Jessica Mendoza makes history, takes criticism with a smile

Mendoza doesn’t let barriers stand in her way

It wasn’t just one man who criticized the history making moment when two-time softball Olympic Gold medalist and four-time, first-team All-American at Stanford, Jessica Mendoza, made history by stepping into the broadcast both Tuesday night prior to the American League wild card game between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros. As she did so she became the first woman to ever work as an analyst for ESPN during an MLB postseason game.

John Kruk, Jessica Mendoza & Dan Schulman. Getty Images.

It was not the first time she made history either. She also did so back in September when she took over for the suspended Curt Schilling on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

People may not like change on the whole, but there is always going to be change. We now have an African American President and females running for the office, there was once a time when women were not allowed to vote.

People, and when I say people I mean a good percentage of the male world, began berating Mendoza online via Twitter before she had even said her first few words on the air.

These men need to learn to accept change, as well as learn that women are just as capable as learning about and playing sports as they are. A revolution has begun as barriers are being broken all over professional sports.

The MLB, NBA and NFL have now all let females moves into the coaching sphere, there are also women sportswriters, women public address announcers at stadiums, women sports talk show hosts.

Since before women even fought for the right to vote they’ve always broken through the “no girls allowed” signs. Certain archaic men can’t seem to grasp the inevitable change that is occurring. These types of people need learn to accept that women will not stop striving for and ultimately accomplishing their goals simply because they are harassed or made fun of, that they will continue to be hired and break down the male-dominated world of professional sports.

There were likely thousands, if not millions, of derogatory Tweets about Mendoza but one man, a DJ from Atlanta named Mike Bell, made headlines for going above and beyond what most people would call inappropriate. Even though he later deleted this first one of his many, many Tweets regarding Mendoza, it was luckily preserved by @BoiledSports,

There were many other Tweets that Mike Bell, like many others, didn’t delete. I could sit here and post then all day there were so many on the web. To summarize, I’ll quote just a couple – Travis Henline (@TravisTakes4) tweeted, “No one wants to hear a woman in the booth..i will not listen or watch those games she is on” and Rick Mendoza (@rmendoza61) had this to say, “Certain places men and women don’t belong! Don’t believe when a woman is talking baseball to me ESPN booth! Killed it for me! Sorry!”

Let’s just say that those were some of the kinder tweets regarding Mendoza. Although there were not quite as many, some of the more enlightened men and supportive women sent encouraging tweets to Mendoza. Amos Magliocco was one of the men who found Mendoza to be engaging and knowledgeable.

Despite all the hate, she has ultimately gotten good reviews for expertly breaking down inside-the-game elements like pitch sequencing and the science of hitting. To those who actually had the audacity to listen to her, it was obvious that she knows a thing or two or ten about the game of baseball.

Surprisingly Mendoza has taken this all in stride, the way I wish I could go back and do when I’ve been treated in a very similar fashion. I may not be on national television but my work gets enough notice that I too get derogatory tweets and even inappropriate memes sent out to circulate the internet with my picture and name attached.

Thankfully, I’ve never received a death threat in the mail. In fact, while all this was happening one actually enlightened man sent an encouraging tweet to a few of us who work in this industry (to be honest I was quite shocked at my inclusion). It’s just surprising how some people can be so closed-minded while others can embrace the change and see women as their equals, even in the realm of sports.

Mendoza handles the criticism with a laugh, one of the many things that I admire about her. I have not always been so able to ignore the haters. I’ve let them get to me at times and something it has been an aspect of myself that I have working very hard to change, especially lately.

While Mendoza was largely criticized, she also received praise and encouragement from people all over the world who were watching the AL wild card game on Tuesday.

“So many women together, and honestly, so many guys have reached out to me,” Mendoza told the news outlet. “It just gives me the continued confidence that we all love this game and we’re all doing this together.”

She’s right. The bottom line is what is with all the hatred? Each person watching Tuesday night’s broadcast loves the game of baseball. We are all watching it as just that, a group of individuals watching a game we love. Why does the gender of the individual matter at all?

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  • Tom U

    Thank you for including me in this piece. It is quite an honor.

    • I was honored you included me in your tweet!!! So thank you!!!! 🙂

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