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Mendoza Thrilled To Be Analyzing For ESPN

Jason Barrett

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Jessica Mendoza was a teenager and wondering whether it was cool to play sports when she heard an Olympic softball player speak about her love of the game.

Now she’s heading to the World Series to give updates for “Baseball Tonight” on ESPN, shortly after becoming the first female analyst to call a nationally televised MLB postseason game.

Mendoza listened to shortstop Dot Richardson, who led the U.S. to the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games, and the Olympian’s enthusiasm for the sport “allowed me at a young age to own my passion.”

The 34-year-old Mendoza called the Houston Astros’ 3-0 victory over the New York Yankees in the American League wild-card matchup with John Kruk and Dan Shulmanon Oct. 6. She and Kruk had developed a rapport from working together for two years during the NCAA Women’s College World Series.

“He has zero notes,” Mendoza said of Kruk, who batted .300 in his career with San Diego, Philadelphia and the Chicago White Sox. “Others have pages and pages, he comes in just sees the game and reacts. It’s a good balance, I can come in more with numbers or some background and play off him.”

The Stanford four-time All-American center fielder earned Olympic gold (2004 Athens) and silver (2008 Beijing) medals. Mendoza was among the best hitters, winning batting (.416 average) and home run (50) awards at Stanford and averaging .432 for Team USA.

Mendoza played professional softball and stepped into the announcer’s booth. She got her start with ESPN as a color analyst for the NCAA men’s and women’s College World Series, the Little League World Series and as a sideline reporter for ESPNU.

Mendoza was the first woman to call a MLB game for ESPN in mid-August at the Arizona-St. Louis game. She also announced for “Sunday Night Baseball” when Cubs’ pitcher Jake Arrieta tossed a no-hitter in the 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 30.

Here are more things to know about Mendoza, who has two young sons, 70,000 followers on Twitter and attended the Women’s Sports Foundation dinner on Tuesday night in Manhattan.

 

For her Astros-Yankees postseason debut, Mendoza attended batting practice for several days and took notes on both teams. “To me that’s priceless, when you get into a game and you’ve been able talk to these guys, get an idea where their head is at, what kind of preparation they’re doing versus the pitchers they’re facing.

“I might be at batting practice talking to Alex Rodriguez and he mentions something with a 2-0 count. Then I’ll go look at his stats for the last four years on 2-0 counts or maybe 2-0 counts against lefties if that’s who they’re facing.”

Her scorecard from that game went into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

To read the full article visit the USA Today where it was originally published

 

Sports TV News

Chris Fallica Leaving ESPN for FOX

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Jordan Bondurant

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A prominent sports betting voice featured on ESPN’s College GameDay will be heading to rival FOX and their Big Noon Kickoff show starting in 2023. According to Awful Announcing, Chris Fallica, affectionately known as “The Bear”, will make his last appearance on GameDay will be this weekend.

Fallica has been with ESPN since 1995. Since 2013, Fallica had been featured on GameDay making betting picks with his patented “Bear’s Board”.

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Fallica joins Tom Rinaldi as the second former GameDay voice to jump over to FOX and be featured on Big Noon Kickoff.

Both shows have experienced incredible viewership growth this season. For GameDay, there have been several weeks this season that have seen some of the largest audiences in the show’s history.

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Sports TV News

Tim Brando Believes Executives Look For Familiarity, Not Great Voices For Announcers

“Executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio. As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Tim Brando has seen the broadcasting industry has evolved in a lot of ways through the years, but one thing that’s remained constant is how infrequently some of the announcing gigs with major networks open up to younger voices.

That’s mainly because you have veteran talent already occupying those positions with no plans for the immediate future to step aside.

On a recent edition of The Sports Talkers Podcast, FOX Sports broadcaster and host Tim Brando spoke to Stephen Strom about the reality that many broadcasters face.

“Yeah there are a lot more jobs, but there are fewer great jobs,” Brando said. “A lot of guys are getting jobs, but it’s like a dead end.”

But in terms of hiring younger talent for network jobs, he thinks it’s become more about adding faces to broadcast booths rather than voices.

“There’s a tendency I think now in our business to hire more visible and perhaps more popular talent because they’ve been in the studio,” he said. “But they’re not ready to be in the booth. Not everybody can do both well.”

Tim added that there’s a nuance to calling play-by-play versus working studio coverage. Brando said that perhaps it has a lot more to do with young broadcasters bypassing getting their start in radio and going right into TV.

“It seems to me that in some circles anyway in our business, executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio,” he said. “As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Brando did mention some of the younger voices at FOX who have risen to the bigger opportunities in the booth, and how they ultimately worked their way up. He said he’s had the chance to offer advice to a few of them and act as a mentor in a way, because that’s how it was for him breaking into the industry.

“I believe in pouring into the young broadcasters out there, I really do,” he said. “Because Curt Gowdy poured into me. I think there’s a responsibility and a level of accountability for the generation before to help those that are coming up that you really respect.”

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Sports TV News

MLB Network Airing 38 Hours of Winter Meetings Coverage

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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The annual winter meetings for MLB are set to take place in-person for the first time since 2019 next week, and MLB Network is ready to bring viewers all the coverage possible from San Diego.

The network is devoting 38 hours of live programming on-site, with shows like MLB Tonight, Hot Stove, High Heat, MLB Now and Intentional Talk emanating from the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fans tuning in to MLB Network can expect to see Greg Amsinger, Fran Charles, Brian Kenny, Stephen Nelson, Alanna Rizzo, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Lauren Shehadi and Matt Vasgersian hosting their respective shows throughout the week. Sean Casey, Mark DeRosa, Al Leiter, Cameron Maybin, Kevin Millar, Dan O’Dowd, Steve Phillips and Harold Reynolds will contribute coverage as analysts.

MLB Network will also carry coverage of the inaugural draft lottery from the winter meetings on Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30 p.m.

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