Sportress of Blogitude


Report: A-Rod safe, but ESPN may break up ‘Sunday Night Baseball’ team

Alex Rodriguez, entering the final year of his deal with ESPN, is expected to remain in his current analyst role on the “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcast team, but he could be the only holdover from the current crew next season.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that ESPN is considering breaking up the three-person team of Rodriguez, play-by-play man Matt Vasgersian and fellow analyst Jessica Mendoza, according to sources with knowledge of the network’s deliberations. The likelihood of the trio returning next season is viewed as 70% likely, according to one source.

Mendoza is “highly valued” by ESPN, not only for her talent but also for her “trailblazing role” on the national broadcast team, the report notes. Should ESPN decide to remove Mendoza from the “Sunday Night Baseball” crew, the expectation is she would move on to another prominent role with the network.

Vasgersian, like Rodriguez, is set to enter the last year of his contract with ESPN, although it seems that A-Rod’s spot in the booth is viewed as much more secure.

Mendoza’s role on “Sunday Night Baseball” has been compromised in some ways by the fact she also serves as an adviser to New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. The odd intersection between her two conflicting roles has prompted a few awkward incidents.

Not only has Mendoza seemed reluctant to discuss the Mets during broadcasts, she also was prohibited by the Los Angeles Dodgers from visiting the team’s clubhouse due to a perceived conflict of interest.

However things shake out, it’s somewhat interesting that Rodriguez could be the only one to survive a potential “Sunday Night Baseball” shakeup. While his star power is undeniable and he has been praised at times for his analysis, there have been an occasion or two where he has provided some head-scratching commentary.