The Rockies' Jenny Cavnar takes her base

Mike Olson Avatar
February 16, 2024

“525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year?”
– Seasons of Love, Rent

Love it or hate it, Jonathan Larson’s musical is not only filled with a dozen earworms, but poses a few thoughtful questions, including how you measure the passage of time and the biggest moments of a lifetime. The “enormity” of the half-million-plus number just lends a little extra weight to the argument.

So how about this one? 238,277. Not quite a half mil, but creeping up on a quarter, anyway. Still a pretty danged big count. What is it?

That’s the number of games Major League Baseball has played to date, and how many games have been played without any team having a female broadcaster being a team’s primary play-by-play caller. 238,000+ sure seemed like more than enough, and like most glass ceilings that end up shattering, this one was smashed by someone of immense talent, character, and who just so happens to hail from Colorado.

If you’re baseball fan of any sort, you’re probably heard the news by now that Jenny Cavnar, the multi-faceted broadcaster for the Colorado Rockies for the last dozen years. While hometown girl Cavnar will be heading out of town for this next big leap, Colorado’s loss is Major League Baseball’s and the Oakland Athletics’ gain. After 20 years of shining from every spot she was placed in, Cavnar becomes the first to do what she will do in 238,277 games. 148 years. America’s pastime was overdue.

In trying to give any context to Jenny’s accomplishment, I reached out to a mutual friend of ours who has been climbing a lot of ladders herself, someone who Cavnar has publicly congratulated at several of those rungs. Colorado Sportcaster of the Year nominee Katy Winge graciously leapt at the opportunity. I asked Winge what came to mind first about Cavnar.

“First off, before even speaking to her talent or this moment, I want to say that Jenny is truly one of the most wonderful human beings I have come into contact with, and I think any person who has worked with her or been touched by her work would say the same.  She has the most infectious spirit, and the kindest soul. She has kindly helped me at every turn, and so every person who has reached out to ask me about her, I’ve reached back to tell them about how incredible she is.”

You can catch some of that infectiousness in an interview Cavnar gave about her career a scant two years ago, speaking to her first interviews being with her father, a high school baseball coach. After being inspred by watching Melissa Stark’s sideline interviews as a girl, Jenny hit her dad with some pretty hard hitting questions, at least for someone who could have been grounded for insubordination.

You’d think that reputation for kindness would run counter to her doggedness and determination when it comes to not only her on-camera work and reporting skills, but Cavnar is also known as the creme of the crop as a broadcaster, being the first female recipient of the above-named Colorado Sportscaster of the Year, in 2021. With that, and even from their unique spaces, Winge had a little more on the topic:

“In terms of her getting this position, it might be hard for me to state or even fully understand how big a deal it is, as I’m not as closely connected with the baseball world. I can speak to my experience in a space that has broken some of these barrier before baseball. I know that in some of these “firsts” moments for me, I know what it felt like for me to break barriers, to see other women in the NBA breaking barriers. So, from that tangent, I can imagine just how massive this is. Knowing that, I can imagine what doors she is opening for other women, being the first one to walk through hers. That is historic. It’s really, really special.”

While Coloradoan Cavnar will be missed in the Rockies and by the Rockies, it’s also special to see one of our hometown heroines fly the coop the begin something new. Not just new for her, but new for us all. With a list of firsts of this sort under her belt, who knows how long it may be before Cavnar is calling the narrative of national broadcasts for someone. Given the arc and trajectory of the five-time Emmy winner’s career, that doesn’t seem so far out of reach.

Talent and enthusiasm literally gushing from each call. A mind and eye for the game that puts most who try to shame. And beyond it all, kindness, class, and generosity. In so many ways, Jenny Cavnar has been a first for folks at most every stop. As rough a time as the A’s have had figuring out their next steps on their own diamond, they certainly landed a gem in their booth. Nearly a quarter million games later, baseball has something brand new in its midst. Good luck on this adventure, Jenny. Fire up the Fountains. So many of us will still be following along.

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