With a month before spring training begins and two-and-a-half before the season commences, Jessica Mendoza’s rise could seem meteoric. A year ago, she was pushing for more opportunities to do in-game analysis for ESPN. A week ago, she was named to the broadcast team on the network’s flagship baseball property, “Sunday Night Baseball,” on which she will join veteran play-by-play man Dan Shulman and former postseason hero Aaron Boone, who played 12 years in the majors. She is 35, a wife, a mother of two, one of the best hitters in collegiate softball history – and now, whether she wants the label or not, something of a pioneer.
“I realize that anything out of my mouth, people are going to listen a little more,” Mendoza said. “Instead of just, ‘Oh there’s a game on, and it’s background noise,’ it’s, ‘There’s a female talking; I’m really going to analyze what she has to say, every word she says.’
Her colleagues are universal in their assessment. Last season, after a few years of asking for more on her plate as an analyst and working on the wrap-up show “Baseball Tonight,” she moved into the analyst’s chair for the College World Series. By late August, she quietly became the first woman to analyze a nationally televised major league game, working a Monday night matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks. The following Sunday, she filled in for the suspended Curt Schilling in the week’s premier slot.
“You could tell she was a little bit nervous early,” Shulman said.
“I didn’t sleep the night before,” Mendoza said. “I couldn’t eat – which is incredibly unusual for me.”
“She’s sharp in any way you can be sharp,” Shulman said. “Once she got more comfortable and she got a few more reps, you could see her personality really come out, and you can see how hard she works.”
If it continues, it will be pushed at least in part by Mendoza’s craving more information. This offseason, she went to pitching school to learn more about grips and breaks. She attended the winter meetings, went to a scouts’ dinner, asked and absorbed. She enters the season more confident in her ability, but aware of the reality: She’s being watched.
“I know people are going to hear my voice and know it’s different,” Mendoza said. “Even though it’s 2016 and we want to believe it’s not that way, it is. Each game last year carried a ton of pressure that I would put on myself.
“But what’s helped is once the game began, it was just baseball, and not a female broadcasting baseball. I was like, ‘I can do this.’ I just honed in on it, and all the other stuff went away.”
To read the full story visit the Washington Post where this article was originally published
Joe Buck: ESPN Is Letting Us Set Tone For Monday Night Football
“It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”
While Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling football games on Monday nights for ESPN instead of Sunday afternoons for FOX this year, fans shouldn’t expect the broadcasts to be that much different, if at all, than what they’ve been used to over the last 20 years.
Buck was recently a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and said that ESPN knows that he and Aikman have to be comfortable in order for Monday Night Football to be a success.
“I know we are in the honeymoon phase. I’m not dumb. That stuff wears off after a while. They are like ‘however you guys have always done a game, that’s the way we want you to do a game whether it’s with regard to meetings vs. conference calls or when you guys show up, how you like the booth set up. However you want it, we are going to do it your way’ and that’s to their credit. It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”
Buck and Aikman are obviously already very familiar with each other. Buck said that it will be important not to take that for granted or second guess what they already know.
“I think the one thing Troy and I have to avoid is trying to be different than we’ve been. They hired us based on what we’ve done and who we are and how we relate to each other and the way we see a game,” said Buck.
Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys
The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.
Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.
But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.
Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.
Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:
Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.
Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”
Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.
The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.
Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.
“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”
Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”
He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.
Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.