Editor’s Note: Mendoza next appears on Sunday Night Baseball, Aug. 28, as the Boston Red Sox host the Kansas City Royals on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET.
It’s been 365 days since Jessica Mendoza joined ESPN commentators Dave O’Brien and Dallas Braden to call her first Major League Baseball game: Monday Night Baseball – St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 24, 2015. That opportunity evolved into her becoming the first female MLB national television analyst.
To say that she never looked back is quite the understatement.
Fast-forward to one calendar year later, and the Olympic gold medalist-turned-sports media pioneer is deep into her first full season as a Sunday Night Baseball analyst, alongside Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone and Buster Olney.
Despite the countless milestones, awards, press attention and pinch-yourself moments Mendoza has experienced over a year’s time, she’s not resting on her laurels.
It must be the Olympian in her.
Mendoza reflected on her trailblazing journey and her goals for the year ahead with Front Row:
How would you describe the past year in your life?
Unexpected, but amazing. As much as I wanted to be more involved in baseball, I had no idea it would be at the level it has been. The best part about it has been the consistency of being around the game, the players and the managers every week to ask questions, watch, learn and share it all with viewers every week.
What is the one experience you’ve had that stands out to you the most?
Wow. Everything. I guess if I had to pick one, it would be sitting next to Chris Berman and Aaron Boone to call the 2016 Home Run Derby. It was surreal hearing one of the most famous calls in all of sports live and in person – “Back, back, back, back” and a legend at ESPN – at one of the most famous events in all of sports (especially for someone who absolutely loves hitting!).
To be honest, I felt like it was over too soon and could have sat there all night between Giancarlo Stanton’s meteoric bombs and the unbelievable crowd and scene at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif.
What are your goals for the year ahead?
To keep getting better. This is my first full year covering Major League Baseball and I know there is so much room for me to grow as an analyst, and to hopefully grow this awesome game of baseball as well. The technology and access we get on Sunday Night Baseball is cool, and with the best crew (from our producer, director, iso producer, K-Zone producer, camera guys, audio team, plus Boonie, Buster & Dan) I think we make sure Sunday Night Baseball is a show for all to watch.