Mendoza’s Wild Card debut has deeper meaning for female colleagues

ESPN's Jessica Mendoza  (Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)
ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza
(Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)

Tonight, ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza will again make history for women in sports broadcasting. She will become the first female analyst to call a nationally televised post-season game when she joins Dan Shulman, John Kruk and Buster Olney to call the 2015 MLB American League Wild Card Game between Houston and New York (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Mendoza told Front Row: “There are a lot of women, and not only in sports, that work hard to get to that next level and push the envelope or even stereotype to get to where they want to be. For me, I just want to earn it. I want the work I have done this last month to not be about women in baseball, but about people, male or female, being where they deserve to be because they have earned it and are respected by those who matter.”

With it also being Hispanic Heritage Month and Jessica being of Mexican decent, she said it is important for the next generation to continue to be educated on the connections we have with Hispanic people, culture and countries within our own customs, sports and history.

Some of Jessica’s female colleagues commented on what her success has meant to them.

Doris Burke, ESPN basketball commentator: “I am proud that ESPN management is aggressive in identifying the right women and then putting them in a position to succeed. I am proud that she delivered in a big time way in such a big time forum!”

Toni Collins, ESPN anchor: “Jessica is a pioneer in her own right and an even better person. I am so happy for her! She’s an example to follow, a role model.”

Jemele Hill, co-host of ESPN His & Hers: “The first night Jessica was in the booth, I was cheering for her like we were related. It wasn’t a question of her being capable, but she was entering a space where there just haven’t been a lot of opportunities for women. I couldn’t be prouder of her.”

Cassidy Hubbarth, host of ESPN NBA Tonight: “When Jess kicked off her heels to break down a hitting stance during Baseball Tonight; it was as though she was kicking the disbelief that a woman can accurately analyze baseball. That’s exactly what’s she’s doing in the SNB booth. Her authenticity, confidence, depth of knowledge and belief she belongs is the exact reason why she does.”

Beth Mowins, ESPN play-by-play commentator: “Jess proves capable of doing the job every time she calls a game, and proves gender is not a part of the equation. She is a terrific example of what a qualified person can do when given a chance.”

Sarah Spain, espnW writer and reporter: “She knows her stuff, she’s an easy listen, she’s got a great sense of humor and she feels like she’s been a part of the team for years. Men, women, boys and girls everywhere listening can’t help but respect her, and that’s going to open doors for so many others.”

Tara Chozet and Rachel Siegal contributed to this post

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