What Beth Mowins' Cubs debut taught one young fan


MESA, Ariz. – Views of Sloan Park and the marquee sign served as a backdrop for Beth Mowins’ introduction at the top of the Cubs broadcast Saturday.

Then, the camera panned to two fans on the berm, a father and his young daughter, holding up homemade signs. His read, “WELCOME BETH.”

“Oh, that’s very sweet,” Mowins said on the Marquee Sports Network broadcast. “Thank you so much. Looking forward to being part of the Marquee team this year, as we get set for the Chicago Cubs and the Colorado Rockies.”

It was the first time a female announcer had uttered those words on a Cubs broadcast. On Saturday, Mowins became the first woman to call play-by-play in Cubs history.

Mowins is part of a rotating cast that will fill in for Jon “Boog” Sciambi at times during the season. Her first regular season game is scheduled for May 8.

“It's always a special day, even though the Cubs weren't here, to be sitting in Wrigley Field,” Mowins said in a phone interview after the game, “knowing all the legends that have been up there before you and knowing about all the amazing things that have happened in that ballpark over the years. That’s a real special moment.”

Mowins’ esteemed broadcast career spans multiple sports, at both the college and major-league levels. She’s been the voice of the Women’s College World Series for over 20 years.

In 2017, Mowins became the first woman to a call a nationally televised NFL game, a bout between the Chargers and Broncos on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. She was just the second female play-by-play announcer in NFL history, making her debut 30 years after Gayle Sierens called a game on the last Sunday of the 1987 regular season.

Mowins called Saturday’s Cubs spring training game from Chicago. But her voice sounded over Brandon Bajema’s phone in Sloan Park’s berm seating. He was the dad with the “Welcome Beth” sign and had pulled up the live stream on the MLB App. He didn’t want to miss Mowins’ call.

“Having two little girls, it’s a big deal,” he said. “I want them to feel like they can be a part of anything or do anything that they want to do. So, we’re excited.”

His daughters, Addisyn and Jordyn, are 4 and 6 years old. Brandon and his wife Robyn devised the sign-making as a pregame ballpark activity. Jordyn’s sign featured her favorite player, Anthony Rizzo, and a drawing of his dog Kevin.

“I always get a kick out of seeing youngsters that are passionate about sports and love sports,” Mowins said. “And when you see young girls that maybe one day want to get into the field, whether it's playing or coaching or front offices or even as broadcasters, it's cool to see that you can have a positive impact on people and hopefully set that standard high and have other people come along later and keep raising that bar.”

At this point in her young life, Jordyn isn’t dreaming of a career in baseball. The Cubs fan wants to be a teacher and designer. Judging by her poster board artwork, she has a bright future in both professions. But that doesn’t make Mowins any less of a role model.

Jordyn also has never thought of a play-by-play career as off-limits. That’s the power of Mowins’ presence in the booth.

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