Fire Up the Fountains: Cavnar Hits it Out of the Park

In a moment of levity several years ago, Jenny Cavnar was asked if she know how to keep a baseball scorebook.

Without hesitation and a big smile, she quickly replied, “My father was a high school baseball coach, and both of my brothers played baseball. Who do you think was in charge of the scorebook?”

Point made. Cavnar grew up hanging around the ballpark.

And it’s apparent.

She doesn’t just like the game. She knows the game. She enjoys the game. And for those who have the opportunity to listen to her, she helps them enjoy the game, too, with legitimate insight.

As she declared when Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado hit a home run in the bottom of the first inning of Monday’s game, “Fire up the fountains, she’s gone,” a reference to the fountains behind the center field fence at Coors Field that go off whenever a Rockies player hits a home run.

“But it only works at Coors Field,” she would say in an aside to her partners on the broadcast crew, former big-league players Ryan Spilborghs and Jeff Huson.

“That’s okay,” Huson said. “You are in Coors Field.”

Cavnar, who also handled the play-by-play chores on a Rockies game in spring training, was more than okay.

She was comfortable and having fun at the ballpark, which isn’t a surprise.

She, after all, grew up around the ballpark, and for the last dozen years has established herself as the ultimate professional in the broadcast world, first in Southern California where she was a part of the telecasts for the Padres and also the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL, and more recently, back in her native Colorado, where she not only works on Rockies telecasts but also Mountain West basketball and football.

The ease with which she slipped behind the mic for Monday night was no surprise to those who know her, including husband Steve Spurgeon, who pitched four years in the White Sox system and two years in independent ball.

And baseball fans throughout the Rocky Mountain region, who have grown to know her in recent years for her work on the Rockies pre- and post-game shows, had that reinforced by her efforts on Monday night.

Once word surfaced of Cavnar's play-by-play assignment it brought to mind the few other women who were given the opportunity, including Gayle Gardner being at the mic for a Rockies game at Cincinnati in 1993, the team’s first year of existence.

Suzy Waldman, who is part of the Yankees radio broadcasts with John Sterling, handled the play-by-play chores on Yankee telecasts on occasion, and Mary Shane was part of the White Sox telecast back in 1976, when the late Bill Veeck was running Chicago’s American League team.

But understand one thing, Cavnar is not a sideshow.

She’s a professional broadcaster. She fits comfortably in the booth, behind the mic, handling play-by-play chores, and it’s only a matter of time before that childhood dream of being a big-league broadcaster becomes a reality.

She works at her profession.

“The first thing I do in the morning is get ready,” said Cavnar. “I read the team’s stats from the previous day, what others are saying about the team, and what is going on around the league.”

Tuesday morning that meant she was reading a lot about herself, and her efforts on Monday night at Coors Field.

Whether she was the first or the second doesn’t matter.

What those who know her, whether it be in person or from her television exposure, understand is she’s a professional, well-versed on her subject matter, always coming across as being at ease in her delivery.

And as for her effort on Monday night, it’s best summed up by stealing one of Cavnar’s lines from the telecast:

“Fire up the Fountains.”

It was a home run.

Tracy RingolsbyComment