Jessica Mendoza will have more of a presence on various ESPN platforms starting next baseball season.
Mendoza signed a multiyear extension with ESPN to remain part of the “Sunday Night Baseball” announcer’s booth and make more studio appearances.
In 2015, Mendoza became the first female analyst for a nationally televised MLB game. She did her first Sunday night game on Aug. 30, 2015.
“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 said in a phone interview with 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, who has been with the network since 2007, has already been a fixture on “Baseball Tonight” for many seasons but the new agreement means she will appear more regularly on “SportsCenter” and “Get Up!”
Mendoza’s main assignment will remain “Sunday Night Baseball.” This will be her fourth full season but only her second working alongside Alex Rodriguez, Matt Vasgersian and Buster Olney. Mendoza said she quickly found a rapport with her boothmates. The Sunday night games will begin an hour earlier next season, at 7 p.m. Eastern.
“We do so many East Coast games that you worry about what time they are ending. Plus we had a lot of extra-inning games last season,” she said. “The best part of games are during late innings, and hopefully this allows more people to tune in.”
Mark Gross, ESPN’s senior vice president for production and remote events, lauded Mendoza’s work ethic and preparation as well as the relationships she’s formed with baseball executives, managers and players.
Mendoza, who will be inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame next year, will continue as a lead analyst during ESPN’s coverage of the Women’s College World Series. She was a four-time first-team All-American at Stanford and won gold (2004) and silver (2008) medals for the U.S. at the Olympics.
“It’s just exciting to know this is going to keep going,” she said. “I still feel like I am a rookie and learning. I get to continue with that growth.”