Mike North: “I’ve got to tell you something folks. You know, I’ve been called every name in the book doing this job since the early 90s. Good names, bad names, and everything in between. I’ve been called everything from a pillar in the community to a guy who’s the best who did it in Chicago’s history to a racist and a sexist. I’m going to just tell you right now what everybody else doesn’t want to say, except maybe the regular fan who you see on social media: Jessica Mendoza is the worst baseball announcer who has ever announced the game of baseball. Now, if you want to call me a sexist, go ahead. But I’m an observer, and I’ve been observing and listening to baseball announcers for 20, 30, 40, 50 years. And I’ll tell you right now I don’t care if you’re Cassidy Hubbarth, I love Cassidy, Christine Brennan, Michelle Beadle, these are all people I respect, Ann Meyers, Cheryl Miller. You want me to go on? Pam Oliver. Because apparently I have to tell everybody nowadays - because of the PC crowd - the females I like before I can criticize one. If Jessica Mendoza continues on I believe someday they’re going to have to replace her, unless the rating are okay, but I don’t care. What I do now is I shut the sound down to watch that game; she’s just not a good announcer. If she was a man, she’d be (fired like) Tony Kornheiser or Dennis Miller. OK? And that’s the God honest truth about it. Period. End of Story. I listened for an inning last night, and I had to shut it off.”
ESPN announced Wednesday that the 35-year-old Mendoza is now a permanent fixture in the Sunday prime-time booth. She’ll join another new analyst, Aaron Boone, alongside returning play-by-play voice Dan Shulman.
They replace Curt Schilling, who moves to Monday, and John Kruk, who returns to “Baseball Tonight.”
“It’s just crazy when I look back, and literally less than six months ago I had no idea what was going to happen after the Monday night games,” Mendoza says.
Just like that, she’s the most prominent woman calling national games for a major men’s sport — one of the few in the booth, not limited to sideline reporter. It’s an ascension that seems to have happened blindingly fast, and yet it was also a slow and steady climb.
An Olympic gold medalist and the sport’s premier hitter, Mendoza found herself needing a new career when softball was dropped from the Summer Games. The Stanford alum joined ESPN in 2007 and didn’t give much thought to calling baseball until the following year, when Kruk took part in Women’s College World Series coverage.