Jessica Mendoza

From BR Bullpen

Jessica Ofelia Mendoza

Biographical Information[edit]

Jessica Mendoza was the first woman to broadcast a nationally televized major league baseball game.

Mendoza was a star women's softball player at Stanford University, also playing for the United States women national softball team. She was a member of the team that won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics and silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the last time softball was an Olympic sport. She then played professionally for a time.

After retiring as a player, she joined ESPN as a softball broadcaster, and in 2014, was added to the cast of Baseball Tonight. The following year, she was a broadcaster at the 2015 College World Series and on August 24th, she was the first woman to work in the broadcast booth for a baseball game shown by the network. A few days later, she filled in for the suspended Curt Schilling when Jake Arrieta pitched a no-hitter on a Sunday Night Baseball telecast on August 30th. She continued to fill in for him for the remainder of the season. While some women had worked as television and radio broadcasters on local programs previously, most notably Suzyn Waldman with the New York Yankees, she was the first to get such a prominent assignment. She was then assigned to work the nationally televized 2015 American League Wild Card Game on October 6th, working alongside John Kruk and Dan Shulman, breaking some more new ground.

In 2016, ESPN gave her a full-time assignment to work alongside Shulman and former player Aaron Boone on the network's Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts. In 2018, both Shulman and Boone left the show - Shulman to spend more time in his hometown of Toronto, ON and Boone to take over as manager of the New York Yankees, so Jessica was the sole holdover (with on-field reporter Buster Olney) to work alongside newcomers Matt Vasgersian and Alex Rodriguez. The season having gone well, she was signed for a multi-year extension the following December. In March 2019, it was announced that in addition to her duties with ESPN, she would also work as a special adviser to New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen, focusing on player evaluation and roster construction. Her broadcasting partner Alex Rodriguez already held a similar role, but with the New York Yankees. On August 11th that year, she had to miss a Sunday-night broadcast after being involved in a serious car accident two days before: her vehicle was rear-ended on the freeway two days before, and while she escaped serious injury, she needed to take the time off to collect herself. She actually made the trip to San Francisco, CA, but had to rest as she was dealing with the after-effects of a concussion. She returned to work a week later.

She gave up her role as an advisor with the Mets before the 2020 season in order to take an expanded role with ESPN, moving out of her role as an analyst on the flagship Sunday night program in order to be calling more weekday games. There had also been some criticism that her role with the Mets put her in situations of real or potential conflicts of interest. For example, as a reporter, she had publicly criticized P Mike Fiers for his role on blowing the lid open on the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal after the 2019 season, while at the same time the Mets were wresting with the issue of what to do with manager Carlos Beltran, who had been implicated in the scandal.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Doug Miller: "Mendoza makes TV history in AL Wild Card: ESPN analyst becomes 1st woman to broadcast nationally televised postseason game",, October 6, 2015. [1]
  • Kevin Fountain: "Q&A: Six innings with Jessica Mendoza: The broadcaster and softball legend dishes on coaching, parenting and getting involved in youth sports",, February 26, 2018. [2]

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