RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Tuesday marks the start of a new Flying Squirrels’ baseball season, the first minor league action Richmond will see since September of 2019. It will also signify the beginning of a new era booming over the speakers at The Diamond.
“Live sports announcing is new in my bag of tricks,” Bianca Bryan noted.
Bryan is no stranger to baseball. The daughter of Californians, she grew up to the sounds of America’s pastime.
“I have heard the San Francisco Giants either on radio or on TV since I was toddling around,” she smiled.
Now, Bianca will be the sound of baseball in Richmond. Bryan, a voice-over radio personality with a background in theater, will be behind the mic for the 2021 season as the Flying Squirrels’ public address announcer.
“I am super animated,” Bryan explained. “I feel like that will grow as I become more comfortable behind the mic with everything that’s happening during the game.”
“It does provide us with the opportunity to have a different voice and change the experience a little bit,” added Anthony Oppermann, the team’s executive director of marketing and promotions. “Especially with fans coming back for the first time since 2019, it freshens up the experience, which I think we’re all really excited about.”
It’s a fresh vocal that’s breaking some barriers. This will mark the first time in Richmond’s minor league baseball history that a female will assume public address announcer duties, which is perhaps the most intriguing part of the gig for the new voice of The Diamond.
“Especially in our world as we know it right now, there needs to be representation for everyone,” Bryan said. “For me, actually, that was probably the most exciting thing about it- trailblazing.”
With that aspect also comes the potential to open doors for the next generation.
“Hopefully there are little girls who are sitting out in the stands that hear Bianca and think ‘wow, I can do that job,’” Oppermann said.
“I want to provide inspiration for my little girl and other little girls who might be baseball fanatics and not see a place for them in this world,” the P.A. announcer explained. “All of a sudden they’ll hear me on the mic and Meg (in-game host Megan Angstadt) is out there and be like ‘oh, there’s totally a place for me.’”
On May 4, the place for Bianca is on the microphone, which may end up being the start of her becoming a fixture of Flying Squirrels’ baseball.
“Especially as she settles into the role more and more, it’s going to feel so comfortable,” Oppermann said. “I think it may end up being a situation where it was hard to imagine a Flying Squirrels’ game without her.”
“It’s like a whole new chapter of what could potentially become a long term part of my life, which is really exciting,” Bryan added. “You think about those times in your life where you’re like that was clearly a moment, and then my life went in this direction.”
Richmond battles the Hartford Yard Goats to get things going on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 6:35.
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