Fox Sports opted against airing “Jeopardy” champion Amy Schneider throwing out a first pitch during the network’s coverage of a baseball game from San Francisco this weekend, instead showing footage of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch making a ceremonial toss.
Schneider, an Oakland resident who triumphed in 40 consecutive “Jeopardy” contests and is the show’s greatest female player, took the mound ahead of the Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers game on Saturday.
The unexplained snub took on even greater weight since Schneider, the first transgender woman to qualify for “Jeopardy’s” Tournament of Champions, had appeared Saturday as part of Pride Day at Oracle Park.
Schneider’s toss wasn’t aired by Fox Sports, which carried the game regionally. Instead, the network showed Busch throwing out a first pitch — which he did at Oracle Park on Thursday before the Giants played the Colorado Rockies.
Fox announcers used Busch’s ceremonial toss to remind viewers the network was televising Sunday’s NASCAR race at Sonoma Raceway, just 40 miles north of Oracle Park.
But placement of the Busch footage, without mentioning that it had happened 48 hours earlier, gave viewers the impression that he made the throw on Saturday and not Schneider.
“I wanted to make a correction from what I watched yesterday on the Fox broadcast,” Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper told fans on NBC Sports Bay Area on Sunday. “The broadcast implied that Kurt Busch threw out the first pitch yesterday which was not true.”
“It was Amy Schneider from ‘Jeopardy’ fame who threw out the first pitch on Pride Day yesterday,” Kuiper added. “So I just wanted to make sure she got her due.”
The Dodgers and Giants put aside their ancient rivalry and both donned caps with rainbow colors instead of L.A.’s distinctive white and San Francisco’s orange.
Representatives for Fox Sports on Monday did not immediately return several messages from NBC News seeking a response.
Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of Outsports.com, said he was willing to cut Fox slack for the oversight.
“They showed the (scoreboard and other stadium signage) showing ‘Pride Day’ multiple times when they didn’t have to,” Zeigler said Monday.
Zeigler sympathized with viewers upset by the snub, but said he doesn’t believe there was any ill intent.
“Is this some moment of transphobia? No, that’s not how I read it,” Zeigler said. “It’s certainly unfortunate that it happened and it’s great the announcers the next day talked about it. But I’m not reading this as trying to erase the LGBT community. It’s embarrassing, it’s just stupid.”
Schneider declined comment on the Fox snub on Monday and said she was grateful for the chance to take the Oracle Park mound.
“As a lifelong baseball fan, just getting the chance to walk out on the field, let alone throw out the first pitch, was a dream come true,” she said in a statement released by “Jeopardy.”
“I also want to state for the record that in my practice session I was getting it over the plate about half the time, so that pitch did not represent the best that I can do!”
David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.