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“Voces Latinas” Across “SNB”: Marly Rivera reflects on Latino representation on ESPN’s MLB Game of the Week

"Most Latinos we see in this kind of role are not only men but also former players, so to redefine the image of what a Latina sports journalist can accomplish has always been very important to me."

(L-R) ESPN colleagues Marly Rivera and Eduardo Perez (Photo courtesy of Marly Rivera/ESPN)

In addition to ESPN Deportes, Sunday Night Baseball has contributions from multiple Latino voices including Eduardo Pérez on ESPN, Alex Rodriguez on ESPN2 KayRod Cast, Jessica Mendoza on Baseball Tonight and Marly Rivera on ESPN Radio.

ESPN Major League Baseball National Reporter Rivera will be calling her second SNB game in as many weeks on ESPN Radio as the first-place New York Yankees visit the Boston Red Sox this Sunday, July 10. Front Row asked Rivera, who will be working this week with play-by-play commentator Dave O’Brien, about her SNB analyst experience and the significance of these voices on ESPN’s Major League Baseball coverage.

What does it mean to you to serve as an SNB analyst on ESPN Radio?
It is an honor to have been selected as a sub for my colleague [analyst] Doug Glanville [she debuted July 3, St. Louis at Philadelphia]. And knowing the voices that have filled that seat, it is a responsibility that I do not take lightly.

As the first woman baseball writer to be an analyst on a national broadcast – and only the second Latina to do so after my colleague Jess Mendoza – I hope to inspire one person out there who does not believe whatever they hope to accomplish in their own lives is possible.

Growing up, I never saw a woman who looked like me who wrote about baseball or talked about it on radio or TV. I never knew that, for a girl from a lower-middle-class family in Puerto Rico, that was even possible. Most Latinos we see in this kind of role are not only men but also former players, so to redefine the image of what a Latina sports journalist can accomplish has always been very important to me.

It is important for me to thank [ESPN executives] Norby Williamson, Freddy Rolon, Amanda Gifford, Jenn Kocse, and Peter Ciccone for all their support. I would not have this opportunity without them.

Describe the significance of widespread Latino representation in these key places on ESPN’s SNB coverage, between the TV booth, KayRod Cast, ESPN Radio, pregame and studio coverage, and beyond.
Of all the major North American sports, Major League Baseball has, by far, the most Latino representation. And our broadcast reflecting that is very important not only to serve our audience but to properly represent the athletes themselves. At ESPN, we need to continue showing our audience that giving a voice to athletes from different backgrounds and telling their stories matters. That is why representation matters.

As a longtime colleague and friend of Pérez, how is it seeing him in his first season in the SNB booth?
The first time I heard that Eduardo was going to be part of the SNB booth, I had tears in my eyes. And that he gets to do it with exceptional broadcasters like [play-by-play commentator] Karl Ravech and [analyst] David Cone just makes it even better.

Every conversation I have ever had with Eduardo has taught me something, and I think our audience will appreciate his insight, random Spanish idioms, and warm personality. I do hope that one day he gets to be a Major League manager, but in the meantime, it is a privilege to get to listen to him on a weekly basis.

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