Portland Sea Dogs radio broadcasters Emma Tiedemann, left, and Rylee Pay in their booth above the Hadlock Field grandstand. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Emma Tiedemann realizes that she and Rylee Pay are groundbreakers as just the second all-female broadcast team in professional baseball. But Tiedemann, the lead play-by-play voice for Portland Sea Dogs broadcasts, looks forward to a time when such a pairing is no longer a novelty.

“I tell people all the time, I cannot wait for the day when this is not a news story anymore,” she said. “We’ve got us two here, and it’s becoming more of the norm than a huge story.”

Tiedemann, 30, is in her third season in the Sea Dogs radio booth. She has been joined this season by Pay, a 22-year-old in her first season of calling pro games.

The first all-female broadcast team was Melanie Newman and Suzie Cool, who worked together on Salem (Virginia) Red Sox games during the 2019 season. Newman now does play-by-play for the Baltimore Orioles. Cool is now the director of promotions and entertainment for the Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania) IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Rylee Pay, left, and Emma Tiedemann call Wednesday’s Sea Dogs game against the Reading Fightin Phils. It’s Tiedemann’s third season in the Portland radio booth, and it’s Pay’s first season calling pro games. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Women have broadcast baseball games for decades, though the profession continues to be dominated by men. In 1993, Gayle Gardner was the first woman to do play-by-play of a major league game when she called a contest between the Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds. In the mid-1990s, Suzyn Waldman did play-by-play for the New York Yankees television broadcasts on WPIX. For nearly two decades she has been the color commentator on Yankees radio broadcasts. Jessica Mendoza was a color commentator on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” games from 2015-19.

But it wasn’t until September 2021 that an all-female team worked a nationally televised Major League Baseball game, an ESPN broadcast pairing Newman and Mendoza.


“In recent years, seeing the opportunity for women to take on these roles, is something that stuck out to me and pulled me in the direction of play-by-play,” Pay said. “I’ve always wanted to be in baseball media in any capacity. I thought the opportunity to call the game is something that’s very different.”

Tiedemann and Pay are heard on Sea Dogs radio broadcasts on WPEI, 95.5 and 95.9 FM, along with the livestream of games available at milb.com.


Both women found their love of baseball through their grandfathers. Tiedemann’s grandfather, Bill Mercer, was a longtime broadcaster whose career included stints with the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and Dallas Cowboys. When Tiedemann was 15, Mercer’s partner for a University of Texas-Dallas basketball game couldn’t make it. Tiedemann filled in, sparking a love for broadcasting as well.

Pay recalled learning baseball from her grandfather, Glenn Johnson.

Radio broadcasters Emma Tiedemann, left, and Rylee Pay call the Sea Dogs home game against Reading from the broadcast booth at Hadlock Field on Tuesday. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

“He always had his scorebook out, and he collected (baseball) cards. He had this massive collection of cards,” Pay said. “He was always drawn to the game and I was really drawn to him because of that and the knowledge he had.”


Tiedemann was named the Sea Dogs radio announcer in March 2020, then had to wait for more than a year to call her first game when the season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Before coming to Portland, Tiedemann called games for the Lexington (Kentucky) Legends, a Class A team, for two years.

“I’ve always felt so supported with the Sea Dogs. The Sea Dogs take such pride in their broadcasts. I knew it was going to be worth the wait whenever we did play baseball,” said Tiedemann, now in her 10th season working in baseball.

Last season, Tiedemann worked with and mentored Riley Edwards, who this season moved on to Kentucky to be the play-by-play voice of the Bowling Green Hot Rods, a Class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. Tiedemann was put in charge of hiring his replacement by Geoff Iacuessa, the Sea Dogs general manager, and Chris Cameron, the team’s vice president of communications and fan experience.

“She’s taken it upon herself to mentor any young broadcaster, but particularly young women. She feels she has a duty to really take that lead to pave the way for more women in the industry,” Cameron said.

There wasn’t a mandate to hire a woman, only to hire the best candidate. That turned out to be Pay.

Tiedemann listened to tapes sent by approximately six dozen candidates, first whittling the list down to 20, then 10, before conducting Zoom interviews with the top candidates. She had Cameron, Iacuessa and others in the front office listen to tapes and offer feedback. Pay stood out, she said.



A Las Vegas native and senior at UNLV, Pay is completing her degree in journalism and media studies, with a concentration in sports journalism. She’s finishing her work remotely and will graduate in May.

“I want to be in baseball, and baseball starts in April. I figured if not now, then I have to wait another year to get going. My professors are very nice about accommodating that and were supportive in making that happen,” Pay said.

Pay called some baseball games at UNLV for the student radio station, and also did public address work. In 2021, she interned with the Northwoods League, a summer collegiate baseball league similar to the Cape League. Pay worked last summer with the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League, where she was able to do play-by-play of games.

Riley Pay, left, Emma Tiedemann keep score during a broadcast of the Portland Sea Dogs game against Reading at Hadlock Field on Wednesday evening. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographe

“Honestly, a big part of why I’m here is Emma,” Pay said. “I’d seen her stuff years before this and was very familiar with her work and how she called games, just the natural talent that she has with broadcasts. When I saw a position open to come be her assistant specifically, I knew that was an opportunity I would make happen no matter how far (from home) it was.”

When Tiedemann listened to Pay’s resume tape, she heard a broadcaster who was comfortable on air despite being new to the craft.


“Her references were just off the charts phenomenal. I kept hanging up from talking to people thinking, ‘Well if I don’t hire her, this is a mistake on my end.’ That’s the way they speak so highly of her,” Tiedemann said.

The Sea Dogs’ broadcast crew continues a groundbreaking trend at Hadlock Field. Last year, Katie Krall became the first female coach in team history. Krall, like other coaches on the Sea Dogs, was employed by the Boston Red Sox and served as Portland’s development coach. She has since left the Red Sox organization and now works as a senior product manager for Hawk-Eye Innovations, where she specializes in technology that analyzes baseball performance.

On Opening Night, Tiedemann and Pay each got to call a Sea Dogs home run, an early highlight of the season. Pay said she’s learning a lot from watching the natural eye Tiedemann has for the game.

“She calls it exactly like it is, and she calls it in a way that’s simple to understand for everybody. The way she understands the game is something that really impresses me. It’s very obvious when she calls games how much she loves it. I think that says a lot to everybody who is listening,” Pay said. When the team is on the road, she stays in Portland and works the radio board while Tiedemann broadcasts the game.

Tiedemann is just the fifth lead play-by-play radio voice in the 30-year history of the Sea Dogs. Cameron said he expects with her talent, she will move on to a higher level of baseball sooner rather than later.

“I love what I do. Deeper than that, I love picking the brain of our manager (Chad Epperson) and our coaching staff and our players, literally learning something new every day about the game of baseball. This game is so complex and so awesome, you see something new every day,” Tiedemann said.

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