Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Jessica Mendoza has resigned as an advisor to the New York Mets and will no longer be on Sunday Night Baseball for ESPN. He reports that Mendoza will remain on ESPN, doing weekday games, “among other things.”
Just after Marchand’s reports, ESPN released a statement saying that they have given Mendoza a contract extension, and casts this not as her being removed from Sunday Night Baseball but as her being the “First Woman to Serve as Solo Analyst for National Package of MLB Game Telecasts,” which is what she will be working on Monday or Wednesday or whatever since ESPN uses two-person booths for those games. It’s certainly not an untrue statement, but that’s an odd way to cast what is, without question, a demotion.
The Mets are likewise casting this in a unique way:
— Brodie Van Wagenen (@GMBVW) February 7, 2020
Mendoza recently made headlines for criticizing pitcher Mike Fiers, a former Astro who provided details to The Athletic about the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme. This raised eyebrows given that Mendoza also serves as an advisor for the Mets, who were tangentially caught up in the sign-stealing scandal until firing manager Carlos Beltrán. Mendoza drew additional criticism last season due to a potential conflict of interest given her new role with the Mets and her role as a national baseball analyst. The Dodgers, for example, limited Mendoza’s access while covering the team last year for that reason. Marchand’s report last month stressed, however, that ESPN had been considering removing Mendoza from her Sunday Night Baseball role long before any of that.
Either way, the future of Sunday Night Baseball — the game’s signature weekly broadcast, for better or for worse — is in question. Alex Rodriguez is still around, obviously, but there have been rumors that ESPN might replace current play-by-play guy Matt Vasgersian. I suppose we’ll know what happens soon enough.