Jessica Mendozas Take on Baseball

Jessica Mendoza is ESPN’s baseball broadcaster who broke the glass ceiling in the industry when she became the first woman to be a top colour commentator in any of the premier league men’s sports in America, for a national network. When Mendoza set out to change the world as a young girl at Stanford University, her ideas were more leaning towards running for a political office perhaps or maybe education reform. Years later, she did indeed make a change to the world as we knew it but from a completely different angle.

This is how others often perceive Mendoza’s presence in the baseball broadcasting industry. She mentions that many male commentators still believe in today’s age that she doesn’t belong here. Four years ago when she started in her career announcing major-league games, a radio host of Atlanta decided to give her job a sexist twist with ranting on social media, questioning the validity of her qualifications and asking the question publicly whether a soft ballplayer is a right person to commentate on baseball. She states that initially, the sexist rantings which she had to face on various social media platforms side-lined her. It left her angry and frustrated, and she felt that these people, who don’t even know her, hated her.

Those days are no longer her reality. Over the past four years, Mendoza managed to win over the crowds, at least a large part of it. There will always be haters and those who thrive on giving criticism, but now she is more confident. Her confidence in her knowledge and expertise in the sport, the fact that she is always well-prepared and her conversational style on various game intricacies and little nuggets of information for the viewers, gained her their favour. She states that she also taught herself not to follow Twitter so carefully anymore, and she would give herself more time between the games before looking at what is going on Twitter. After a couple of days, those who really felt very strongly about her work, have cooled down and the reaction isn’t as brutal anymore.

Baseball has been part of her life from a very young age. Being the daughter of the local baseball coach to a community team in Venture County, she was often surrounded by the game and its players. She recalls being around four years old and being around players in her dad’s team, and she would ask them for gum or jerky and sometimes even chewing tobacco. Since she was the coach’s daughter, they would gladly entertain her.

She played softball later on at Stanford where she achieved her master’s degree in education. Then she pursued the position as an outfielder in the US National Team, and they won gold at the 2004 Olympics. It was only a few years later that she decided to venture into television and the rest is a success story that unfolds.