Good Sports: Visalia Rawhide announcer making history in the California League

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- At a photoshoot for a Visalia Rawhide promotion, Jill Gearin isn't afraid to show the players exactly what she's looking for.

The Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations in Visalia does much more than broadcast the games.

Earlier this year during a rainout she suited up to entertain the fans.

"Do a lot of media relations, a lot of press releases, I update the website, I'm the liason between our team and the other teams. Marketing, sales. All of the above," said Gearin.

And then there's the job she made headlines for this year.

Gearin is the first female broadcaster in the 78-year history of the California League.

While women trying to get into baseball have struck out for years general manager Jennifer Reynolds wanted to break the mold out of the thousands of applicants she got the broadcast position.

"It's very much an established, traditional sport. A lot of people just fall into that rut and don't want things to change which is unfortunate," said Reynolds. "I'm not a personality that shys away from wanting to make change and change for the better. For the fans, for the coaches for everybody. Just for the industry as a whole, it's better when you have diversity and people thinking outside the box."

For a seven o'clock game Gearin will get into the office at 8:30 in the morning.

Part of that long day includes going into an all-male clubhouse to talk to players and coaches.

"Going into the clubhouse after the game when players are changing and showering, that's normal for me because I did that with the Red Sox but it's new in the Cal league so you can just see the shock on their faces and it's really just a learning curve for really both of us," said Gearin.

"It does take a long time to really establish that rapport and that respect. A long time. That's pretty frustrating but you just gotta have thick skin and smile and nod and work your way through," explained Gearin.

Both say that it's easier with the younger generation of players and coaches.

While Gearin may be the first, she's showing other girls that a job in baseball broadcasting is possible.

Earlier this year a 4th grader sat next to her while she called a game.

"She used to want to be a doctor and now she wants to be a broadcaster. Of course part of me is like 'Doctors make so much more money what are you doing?!' but yeah it's fun," said Gearin.
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