Watching with Jessica Mendoza
Tuesday night, Jessica Mendoza became the first woman to broadcast a nationally televised postseason baseball game. She sounded like she belonged, because she does. And it mattered a lot to me.
The difference between Jessica Mendoza and me is like the difference between me and an astronaut. She’s won Olympic medals. She’s provided color commentary for a no-hitter. I goof around on the internet.
But the great thing is that the difference between Jessica Mendoza and me is the same as the difference between my brother and Kyle Seager. Or my male baseball-writing friends and Miguel Cabrera. And while young women like Melissa Mayeux and Mo’ne Davis might someday shift the sights of young female baseball fans to the field itself, having Jessica Mendoza in the booth matters because a lot of being a fan is wanting to get as close to the game as possible.
Fans will always be pressing their noses against the glass, wishing they were rounding third after hitting one over the fence. Those fences seem much farther for female fans. Having Jessica Mendoza in the booth matters to me because it allows me to stretch. To say, “If only I had been an Olympian, I could be in the booth, too.” Just like my brother can say, “If only I could hit for power, I could be Nelson Cruz.”
I hope girls will be someday look down and see someone like them fielding, or gapping a double. I hope they’ll look up in the owner’s suite and see more female executives. I hope the work we’re doing now will make dreaming bigger dreams easier. I hope we get more big things right, and do the smaller things with greater decency.
For now, I’m just glad I got to hear Jessica Mendoza call a game. I’m glad the voice of the postseason sound a little bit like mine, even if Jessica Mendoza is to me what Carlos Correa was to Astros fans last night. Because it makes me feel like I belong in this game. It makes me feel, if only for a moment, like we’re all pressing our noses against the same glass.