ESPN has announced that Jessica Mendoza is now a permanent member of the “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcast team. What’s more, John Kruk is out — he’ll be on “Baseball Tonight” still — and Aaron Boone is in. The play-by-play man remains Dan Shulman.
The Mendoza part is not terribly surprising. She replaced Curt Schilling last year following his suspension over his social media habits and received good reviews. More surprising is Kruk leaving. While he was never a super popular member of the broadcast team, his quality as an analyst seemed to improve after Schilling left. Like, he sort of played to the level of his peers in some respects and just did better when the lame banter he and Schilling engaged in went away.
Still, I understand ESPN’s desire to clean the slate from last year and to take away the notion of the two analysts being junior and senior on the Sunday Night broadcast, as it were. And of course, Boone does a pretty good job as it is and he should be a good addition to ESPN’s flagship baseball show.
The only downside to all of this is that it’s going to bring out the small group of deadenders who are just angry that a woman is calling baseball games. They flared up and embarrassed themselves when Mendoza was first put on the air and they’ll get all angry again now. They’ll claim it isn’t because they hate women in roles men have traditionally filled. They’ll claim that it’s really because Mendoza never played Major League Baseball and somehow is unqualified. Of course they never lodged this complaint at, say, Tom Verducci when he was calling the World Series, but don’t expect intellectual consistency from this bunch.
Congrats to Mendoza and Boone. Condolences to Kruk, but c’est la vie.