With Dan Shulman leaving Sunday Night Baseball for the sake of his personal life and Aaron Boone departing to manage the Yankees, ESPN’s flagship baseball program finds itself in flux. But as of Tuesday, we know one thing about Sunday Night Baseball in 2018: Jessica Mendoza will be back.

ESPN announced Tuesday that Mendoza, who in 2015 became the first woman to call an MLB game for ESPN, will return to the broadcast booth for her third season (and second full season) as a Sunday Night Baseball analyst. Additionally, Buster Olney is onboard for his eighth season as field reporter on the weekly game.

ESPN says “additional commentator announcements” will arrive in the coming weeks, and we can probably infer from the plural language that the network will again use a three-person booth, as it has regularly since 2010.

Mendoza’s return is no surprise, given her experience in the position and the positive reviews she gets in baseball circles (though she does get her share of venom thrown her way from plenty on social media). Still, before Tuesday’s announcement, it seemed at least possible that ESPN would reassign her and start over with a totally new booth.

Now that we know Mendoza will be back on Sunday Night Baseball, it’s slightly easier to speculate on what the broadcast will look like next season. As our Joe Lucia wrote earlier this month, ESPN could tack Mendoza onto an existing two-person booth (such as alongside Jon Sciambi and either Rick Sutcliffe or David Ross) or try something different, maybe with Karl Ravech or Dave Flemming in the play-by-play chair.

Regardless of what ESPN decides, Mendoza will be the grizzled veteran on Sunday Night Baseball less than two years after first getting the gig. ESPN’s choice to keep her around even in a time of transition shows that the network thinks highly of her, and really, why wouldn’t it? Mendoza is enthusiastic, engaging, knowledgeable, and evidently well-prepared. She could very well be a Sunday Night Baseball staple for years to come.

[ESPN]

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • JOhn

    I wonder how many BJs she had to give to get that job.

  • MrBull

    Another season upcoming of watching with volume off!…she flat stinks as an analyst….

  • BobLee Says

    Amid all the “real problems” in this country, “a woman in the booth” just doesn’t make my Top 100 list. I’m fine with her.

    • Walt_Gekko

      And not only that, I would actually bring in Beth Mowins (whom she has worked with on softball for years) and actually have an all-female booth on Sunday Night Baseball (just the two of them). That to me would bring in female viewers whom advertisers covet for an event that usually doesn’t get that audience.

      • noonan18

        I watch a fair bit of softball on ESPN and Mowins is just not that good either. In her attempt to give us constant background of players, coaches etc, she misses many things that are actually going on right in front of her. But then again, that sounds exactly like the current SNB broadcasts in a nutshell, so I guess she would fit right into that role.

      • Shawn Diiorio

        After listening to Mowins do that MNF game, she lost all cred she had in her long career in broadcasting, it set the women’s movement back decades, that’s how horrendous she was that night.

        • Walt_Gekko

          Funny, CBS has had her do a few NFL games this year, the first time a woman has done an NFL game on over-the-air TV since Gayle Sirens did it in 1987.

          • Shawn Diiorio

            Good job reading the articles on this site.

  • george202

    She is just awful. SHe simply does not know when to keep her mouth shut.

  • Grumpy Old Man

    I have suggested this a million times.
    Go back and watch any game she’s ever done.
    Turn off the sound and turn on the “closed caption”.
    If you “read” her instead of “listen” to her, you will find she adds absolutely nothing in terms of insight or analysis,
    She has the job because she is a woman.
    And this hurts all the women who could be excellent announcers / commentators.

    • Shawn Diiorio

      why would you waste time doing such a thing when that could have been deduced by listening to her?

      • Grumpy Old Man

        Hi, Shawn.
        I wrote that for one reason.
        Many people fawn over JM as a true baseball savant.
        They do that because they hear a woman speaking and are stunned she can carry on any kind of baseball conversation. That alone is condescending to her – and other women.

        Sadly, if you take the “voice” away, and pay attention to the “words”, it becomes clear she adds nothing to the telecast.
        And, going forward, the body of work of JM will set women back.

        It sucks women have a higher bar to jump as sports commentators or analysts.
        It sucks worse for women when a Jessica Mendoza is anointed as “The Answer” when she is not.

        • Shawn Diiorio

          You could have just said “her words suck” and it would have saved you like 10 minutes. Stop bringing intelligence to stupid, you waste people time.

  • Dale Moog

    WOW you guys suck she is better than most of the other national guys. Would you rather have McCarver back, or Joe Morgan. How about Buck Martinez, Joe Simpson, David Ross, or Steve Stone all of them are worse than she is.

    • Jason H.

      Why are those the only choices?

      • Dale Moog

        My point was I can think of many worse choices than her. People have blasted her for years because she is a woman. I was showing people they could have much worse choices that have been around for many years longer than she has.

  • Daniel Ormsby

    Jessica did an excellent job of analysis during the postseason alongside Dave Flemming. She doesn’t deserve the hate. ESPN should let her do it solo, because that’s where she thrives. She’s not sure where to come in during 3-person booths, especially when a dominant analyst like Boone is one of them.

    • noonan18

      I agree with this statement. However, I have never liked the 3 person booth. The 2 person booth to me has always worked better.

  • Jason H.

    She’s just ok. I dont see the fascination. She neither adds, nor takes away from the broadcast. She’s inconsequential, other than merely being the lone woman in a national baseball booth.

  • MrBeepo

    All she did was laugh at the asinine comments made by Boone. She brings nothing to the game.

  • Dee Snutz

    All the asshats supporting her here probably gave 5 stars to the Ghostbusters reboot trash as well.

  • nsauser

    She absolutely isn’t needed. Also agreed that this is just an extension of diversity discussions at ESPN. It’s too bad the quality of the “show” suffers from the inclusion of diversity.

  • Bragar

    Not a chance will I watch this crew. espn social justice hire.

  • Christopher Bates

    Why is it always the same five or six mouth-breathers who jump onto ANY item about a female personality to spew their crap?

    • Grumpy Old Man

      Hi, Christopher.
      There is a chance you are correct.
      There is also a chance you are wrong.

      But, when you slam anyone who critiques the competence and performance of a female in any job, you are, in fact, making it harder for women to be judged equally.

      I believe Mendoza is a stand up television commentator, who would want to be critiqued like any other analyst, male or female.
      Why can’t we do the same?

      • Christopher Bates

        Needless to say, there’s no problem with being critical. But look at how many of these posts reference her giving blow jobs, or her tits, or “social justice.” All of those cross the line into misogyny.

        • Grumpy Old Man

          Hi, Christopher.
          You are absolutely correct.
          Comments like those only make it more difficult to critique her work in an objective manner.

  • Tigerblows.com

    ugh