Caribbean Latinas are raised on béisbol. But while we rock our favorite team’s jersey and attend games with papi, we hardly see ourselves represented in the sport. Marysol Castro just changed that.
The Bronx-born puertorriqueña made history in May when she became the first Latina public address (PA) announcer in Major League Baseball and the first woman to take the job for the New York Mets.
“The minute I open this door and look at this view, I realize how incredibly fortunate I am,” Castro, 44, told NBC News after one month on the job.
The Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism alumna began her career in broadcasting, working in local news, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “The Early Show” at CBS as well as ESPN — all jobs she said she had to work “really, really hard” for and often felt alone at as a woman of color.
“In almost every job I’ve had, I’ve been the only Latino,” said Castro. “We have to reflect the eyeballs that watch us.”
Castro has been working to meet that challenge throughout her career. The daughter of island-born parents, her late father was active in the Puerto Rican civil rights group the Young Lords — and Castro carries his passion for change and progress. Along with announcing for the Mets, Castro also hosts “Somos,” a web show that profiles Latinos killin’ it in various industries. So far, she has highlighted the works of comic creator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez and recording artist Javier Colon.
But she’s also making headway above the baseball field. During one of her first days on the job, Castro went to the Mets Clubhouse and asked each player how they wanted her to pronounce their names — a gesture that meant a lot to the players, particularly the team’s 11 Latinos, who often deal with PA announcers and journalists mispronouncing their names.
“They looked at me with a smile, which seemed to say, ‘Wow, no one has asked me that before,’” she said. “That, to me, means a lot…Everyone is entitled to have their name pronounced correctly. It’s a human thing.”
As a long-time baseball fan, woman and Boricua, she says the new position “means everything” to her because she is able to “be a bridge builder for other Latinos.”
But her representation is also significant to young girls who love the sport as much as she does.
On her opening night, she spotted a little girl in the stadium holding a sign that read “Congratulations on being the first woman,” a tender moment that even made Colin Cosell, who she alternates the PA announcer position with, shed a tear.