NEW YORK – OCTOBER 13: Softball player Jessica Mendoza speaks onstage during the 30th Annual Salute To Women In Sports Awards at The Waldorf=Astoria on October 13, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for the Women?s Sports Foundation)

After ESPN doubled down and suspended polarizing analyst Curt Schilling for the rest of the 2015 MLB season, the next step was little more than a formality.  Former USA softball star and current ESPN analyst Jessica Mendoza filled in for Schilling when he was initially suspended last week and shined in the spotlight.  (Mendoza also got to call a no-hitter thrown by Jake Arrieta on the evening.)  Now Mendoza will get another more sustained run on Sunday Night Baseball as she will join Dan Shulman and John Kruk in the broadcast booth for the remainder of ESPN’s coverage this season.

Mendoza has made history this season in becoming ESPN’s first female analyst for Major League Baseball games and been very impressive as a game analyst.  This decision is a win for ESPN and for baseball fans.  Yes, this is something of a historical marker in the sports broadcasting industry.  And while the circumstances may have been unique, make no mistake about it – Mendoza earned this promotion on merit.  And that may be the biggest sign of progress of all.

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