Jessica Mendoza’s future is in a broadcast booth. That means she is done with working for the New York Mets, at least for now.
Her role will change at ESPN. Mendoza has been a part of the network’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts since 2015, but in 2020 she will move to weeknights. It will make her the first woman to serve as a solo analyst on a Major League Baseball broadcast. She will also become the first woman to be an analyst for a World Series game on national radio in 2020.
The increased work load lead to Mendoza resigning her post with the New York Mets. The announcement of a new deal with ESPN and the subsequent end of Mendoza’s relationship with the Mets coincidentally comes one day after Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said that he was uncomfortable with broadcasters like Mendoza and TBS’s Pedro Martinez working in advisory roles for teams.
“We have enjoyed our relationship with Jessica and appreciated all her contributions and insight over the past year,” Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen told ESPN. “We are excited for her expanded role at ESPN and fully understand and support her need to fully invest her time in all the new platforms. We have such respect and value her baseball insight and know her impact on the game of baseball is just beginning.”
Jessica Mendoza expressed gratitude for the opportunity to continue with ESPN, but she did express some disappointment at no longer being a part of Sunday Night Baseball.
“Some of the best memories of my career have been with Sunday Night Baseball and I will miss my time with our amazing crew, who have been like family,” she said in a press release. “I’m grateful to ESPN for continuing to commit to me and I can’t wait for the season to get started.”
There has been much speculation about the future of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth since last season. David Cone, who has spent the last several seasons calling Yankees games on the YES Network, has emerged as a possible addition according to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. It is also possible that Jessica Mendoza is not replaced at all, and Sunday Night Baseball will feature the two-man team of Alex Rodriguez and Matt Vasgersian.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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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