Sports TV News
Mendoza Thrilled To Be Analyzing For ESPN
Jessica Mendoza was a teenager and wondering whether it was cool to play sports when she heard an Olympic softball player speak about her love of the game.
Now she’s heading to the World Series to give updates for “Baseball Tonight” on ESPN, shortly after becoming the first female analyst to call a nationally televised MLB postseason game.
Mendoza listened to shortstop Dot Richardson, who led the U.S. to the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games, and the Olympian’s enthusiasm for the sport “allowed me at a young age to own my passion.”
The 34-year-old Mendoza called the Houston Astros’ 3-0 victory over the New York Yankees in the American League wild-card matchup with John Kruk and Dan Shulmanon Oct. 6. She and Kruk had developed a rapport from working together for two years during the NCAA Women’s College World Series.
“He has zero notes,” Mendoza said of Kruk, who batted .300 in his career with San Diego, Philadelphia and the Chicago White Sox. “Others have pages and pages, he comes in just sees the game and reacts. It’s a good balance, I can come in more with numbers or some background and play off him.”
The Stanford four-time All-American center fielder earned Olympic gold (2004 Athens) and silver (2008 Beijing) medals. Mendoza was among the best hitters, winning batting (.416 average) and home run (50) awards at Stanford and averaging .432 for Team USA.
Mendoza played professional softball and stepped into the announcer’s booth. She got her start with ESPN as a color analyst for the NCAA men’s and women’s College World Series, the Little League World Series and as a sideline reporter for ESPNU.
Mendoza was the first woman to call a MLB game for ESPN in mid-August at the Arizona-St. Louis game. She also announced for “Sunday Night Baseball” when Cubs’ pitcher Jake Arrieta tossed a no-hitter in the 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 30.
Here are more things to know about Mendoza, who has two young sons, 70,000 followers on Twitter and attended the Women’s Sports Foundation dinner on Tuesday night in Manhattan.
For her Astros-Yankees postseason debut, Mendoza attended batting practice for several days and took notes on both teams. “To me that’s priceless, when you get into a game and you’ve been able talk to these guys, get an idea where their head is at, what kind of preparation they’re doing versus the pitchers they’re facing.
“I might be at batting practice talking to Alex Rodriguez and he mentions something with a 2-0 count. Then I’ll go look at his stats for the last four years on 2-0 counts or maybe 2-0 counts against lefties if that’s who they’re facing.”
Her scorecard from that game went into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
To read the full article visit the USA Today where it was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports TV News
Joe Davis: I Do Not Let Myself Feel Pressure of Following Joe Buck
“I would have been too in my own head thinking about who I was following.”
There are not many people in the sports media industry who get the opportunity to take the broadcast seat of one great voice, let alone two. Joe Davis has that distinction. Not only is he the lead voice for MLB on FOX (taking over for Joe Buck), but he’s also the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers (taking over for the late, great Vin Scully). For some, the moment of being that person can bring a lot of pressure, but not for Davis.
Davis was a guest on the New York, New York with John Jastremski podcast before the Yankees-Dodgers series over the weekend and he told Jastremski about being the voice of the Dodgers that he looked at it as more of a responsibility to follow Scully rather than thinking about how he was going to replace him.
“For me, part of what made the job special, part of why I wanted it, the main reason was I wanted it. I didn’t want to look at it as oh my god, I’ve got to replace Vin. I looked at it as how cool of an opportunity, of an responsibility to be the guy who gets that chance to follow the greatest ever.”
As for taking over for Buck, Davis mentioned he grew up watching him and that’s what made sitting in that chair a big moment for him.
“I tried to channel that positively and that was how cool this is instead of ‘oh crap, how about this pressure I’m going to deal with’. I think it is easy to fall into one of those traps and I think that had I done that, I wouldn’t have been able to do my job right and I wouldn’t have been able to bring joy to people by hopefully having fun doing the game. I would have been too in my own head thinking about who I was following.”
Like every MLB announcer this year, Davis has been able to call games with the pitch clock. For him, it has been a very good thing.
“Best way I can put it is I no longer have to remind myself that I love baseball. There would be times before the pitch clock where those games would just drag to the point where it’s like okay, you love this sport, remember that. I don’t have to remind myself anymore. It’s so much fun every single night because it moves so quickly. I don’t have anywhere to go, it’s not like I need to leave the park. It’s more about what happens while you are there. It’s just an edgier seat, snap of the finger, move forward process.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Sports TV News
Mike Breen: ‘Bang’ Will Never Top Marv Albert’s ‘Yes!’
“I love the game so much and if it adds to an excitement of a moment, then I did my job.”
Mike Breen doesn’t like to be thought of as the “voice of the NBA.” Unfortunately for him, a moniker like that comes along with calling nearly two decades’ worth of NBA Finals.
His signature call, “BANG!” is well-known by fans and players across the league. For someone that doesn’t like being called the voice of the league, you can imagine how he reacted when Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy asked if “BANG!” had supplanted Marv Albert’s legendary “YES!”.
“No, I can’t say that,” Breen answered. “As somebody who looked up to Marv and worshiped the way he called the game, and the influence he had. He’ll always, for me, be the voice of the NBA.”
Mike Breen says all he needs is to know that the players and fans enjoy the catchphrase. He is going to make sure that doesn’t change.
“I love the game so much and if it adds to an excitement of a moment, then I did my job. Because that’s the whole idea – to enhance the moment. I try not to use it too much. I never want to overdo it because then it gets tired.”
Players have responded to Breen’s catchphrase in a variety of ways. He says Jamal Murray has made a habit of hollering it back to him when the Nuggets guard sinks a three-pointer. Steph Curry even named his new signature shoe after the iconic phrase.
Sports TV News
Albert Pujols To Join MLB Network
“I’ve been a huge fan since the very beginning and can’t wait to get started.”
After making his broadcast debut Sunday afternoon on Peacock, Albert Pujols will be continuing his broadcast career with MLB Network, the league announced Monday. Pujols was named as a special assistant to Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr., a role in which he will consult the league on topics including player and international relations, and will also help grow the game. Part of Pujols’ new job will be appearing on MLB Network, where he will make his debut Tuesday morning on MLB Central and Wednesday on MLB Tonight.
“Beyond his long list of accomplishments on the field, Albert is a highly respected figure who represents the game extraordinarily well,” Manfred said in a statement. “He cares greatly about making a difference in our communities. We are excited for Albert to join other former players who are doing important work for our sport, and we will welcome his perspective across our efforts.”
Pujols retired from the game of baseball at the conclusion of last season after a storied 22-year career, culminating in hitting his 700th career home run and doing so as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. He is ninth on the all-time hits list (3,384) and finished fourth on the all-time home run list (703). Additionally, Pujols was selected as a Major League Baseball All-Star 11 times throughout his career, which included two stints with the Cardinals, 10 years with the Los Angeles Angels and a season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Pujols was the 2008 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award for demonstrating excellence on and off the field, and also won the 2022 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award from ESPN for his charitable endeavors. He also played on the Dominican Republic’s national team during the first World Baseball Classic in 2006, and previously stated that he believed he would one day move into a coaching role.
As part of his new role on MLB Network, Pujols will be traveling to contribute to coverage for the Major League Baseball London Series – a matchup between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals – on Friday, June 23. Pujols is the latest player to join Major League Baseball, as the league employs Cal Ripken Jr., Ken Griffey Jr., Joe Torre and CC Sabathia among other former stars.
“I couldn’t be more excited for this next chapter of my career,” Pujols said in a statement. “Commissioner Manfred and I share the same passion for growing the game in the Dominican Republic and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to join the MLB Network family. I’ve been a huge fan since the very beginning and can’t wait to get started.”