Talking About The State Of Softball With ESPN’s Michele Smith

Michele Smith has been providing softball commentary for more than 25 years.

Soon after the completion of the Women’s College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City in early June, where the University of Oklahoma defeated Florida State University for the NCAA Division I championship, which was broadcast on ESPN, we caught up with ESPN softball color analyst Michele Smith, a former two-time U.S. Olympic (1996 and 2000) softball gold medalist, for a quick interview on the state of the Women’s College World Series and women’s fast-pitch softball.

Question: How would you compare this year’s Women’s College World Series to previous ones?

Answer: The Women’s College World Series is always an elite event and always has been. It feels bigger these days with the improvements made at the Hall of Fame Stadium [in Oklahoma City] and with the TV coverage. We have ABC “windows” now and just a lot more exposure. ESPN has done an amazing job giving [fast-pitch] softball exposure and amplifying our sport.

Question: How many years have you been a part of the Women’s College World Series broadcast?

Answer: I’ve been broadcasting the WCWS production for more than 20 years. In general, I have been broadcasting softball for over 25 years. It has been an honor to be a part of the sport. I love to help grow it on and off the field.

Question: When you compare women’s fast-pitch softball now to when you played at Oklahoma State University from 1986-1989, what are the biggest changes and improvements?

Answer: TV is absolutely the largest improvement to our game, as well as technology to help grow the athletes and the sport on the field of play.

Question: Where have manufacturers made the biggest improvements in softball gear for women?

Answer: Manufacturers are definitely improving the game by improving the technology — the bat, the ball and all the things that can make a difference to an athlete and help them improve their abilities.

Question: Are you part of any efforts to bring women’s fast-pitch softball to Los Angeles during the 2028 Summer Olympics?

Answer: I’m not, unfortunately. Not sure what will happen with LA 2028.