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Mendoza Shines During ESPN Game

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Sunday night’s game between the Cubs and Dodgers would have been historic even had Jake Arrieta not thrown a no-hitter and regardless of the circumstances that resulted in Jessica Mendoza being on the air for ESPN alongside Dan Shulman and John Kruk on the network’s signature baseball broadcast.

Simply being in that position, making history as the first woman on that high profile of a production, Mendoza encapsulated the American dream, at a time when the leading candidate for a major political party’s presidential nomination is parading around in a silly hat that says “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” and proposing the erection of a wall to keep out foreigners.

America already is great, which is the reason that people want to come here in the first place. People come to America to find a better life for themselves and better opportunities for future generations of their families.

Mendoza is a second-generation Mexican-American. She has a master’s degree from Stanford, has been president of the Women’s Sports Foundation and wound up making history in a male-dominated profession. No matter what you think of the chain of events that resulted in her being in that booth at Dodger Stadium on Sunday night, the fact she was there should be an inspiration to anyone who loves this country and what it represents.

And for those who say “stick to sports,” well, sports often turns out to be a forum for American culture, going from Jackie Robinson to the Women’s World Cup this summer. So, there absolutely is room in sports to talk both about Schilling’s social media presence and Mendoza popping through a glass ceiling.

As it turned out, Mendoza wasn’t just there. She was excellent. For that matter, so were Shulman and Kruk in calling the no-hitter. It was a broadcast for ESPN to be proud of, all around. If the best advice you can get is “be yourself,” everyone lived up to it. Shulman showed off his play-by-play chops, Kruk thrived making points about the ins and outs of the game without fear of mockery for his sometimes clumsy way of getting to those points and Mendoza expertly broke down inside-the-game elements like pitch sequencing and the science of hitting.

Here she is talking about Dexter Fowler’s single up the middle in the eighth inning: “Fowler just has a good approach. That’s three different pitchers that he’s faced, and all he’s doing is trying to simplify and let this ball get to his back leg. This is something so hard to do as a hitter, because your impatience wants you to get it out in front, but you watch how he lets this ball get back and because of that he’s able to hit it right up the middle. All of his hits tonight coming middle to opposite field.”

Kruk follows up with this: “I think that’s where Dexter Fowler gets in trouble. He gets home run happy, and he tries to pull balls, get out in front of balls and he doesn’t stay back like that. His game to me, even though he has 14 home runs, is get on, create havoc with your legs, hit the ball to all fields.”

This is how a two-analyst setup should work, with the voices complementing each other. In this case, Mendoza has the more cerebral part of the breakdown, while Kruk talks about the mindset required to properly execute those elements of the game. Simply putting a hitter and a pitcher together to “capture both sides of the game” does not get the job done. The voices need to build off of each other, and that is what happened here.

To read the rest of the story visit the Sporting News where it was originally published

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Sunday Night Baseball Viewership Up On ESPN

“Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers.”

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The first month of the 2022 MLB regular season has concluded and ESPN is celebrating an uptick in viewership for Sunday Night Baseball.

The network announced on Tuesday that viewership for Sunday Night Baseball is up 4% compared to this time last year. In addition to that, compared to the 2020 full season average, ratings are up 40%.

Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers. The Dodgers/Cubs game on May 8 averaged 1.781 million and peaked at over 2.1 million viewers during the 8-8:15 p.m. window.

Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and David Cone comprise the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast booth, with Buster Olney contributing reports.

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Nickelodeon Gets Christmas Day NFL Game

“This will be the network’s first regular season game.”

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The NFL’s Christmas triple header will include a little slime this year. The afternoon game between the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos will be simulcast on CBS and Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon has ramped up its NFL presence each year since 2020. The network has aired a kid-friendly broadcast of a Wild Card Round playoff game each of the last two seasons. Last year’s tile between the 49ers and Cowboys drew an audience of 41 million.

Before the start of last season, the studio show NFL Slimetime debuted. This will be the network’s first regular season game.

Kickoff is set for 4:30 pm Eastern on Christmas Day. No details of what Nickelodeon’s coverage may include are available yet. Nate Burleson, Noah Eagle and Nickelodeon star Gabrielle Nevaeh Green have been on the call of the network’s previous NFL broadcasts.

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Kentucky Derby Rebounds With 16 Million Viewers

“The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.”

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The Kentucky Derby has now eclipsed 15 million viewers in each of the last eight years that the event was not effected by the Covid-19 Pandemic. An average audience of 16 million tuned in Saturday to see longshot Rich Strike win the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.

During the weekend, the event kept finding new life on social media. According to an NBC Sports press release, the overhead shot of the final call drew big audiences across a number of the network’s digital platforms, having been viewed in total more than 36 million times.

Peacock also cashed in on the event’s success. The streaming platform posted an average minute audience of over 247,000 viewers during the Kentucky Derby.

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