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Jessica Mendoza Called Out For Conflict Of Interest

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When ESPN analyst Jessica Mendoza was hired by the New York Mets as an operations adviser last season, many people around the game raised an eyebrow at the feasibility of holding both positions. Receiving league-wide access as a baseball analyst for ESPN, while also having the ability to report to the Mets, seemed like an obvious conflict of interest.

In the last few months, one of Major League Baseball’s worst cheating scandals was uncovered, in large part due to a willingness by pitcher Mike Fiers to reveal the Houston Astros sign-stealing scheme. An active player stepping forward to expose the scandal, was an unprecedented move that has been lauded by many for leveling the playing field. 

Thursday morning, Mendoza made it clear she disagreed with what Fiers did. “To go public with it and call them out and start all of this, it’s hard to swallow,” Mendoza said while appearing as an ESPN analyst on their morning radio show Golic and Wingo.

Later appearing on ESPN’s First Take, Mendoza doubled down on her Fiers take, stating he “ratted everyone out,”” again expressing concern for his decision to make the scandal public. 

At the same time, the Mets were mulling how to handle their recently hired manager Carlos Beltran, who was found to have played a “key role” in the Astros sign-stealing scandal. Mendoza is entitled to her opinion, but attempting to shame Fiers while the MLB organization she works for is in flux, caused questions about her perspective. 

Mendoza then took to Twitter to clarify her criticism of Fiers. But the clarification can also be viewed as a backtrack,as she credited Fiers for stepping forward. The ESPN and Mets employee also stated she believes Fiers should have alerted Major League Baseball, not a reporter about the Astros’ cheating scheme.

“In regards to the Mets, I want to make it extra clear that my advisor role with the team does not shape my opinion in any way, shape or form on this matter,” Mendoza added. “I feel this way regardless of what, teams, players or managers are involved.”

During a conference call to discuss the decision to part ways with Carlos Beltran, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen was asked about Mendoza’s comments on ESPN.

“Jessica was speaking as an ESPN analyst, not as a spokesperson for the Mets,” Van Wagenen said. “I have not had the opportunity to speak with her yet.”

Mendoza’s opinions on Fiers’ decision to make the scandal public are valid. But talking about it as an ESPN employee, while her other employer the New York Mets became inadvertently involved in the scandal, exemplified the concerns about Mendoza working for both entities. 

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here

Sports TV News

TNT Adds Don Koharski As NHL Rules Analyst

“Having a rules expert ready to break down the minutiae of the game figures to be a big boost for games on TNT.”

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Courtesy: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Fox has Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino, ESPN has John Parry, now, Turner is adding its own rules expert for its upcoming NHL coverage.

The network is bringing in Don Koharski to help analyze the game from a referee’s perspective starting with their first preseason broadcast on Sept. 30.

Koharski boasts three decades of NHL refereeing experience from 1977 to 2009. His resumé includes 1,882 regular-season games, 262 playoff games, and 11 Stanley Cup Finals. An intriguing move by Turner to nail down a rules and refereeing expert before the start of their NHL coverage.

The league and its new broadcast partners, ESPN and Turner, want to retain all of the hockey die-hards as they transition from NBC Sports, while also bringing new fans in along the way. Having a rules expert ready to break down the minutiae of the game figures to be a big boost for games on TNT.

Koharski discussed his career following his retirement from the game in 2009 and had glowing thoughts to unveil about one of his new Turner teammates.

“Guys [like Wayne Gretzky] in the ’80s were getting hooked, held, grabbed, tackled, and were still able to do what they did so well,” Koharski said to Metro. “Nowadays, there is no more tackling or hooking or holding. It’s dramatically different.”

Gretzky signed a deal with Turner to be an NHL studio analyst. He joins Liam McHugh, 10-year NHL veteran Anson Carter, three-time Stanley Cup Champion Rick Tocchet, plus, Barstool Sports’ personality and former AHL & NHL veteran Paul Bissonnette.

“Wayne Gretzky was a freak in our sport,” Koharski said. “Everybody else was a superstar.”

Koharski got started in hockey refereeing as a hobby in the 1970s at Shannon Park Arena in Halifax, Nova Scotia. That spark of interest has led him on quite a journey in the 40 years since.

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Sports TV News

Pedro Martinez: Umps ‘Don’t Know S***’

“D-Backs pitcher Luke Weaver had the bases loaded, and his delivery wasn’t sitting right with Martinez or fellow analyst Harold Reynolds.”

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Courtesy: The Rich Eisen Show

Pedro Martinez pitched with a flare at the MLB level, and he’s brought that flare, for better or worse, to his MLB Network analyst role. Martinez and the rest of the MLB Tonight crew did a live look-in during the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks game on Tuesday night when Martinez couldn’t hold back his frustration with the umpire.

D-Backs pitcher Luke Weaver had the bases loaded, and his delivery wasn’t sitting right with Martinez or fellow analyst Harold Reynolds. The pair thought Weaver was committing uncalled balks. A balk is when a player refuses to pause their pitching motion after they set up on the mound. Every runner advances one base when an umpire calls a balk.

Ramirez and Reynolds were about ready to jump through the monitor and officiate the contest themselves.

“That’s gotta be a balk!” Reynolds excitingly said.

Martinez responded, “But the umpire does not understand the kind of movement he’s making.”

“So, we meet with umpires before the season starts,” said host Greg Amsinger. “And they talk to all the broadcasters. We bring this up every year, and what we hear from the umpiring side of the argument is, as long as the motion is consistent for that pitcher – he doesn’t alter it – if it’s consistent with base runners on, then it’s not a balk.”

Reynolds retorted, “He is consistently balking.”

“He’s never been called for a balk in his career,” replied Amsinger.

“Well, the umpires don’t know sh*t about what they’re doing,” Martinez declared, inciting laughter.

“I think we’re on a delay,” said Amsinger.

The broadcast was not on any type of delay.

“Pedro, four minutes in?”

“I’m sorry, I apologize about that. What can I say?”

“Nothing, nothing else,” Reynolds responded. “This is gonna be good. We’re only on for three more hours.”

Watch a clip of the hot mic exchange above.

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Sports TV News

Dave McMenamin Gets New Deal At ESPN

“McMenamin first started at ESPN in 2009, where he was the Lakers beat writer during their championship runs with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.”

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Courtesy: ESPN PR

ESPN has signed NBA reporter Dave McMenamin to a new multi-year extension. McMenamin is currently focusing his coverage on the Los Angeles Lakers for the second time in his ESPN career.

The Syracuse grad began working in media at NBA.com in 2005.

McMenamin first started at ESPN in 2009, where he was the Lakers beat writer during their championship runs with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. The reporter lived through those ups and the subsequent downs in La La Land before leaving the Laker beat to cover LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers when the superstar returned home in 2014.

McMenamin was there every step of the way as the 2016 NBA Champion Cavaliers brought Cleveland its first team sports title in 50 years. The scribe even expanded his coverage to a full book. McMenamin and his Cleveland colleague, Brian Windhorst, co-wrote Return of the King: LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Greatest Comeback in NBA History.

The book appeared on the New York Times bestseller’s list upon its release and cemented McMenamin as a trusted go-to voice for all things LeBron James. McMenamin returned to his Lakers coverage nearly ten years after his first day on ESPN when James announced he was leaving Cleveland to play in Tinseltown.

McMenamin is no stranger to post-ups and free throws himself, having played basketball at the University of Limerick in Ireland before attending Syracuse. It’s truly full circle with this Lakers roster and McMenamin.

The odds-on favorites to win the Western Conference have the oldest average age of any NBA team in the league. A certain 37-year old forward isn’t bringing that mark down. The Lakers added Carmelo Anthony to their squad this season, 18 years after Anthony led Syracuse to a national title. Syracuse student manager Dave McMenamin watched Anthony, and his teammates celebrate that accomplishment from the bench.

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