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Mets hire Jessica Mendoza


The New York Mets have announced that they have hired ESPN broadcaster Jessica Mendoza for a position in their front office. The Mets say that Mendoza will “provide insight to Brodie Van Wagenen and the entire Baseball Operations Department. Her focus will be player evaluation, roster construction, technological advancement and health and performance.” She will continue her work on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

An interesting move. One that, I presume, will cause a lot of blowback because, for whatever reason (i.e. base sexism), men get bent out of shape whenever Mendoza’s name is mentioned. To those people I say “get over it, babies.” Mendoza is qualified for the job. If you doubt that, I’d happily take you on a tour of baseball org charts to show you similarly-situated employees with equal or, in many cases, thinner resumes than hers.

I think there are at least some legitimate questions about conflict of interest, though. I’m not sure how someone can both work for a team in a substantive capacity and be an analyst who expected to be critical of other teams or, in some cases, the Mets themselves. If she sees Jake Arrieta tipping his pitches during a Phillies-Nats series, does she say so on the air or does she hold it back and tell Mets hitters about it for the upcoming series? The latter, right? Why would she help the competition?

Of course, she wouldn’t be the first broadcaster in this situation. Her booth-mate, Alex Rodriguez works for the Yankees. David Ross works for the Cubs. There have been others in the past. While most local broadcasters do not technically work for the team whose games they cover, in all practical ways they really kinda do. I’ve been cranky about that for decades, but I suppose that horse left the barn a long time ago.

ESPN and other networks seem totally cool viewing broadcasters through an entertainment lens as opposed to a journalistic lens and that has been the case for a while. I think that makes for a compromised broadcast and is a disservice to fans, but no one listens to me about this stuff.

MLBPA: MLB’s ‘demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected’

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
LG Patterson/MLB via Getty Images

On Thursday evening, the Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. The two sides continue to hash out details concerning a 2020 season. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games. The union recently proposed a 114-game season that also offered the possibility of salary deferrals.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union held a conference call that included the Executive Board and MLBPA player leaders. They “resoundingly rejected” the league’s “demand for additional concessions.”

The full statement:

In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.

Earlier today we held a conference call of the Association’s Executive Board and several other MLBPA Player leaders. The overwhelming consensus of the Board is that Players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. Thus, fewer games means the players get paid less and the owners save more. MLB has threatened to unilaterally set a 2020 season in motion if the two sides cannot come to terms. It should come as no surprise that the union has responded strongly on both fronts.

There have been varying reports in recent days over the confidence in a 2020 season happening. The MLBPA’s statement tonight doesn’t move the needle any; it simply affirms that the union remains steadfast in its goal to avoid a second significant cut in salaries.

As I see it, the ball is in the owners’ court. The owners can strongarm the players into a short season, saving money but significantly increasing the odds of a big fight in upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable. The latter would have the double benefit of not damaging overall perception of the sport and would not disrupt labor peace going forward.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are “ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions.” If there is no 2020 season, we will have only the owners to blame, not the players.

Update: Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has been quite vocal on social media about these negotiations, chimed in: