The old ballgame

Jessica Mendoza joins “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcast team, will call season opener

Jessica Mendoza at her home in California on March 1, 2016. (Elizabeth Weinberg/The New York Times)

In January, Jessica Mendoza was officially added to ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcast roster, joining Dan Shulman and Aaron Boone on the channel’s marquee MLB broadcast. Mendoza, a 35-year-old former Olympian and softball legend, was a softball analyst for ESPN for seven years before joining Baseball Tonight as a studio analyst in 2014. A little more than two years ago, she asked her ESPN bosses if she could call games and found an advocate in Mike McQuade, who at the time led the network’s baseball coverage. “He said, ‘I want you to be a baseball analyst. Not a softball player doing baseball … You need to be in the booth to be taken seriously.’ He was the first first person who ever told me that,” recalls Mendoza.

On August 24th of last year, Mendoza joined Dave O’Brien and Dallas Braden in the booth for a Diamondbacks-Cardinals game, becoming the first woman to ever fill the role on an ESPN baseball broadcast. Two days later, ESPN suspended Curt Schilling from Sunday Night Baseball and Mendoza was called from the bullpen to fill in. Four days after Schilling’s suspension, she was in the booth when the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter. By October 6, she was covering the American League wild-card game between the Yankees and Astros. Mendoza will be calling the game again this Sunday night, as the Royals and Mets rematch their World Series matchup to open the 2016 season. And this time, her position’s official.

Read the full story at The Boston Globe.

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