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Mendoza Knows The Audience Will Be Analyzing Her

Jason Barrett

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With a month before spring training begins and two-and-a-half before the season commences, Jessica Mendoza’s rise could seem meteoric. A year ago, she was pushing for more opportunities to do in-game analysis for ESPN. A week ago, she was named to the broadcast team on the network’s flagship baseball property, “Sunday Night Baseball,” on which she will join veteran play-by-play man Dan Shulman and former postseason hero Aaron Boone, who played 12 years in the majors. She is 35, a wife, a mother of two, one of the best hitters in collegiate softball history – and now, whether she wants the label or not, something of a pioneer.

“I realize that anything out of my mouth, people are going to listen a little more,” Mendoza said. “Instead of just, ‘Oh there’s a game on, and it’s background noise,’ it’s, ‘There’s a female talking; I’m really going to analyze what she has to say, every word she says.’

Her colleagues are universal in their assessment. Last season, after a few years of asking for more on her plate as an analyst and working on the wrap-up show “Baseball Tonight,” she moved into the analyst’s chair for the College World Series. By late August, she quietly became the first woman to analyze a nationally televised major league game, working a Monday night matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks. The following Sunday, she filled in for the suspended Curt Schilling in the week’s premier slot.

“You could tell she was a little bit nervous early,” Shulman said.

“I didn’t sleep the night before,” Mendoza said. “I couldn’t eat – which is incredibly unusual for me.”

“She’s sharp in any way you can be sharp,” Shulman said. “Once she got more comfortable and she got a few more reps, you could see her personality really come out, and you can see how hard she works.”

If it continues, it will be pushed at least in part by Mendoza’s craving more information. This offseason, she went to pitching school to learn more about grips and breaks. She attended the winter meetings, went to a scouts’ dinner, asked and absorbed. She enters the season more confident in her ability, but aware of the reality: She’s being watched.

“I know people are going to hear my voice and know it’s different,” Mendoza said. “Even though it’s 2016 and we want to believe it’s not that way, it is. Each game last year carried a ton of pressure that I would put on myself.

“But what’s helped is once the game began, it was just baseball, and not a female broadcasting baseball. I was like, ‘I can do this.’ I just honed in on it, and all the other stuff went away.”

To read the full story visit the Washington Post where this article was originally published

Sports TV News

Jenny Taft Details Security Measures For Female Journalists In Qatar For World Cup

“I just had to go through a special gate in Qatar for ladies only. Somehow, I don’t feel that special about it.”

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Much has been made about the abysmal human rights record of World Cup host Qatar as the Middle East nation sees worldwide attention for one of the first times. FOX Sports reporter Jenny Taft detailed the experience of a female journalist covering the event, and was less than impressed.

“I just had to go through a special gate in Qatar for ladies only,” Taft said. “Somehow, I don’t feel that special about it.”

Taft had received pushback from viewers and media personalities for her coverage during the World Cup opener, and her interview with the organizers of Qatar’s bid to host the event. Many called FOX’s coverage “tone-deaf” and “proppoganda”.

Taft has continued chronically her experience at the World Cup on her TikTok account, with one video mentioning how difficult it was to leave behind her baby for the nearly month-long assignment.

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Sports TV News

Peter Burns Apologizes To Ben Watson After On-Air Joke About Wife

In a tweet, Burns said “the truth is that I crossed the line”, noting that Watson “couldn’t have handled it better with his humor and class”.

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SEC Network host Peter Burns has publicly apologized to analyst Ben Watson and his wife Kirsten for an off-color joke he made during halftime of Saturday’s Florida/Vanderbilt game on the network.

While joking about Watson’s suit being lighter in color than everyone else’s on set, Watson said he didn’t care what the other hosts thought about his suit, just as long as his wife thought he looked nice, and asked her to “send the text” letting him know he looked good. Burns quipped “that’s not the text she sent me” before going to commercials. When the show returned, Burns and Watson were not on set, and the former NFL tight end insinuated the pair had a strong disagreement during the break.

Later that evening, Burns tweeted a picture of the pair with the caption #Friendship, which Watson retweeted saying Burns needed to publicly apologize. He did that Monday evening.

In a tweet, Burns said “the truth is that I crossed the line”, noting that Watson “couldn’t have handled it better with his humor and class”.

An ESPN representative had previously told OutKick the entire situation was a joke, calling it a “performance bit”, adding Watson “100% deserves an Emmy nomination”.

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Sports TV News

Rece Davis: College GameDay Needed Someone Like Pete Thamel for Years

“It’s like because of this podcast and that, people have started to think of us as two guys who might someday star in a buddy movie.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN’s College GameDay has a formula to it that has made the show work for so long. It’s not scripted at all, but it’s organized in a way that gives the show structure.

And sometimes time constraints force producers and the hosts to have to make adjustments on the fly, like eliminating segments or elements within segments.

GameDay host Rece Davis talked about it on Monday’s edition of the College GameDay podcast with ESPN senior college football writer Pete Thamel. Davis praised Thamel for his contributions to the show but acknowledged that often Thamel whose hits on the show end up struck because of time.

“All of us sacrifice some, but you’re one of the ones who take heavy hits in terms of things getting cut,” Davis said. Thamel’s tweets are often featured throughout the show, and Davis makes it a point to recognize Thamel on the air. “That’s why I try to give you a shoutout when I see the tweets pop up on the screen, which are amazing by the way.”

Davis said Thamel’s ability to provide up to the second information on relevant and timely stories in college football has been a welcomed change to the show.

“You’ve brought something to GameDay that GameDay’s desperately needed for years,” he said. “It’s like because of this podcast and that, people have started to think of us as two guys who might someday star in a buddy movie.”

GameDay will be on location this weekend for the showdown between Michigan and Ohio State. This past weekend the show was live from Montana State.

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