EDITOR’S NOTE: Today, Front Row continues its “Team Player” series where ESPN commentators honor some of the company’s terrific behind-the-scenes employees who make invaluable contributions to ESPN’s success each and every day.
Jessica Mendoza’s journey at ESPN has been well-documented.
The Olympic gold medalist-turned-first regular female Major League Baseball TV analyst continues to blaze trails and break barriers in her second season on Sunday Night Baseball.
Mendoza, the cross-category record-holder for Stanford softball, certainly knows the importance and significance of teamwork.
As our “Team Player” series continues, Mendoza tips her cap to ESPN production coordinator Kelly Carey. Carey has been with ESPN for nearly 10 years. For three years, she has worked on the company’s Major League Baseball property.
As Carey told Front Row: “My job is to make sure that everyone knows where they need to be, gets where they need to be, and that everyone has everything they need to ensure they can do their jobs without worrying about any of the little details.”
What makes Kelly successful in her role?
Kelly gets the craziness of this business. From week to week, there is always a question that comes up, a situation I have never been in, and Kelly is that go-to person to help navigate through anything.
How does this person help you do your job to the best of your ability?
No judgment. I can be myself, which allows me to feel confident to be that same person on air. There are so many things that need to go right for every Baseball Tonight or Sunday Night Baseball telecast, and when you know someone has your back, you can smile more, and focus on the players and content.
Could you describe a specific instance when Kelly went above and beyond to help you?
It was something so simple. I was at my first Baseball Winter Meetings before my first full season of Sunday Night Baseball last year. I knew no one. I flew in on my own just to meet managers, general managers as many baseball people as possible so that they could be familiar with me for the season. Kelly was there, and we grabbed a bite to eat, and I was able to ask her every question I had about the season, what to expect, who to call, how to set up travel, makeup and get an earpiece. You name it, and she just sat there over some chicken wings and garlic fries with a sweet non-judging smile and answered every one of them. It was so cool to know I had someone going into the season that was legitimately there to help the team be better. Made me just take a deep breath and relax, and get pumped for the season ahead.
— Ben Cafardo (@Ben_ESPN) October 29, 2016