THE CATCHER'S WARM-UP THROW arrives at second base with a pop. There's a hush as the ball goes back to the pitcher. Then a rich, resonant voice intones, "Now batting..." These are the ritual sounds of baseball as an inning gets under way. But this spring one of baseball's longest streaks came to an end as Sherry Davis of the San Francisco Giants became major-league baseball's first full-time female public address announcer, handling all 81 home games at Candlestick Park.
Davis, who is single and in her early 40s, got the job after trying out against 498 other candidates, only seven of them women, in early March. "I really did it on a lark," says Davis, a legal secretary and longtime Giant fanatic who called in sick that day. "I figured the worst that could happen is that I'd get to spend a spring day at Candlestick Park." When her turn came, Davis, who has done some radio-commercial voiceovers, said, "Good afternoon, baseball fans. Welcome to Candlestick Park!"—and got a round of applause from the other candidates. She also got the job.
Davis, who will earn $75 for every game she works (she is negotiating a makeup schedule with her law bosses for time lost announcing day games during the week), sees her selection as a, well, giant step for women. "I think it affects the way jobs are viewed," she says. Giant manager Dusty Baker, father of a 13-year-old daughter, agrees. "It's cool," he says. Larry Baer, a Giant executive vice president who helped pick Davis, is enthusiastic about her voice. "It's soothing, but there's a punch to it that generates excitement," he says.
Still, being the new voice of Candlestick Park has one drawback. True, Davis gets her own parking space and free popcorn in the press box, where she will be working. But there's the rub. Davis will no longer sit in the stands with the rest of the Giant faithful. "I loved being down there where the players can hear me when I yell," she says. "You can't really cheer in the press box."
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