woodstock, Georgia, was also a majorette and dabbled in dance, cheerleading, and gymnastics.
But it was as a beauty pageant contestant that Melanie shined the brightest.
Competing in pageants from the age of 15, she won the crown of Miss Petite USA in 2013 and finished first runner-up in Miss Petite Universe the following year.
Her inspiration came from watching the Sandra Bullock film Miss Congeniality.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I want to try that’,” Melanie told The Athletic.
“I had no experience with it at all.”
Melanie says the pageant process helped her come out of her shell and gain more confidence.
“I was still morbidly shy the first time I competed,” she said.
“But I always tell people, ‘You get thrown out on a stage in a bikini and five-inch heels in front of cameras and 2,000 people, and you kind of get cracked out of your shell.’
“You don’t have an option at that point.”
Her journalism career began when she took a broadcast journalism degree at Troy University in Alabama.
She was advised by a mentor to pick one sport and stick with it.
The 32-year-old chose baseball after after gaining a break with the Double-A Mobile BayBears of the Southern League in 2014, her career has since gone from strength to strength.
“I’ve really enjoyed where I’ve been at right now… For whatever reason baseball was just the one,” she said.
She has also developed a major social media presence, with fans calling her “enchanting and “gorg”.