Amy Schneider’s historic run on Jeopardy! inspired awe and, unfortunately, some controversy among those made uncomfortable by watching a transgender woman dominate the syndicated game show to the tune of 40 wins and $1,382,800 in winnings.
Schneider currently holds the record for the winningest woman in Jeopardy! history, second in wins behind Ken Jennings and fourth in earnings overall. And fans will see much more of her on their TVs later this year when she headlines the show’s next edition of its yearly Tournament of Champions. But one place Schneider didn’t show up was on a Fox Sports baseball broadcast, and some fans wondered if the network intentionally snubbed Schneider for some reason.
The drama started on Saturday when Schneider threw out the first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game. Schneider, a trans woman from across the Bay in Oakland, took part in the team’s Pride Night festivities, with the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers wearing special Pride-themed hats for the occasion. But bizarrely, Fox Sports decided to pretend that former NASCAR driver and now-Fox broadcaster Kurt Busch threw the pitch instead.
“Kurt Busch threw out the first pitch.” pic.twitter.com/DzolTVrLey
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) June 12, 2022
As The Comeback noted, the footage was actually from two days earlier. And the move was good enough to dupe a local TV station into reporting that Busch threw out the pitch on Saturday, not Schneider. It’s a really strange thing all around, which could have been a mistake or perhaps something carrying a bit more malice. It’s something Schneider herself alluded to on Twitter in the days that followed.
“Well that’s Fox for you,’ she replied in a quote tweet about the apparent snub. But Fox Sports addressed the situation this week, and it was apparently more about advertising than anything. As SFGate reported on Tuesday, the network officially denied it intentionally snubbed the 40-time Jeopardy! champ by refusing to air her first pitch. Rather, it had other business to attend to during the broadcast.
“On Saturday, as part of a promotional package for the weekend’s NASCAR race in northern California, we aired a taped first pitch of famed NASCAR driver Kurt Busch,” a Fox Sports spokesman told SFGATE. “This promotion was in no way meant to overshadow the ceremonial first pitch for the game as it is not routine for us to air.”
The spokesperson also reportedly noted that first pitches don’t often make the broadcast, which is fair. But it seems really strange to then intentionally show a first pitch from another game, advertising for NASCAR aside. It’s really strange TV all around, especially when you consider the broadcast decision put the announcer in the unfortunate decision of pretending a first pitch of stock footage was fresh just to bump stock car racing.
The stakes here are, all things considered, pretty low. Major League games can have several “first” pitches. But erasure is certainly a major topic during Pride, and a Fox-affiliated sports network curiously erasing a trans woman’s first pitch was inevitably going to turn some heads. Even if it was only about auto racing.
Anyway, you can see Schneider’s actual first pitch below.
Jeopardy! megachamp Amy Schneider throws out the ceremonial first pitch on Pride Day at Oracle Park. pic.twitter.com/m7ihPTEsze
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) June 11, 2022
(Via SF Gate)