By Mark F. Gray
AFRO Staff Writer
Tiffany Hoyd arrived at Howard University in 2015 anything other than a baseball fan. The southern California native wanted to be announcer and was also an analyst for many of the Bison football games that were mostly less than competitive. However, she worked hard and never wavered from her passion to work in sports media.
Hoyd, a 2019 graduate, is now officially one of the “Hidden Figures” in baseball journalism. She was part one of three MLB Network Sports Emmy Award winning studio show teams for 2020, which flew under the radar thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hoyd earned her Emmy as an broadcast associate for the network’s signature news program’s production “MLB Tonight”.
“This truly is a blessing and I can’t say I saw it coming,” Hoyd told the
AFRO. “I’m super blessed to have been there.”
MLB Tonight is a highlight driven studio program which is the 24-hour baseball network’s version of ESPN’s Sportscenter. Hoyd was never really passionate about the sport and previously interned with the Los Angeles Rams in hopes of working within the National Football League upon graduation. However, her initial postgraduate opportunity came when she and the fledgling young network came together through her HBCU networking while at Howard.
Hoyd earned ESPN’s Rhoden Fellowship, named after Morgan State Graduate and former New York Times columnist Bill Rhoden, which gave her the chance to expand her circle of contacts in a sport where diversity has always been challenging and opportunities of color were virtually nonexistent. Major League Baseball’s history of prejudice, segregation, and sexism is as much a part of it’s legacy as tobacco juice and pine tar. The sport was segregated for nearly a half century on the field. News agencies were traditionally reluctant to give women an opportunity to cover it’s games.
“I must admit the network was truly committed to diversity,” Hoyd said. “A lot of my peers were from HBCUs and there were a lot of people who looked like me among the younger generation behind the scenes in broadcast operations.”
However, before graduating, Hoyd met Hall of Fame baseball writer Claire Smith in a chance encounter at Howard. Smith was the first Black female baseball beat writer when she started covering the New York Yankees for the Hartford Courant in 1983. She would later become a baseball writer and columnist for the New York Times, which was unheard of as late as the 1990s.
“Hats off to the ancestors,” Hoyd said. “To sit across and listen to her stories and words of encouragement was amazing. I will always remember her telling me to keep your head down and don’t look up and keep moving forward.
Hoyd has always been unassuming choosing to stay behind the scenes while matriculating at Howard. She found her niche working in the sports information department led by its Hall of Famer former director Ed Hill. With her Emmy in hand Hoyd is looking to break another ceiling in sports, though now on sabbatical while in law school at North Carolina Central University as she works towards becoming a sports executive in the future.
“I don’t want to see it stop here,” Hoyd said. “I’d like to see more people moving in the direction of executive producers and management to really become influencers.”