Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN will make Jess Mendoza an even bigger part of its MLB coverage

Alex Reimer
December 11, 2018 - 1:07 pm

Jess Mendoza’s presence on ESPN is only going to increase. The WorldWide Leader announced Tuesday it has re-signed Mendoza to a multi-year extension to remain on “Sunday Night Baseball.” In addition, Mendoza will make more studio appearances across ESPN’s various platforms.

"Being in New York for 10 days during the World Series and appearing on a bunch of shows, I felt like it was a trial run to have more of a studio presence," Mendoza told the Associated Press. “The more consistently I started to do it, the more I grew to love it. It allows me to push baseball ideas and content in a bunch of different places.”

Mendoza became the first national female baseball analyst when she stepped into the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth in August 2015, filling in for the then-suspended Curt Schilling. Seven months later, Schilling was fired from ESPN for sharing an anti-transgender social media post, giving Mendoza the job full-time.

This season, “Sunday Night Baseball” underwent a complete remake, with Matt Vasgersian slotting in at play-by-play and Alex Rodriguez taking over the color duties alongside Mendoza. Despite the refocused booth, TV ratings continued to dip in 2018.

But it’s hard to blame the announcers for MLB’s national ratings fall more than the product itself. In a possibe move to combat the downward trend, ESPN announced recently "Sunday Night Baseball" will start one hour earlier next season. 

Either way, it's apparent the Vasgersian-Mendoza-Rodriguez team will return for another season. In an interview with over the summer, Vasgersian lauded Mendoza’s insight and work ethic. 

“Jess has this natural journalist's curiosity that takes her to places not many of us are willing to go,” he said. “Example: she'll get a piece of information at the ballpark on Saturday regarding what a starting pitcher may have done in college that helped get him to the next level. She'll think about it for a sec, understand she has a connection to that college coach through somebody, she'll make the calls necessary to connect to that college coach before the game, talk to him about it, and bring it on the air. That’s not uncommon for a good baseball writer to do, but Jess as a game analyst is willing to put in those extra hours and leverage those personal connections to get information that nobody else has.”

Mendoza won a gold medal for the U.S. in softball at the 2004 Summer Olympics. She starting appearing as part of ESPN's MLB coverage in 2014.