Jessica Mendoza: The First Female Baseball Commentator For ESPN

 

By Jake M.

Jessica Mendoza being interviewed on Sports Center.

Entertainment Sports Program Networks Program (ESPN) is an American sports network that is a broadcast provider to 81 percent of American households. It was founded in 1979 as a stand alone network. It is now a part of the Disney umbrella company along with all of it’s sister networks including ABC (also known as the Family of Networks) and its slogan is the Worldwide Leader in Sports. It is a progressive company especially by their history of hiring women. ESPN’s early employment of women included sideline reporting, locker room and commentators of women sports. Over the years the network began assigning women to host television shows on the ESPN networks and later with the inclusion of female commentators for male dominated sports like baseball.

Jessica Mendoza is the epitome of ESPN’s progressive business policy. She is a Stanford graduate where she played college softball and she later went on to win gold in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and a silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games as a member of the US Olympic softball team. She’s one of the top softball athletes of all time along with U of A alum and former Olympian Jennie Finch.

Little League Softball World Series Q@A with Jessica Mendoza and Jennie Finch.

Mrs. Mendoza was a commentator for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) College Softball World Series before beginning her climb up the ladder in her broadcasting career for ESPN back in 2014. She is a co-host of Baseball Tonight an evening sports talk show with Karl Ravech and Tim Kurkjian, and in 2015 earned a permanent position as a co-commentator for Sunday Night Baseball telecast with Aaron Boone and Dan Shulman. Jessica Mendoza also became ESPN’s first female commentator for the World Series.

Sunday Night Baseball. Dan Shulman, Jessica Mendoza, Aaron Boone (from left to right)

I love baseball and I’m extremely excited to see the game being diversified. As a lifelong fan of the Arizona Diamondbacks (D-Backs), I see Jody Jackson host the D-Backs postgame show  on Fox Sports Arizona many times and I got to meet her at a game once when we had tickets right behind the broadcast booth. Jessica Mendoza is the ESPN equivalent to Jody Jackson and it’s pretty cool to see her on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight after spending years watching the show.

Jody Jackson with Todd Walsh during the Christmas holiday

We see women like Jessica Mendoza setting a trend that it’s cool to be a woman in the sports industry which is still very much of a male dominating industry. I think more girls in this country would be less afraid to be interested in sports especially baseball if they knew about Mrs. Mendoza’s incredible example. It’s time to close the gender gap in Baseball.

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