Jessica Mendoza is an American sportscaster who covers MLB on ESPN as an analyst and color commentator. However, her career leading up to her current role is pretty interesting too. Let’s take a look at her life and how she ended up working in MLB.
Mendoza’s early life
Before MLB betting lines were of interest, Jessica Mendoza herself was a great athlete. She graduated from Adolfo Camarillo High School in California and gained a number of titles and awards while there. She was named the 1998 Player of the Year by the Los Angeles Times and was the school’s Female Athlete of the Year in both her junior year and her senior year. She also played high school basketball and was the MVP in the school’s basketball team in both junior and senior years.
Off to Stanford
When Mendoza went to Stanford University, she played for the Stanford Cardinal college softball team. She was a 1999 All-Pac-10 Conference and First Team All-American honoree. She broke records for runs batted in (RBIs) and season batting average.
Mendoza’s career high for a single game came in 1999 when her team defeated Illinois State. She made four hits and was subsequently named Association Player of the Week.
In her sophomore season, she was in the first teams but also became conference Player of the Year. She even broke a record she’d set herself for batting average. It was .474 and was top of the NCAA. There were also records broken for stolen bases, slugging, doubles, home runs and hits. She still has one of the best seasons at Stanford to date.
She continued to be successful at Stanford and ranks seventh in the all-time NCAA for her career doubles.
At the Olympic games in Athens in 2004, Mendoza was a Team USA starting outfielder. She had two RBIs, two hits and a triple against Italy, and then got a double against Greece five days later.
She played for Team USA again at the Beijing Olympic games and helped her team secure the silver medal.
Other accomplishments include being a gold medalist at the Pan American Games, and a silver medal at the Japan Cup and the World Cup.
She was also named the Female Athlete of the Year for USA Softball.
Her career as a broadcaster
After her successful career in softball, Mendoza began working as a broadcaster. She was a Sunday Night Baseball color analyst and also an analyst for the Women’s College World Series. She has also been an ESPN sideline reporter for coverage of college football.
On August 24, 2015, Mendoza became the first female commentator in ESPN history for a Major League Baseball game. This was a game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the St. Louis Cardinals. She also then filled in for Curt Schilling, who was a suspended color commentator for the Sunday Night Baseball Cubs-Dodgers game. She became the first female commentator in TV history for the MLB postseason on October 6 the same year.
2016 saw Mendoza join the Sunday Night Baseball broadcasting team full time, alongside Aaron Boone and Dan Shulman.
In October 2020, Jessica Mendoza became the first female World Series analyst to appear on ESPN’s radio platform. She was also part of the broadcasting team during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for NBC.
In 2022, she also became the first female analyst on a Dodgers broadcast. Jessica talked about her experiences in a Forbes interview.
Jessica Mendoza: her personal life
Besides her career in sport and commentating on sport, Mendoza is married and has two sons. She is a second-generation Mexican American. She is also a Women’s Sports Foundation trustee, a Team Darfur athletic ambassador and a National Education Association board member.
She described herself in an LA Times interview as “nerdy” and also referred to her fellow Dodgers broadcaster Joe Davis in the same way.
Final thoughts: battling the sexism
Despite her great success, Mendoza has also had to battle sexism due to her role. When she became an analyst, she had to avoid Twitter (now X) other than to check on baseball news. She won’t read anything written about her because of sexist comments. Some of the comments she has endured include a 2015 Tweet by Mike Bell, who said ‘Really? A women’s softball slugger as guest analyst on MLB Wildcard Game? Once again ESPN too frigging cute for their own good.’ There were other comments about belonging in the kitchen, too.
Years after these first comments, Mendoza is still hated by some – simply for being a female commentator and analyst. She has even had death threats and condoms sent to her in the mail.