It's all about dad for O's/Apple TV+ voice Newman

Melanie Newman reflects on her late father's impact on her career in the booth

June 19th, 2022

NEW YORK -- As we celebrate Father's Day, there is no doubt that Orioles and Apple TV+ broadcaster Melanie Newman will be thinking about her own father, Mike Newman, who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year.

Like Melanie, Mike was a sports junkie. Melanie and her younger sister, Stephanie, often tagged along with their dad when it came to sporting events. Whether they were watching the game on TV or at an arena, the trio would be cheering loudly for the hometown team in Atlanta.

One can imagine Mike’s reaction when he learned that his eldest daughter had made it to “The Show,” having in 2020 become the first woman to do Orioles play-by-play.

“He always had a quiet presence. He wasn’t loud or over the top,” Melanie said of her father. “I think he had small moments of quiet appreciation and pride. … He always expected the best for both me and my sister. For him, having known everything that I went through, every time I could have taken the way out and gone down a different career path and knowing that I didn’t, he saw this goal maybe before I did.”

It didn’t matter what sport it was -- football, baseball, hockey, horseback riding or the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta -- Melanie and Stephanie were never bored. Melanie acknowledges that her dad was a bit turned off by baseball because of the strike in 1994, but that didn’t deter her from following the game. Mike continued to encourage her to pursue her dreams of becoming a baseball broadcaster.

“He treated it the same when it came to sporting world, introducing us to something that he enjoyed,” Melanie said. “I don’t think it would have been any different if he had boys instead of girls. He kept us around it. It was the same thing for us like going to the movies. We watched sports just as equally. 

“I still remember in seventh grade, he told me I could go to our school’s homecoming dance or I could go to an Auburn football game. It wasn’t even a second thought to go to the game instead. That was his passion, and he shared it all the same.”

It doesn’t come as a surprise that Mike was a great father to his daughters. For most of his life, he was surrounded by women. When he was 10 years old, his father was shot down in Vietnam. Mike grew up helping look out for his mother, Eva, as well as his sister and brother. He later became an engineer for Lockheed Martin.

Courtesy Melanie Newman

Melanie follows in his footsteps, having adopted his work ethic. Wherever she is, Melanie is the backbone of the broadcast. Besides covering the Orioles on the radio, she travels to call games for Apple TV+.

“Melanie calls Orioles game [almost] every day and then shows up ready to talk about two completely different teams,” said baseball reporter Hannah Keyser, who is also Melanie’s broadcast partner for Apple TV+. “This is my first time doing anything like it and I feel like a ball of nerves. The only reason I can do it at all is because I have the option to not speak. She doesn’t have that option. I have an appreciation on how fast you have to be to sort of do that job. To be that fast, you have to be composed.”

To honor her father, Melanie has dedicated the rest of her broadcasting career to Mike.

“I do recognize how lucky I am to be in this situation,” Melanie said. “I also think there is so much ahead to look forward to, as well, because I haven’t gotten to really experience it at its fullest. Every year I do this, it is dedicated to Dad.”

Courtesy Melanie Newman