Since Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred handed down the punishment for the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal on Monday, all MLB teams have been instructed not to comment on it. That doesn’t seem to apply to Jessica Mendoza, who is both an adviser to the New York Mets and a baseball analyst and color commentator for ESPN.
Mendoza doesn’t approve of whistleblower
Mendoza, who is a baseball operations adviser for Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, went on ESPN’s “Golic & Wingo” show on Thursday morning and commented on the scandal, becoming the first Mets employee to say anything about it on the record. What she said raised more than a few eyebrows.
Mike Golic: Do you have a problem with Mike Fiers leaving the Astros, going to another team, and then going public with this?
Jessica Mendoza: Going public, yeah. I mean, I get it. If you’re with the Oakland A’s and you’re on another team, I mean heck yeah, you better be telling your teammates, “Look, hey, heads up. If you hear some noises when you’re pitching, this is what’s going on.” For sure. But to go public, yeah. It didn’t sit well with me. And honestly, it made me sad for the sport that that’s how this all got found out. This wasn’t something that MLB naturally investigated or that even other teams complained about because they naturally heard about, and then investigations happen. But it came from within. It was a player that was a part of it, that benefited from it during the regular season when he was a part of that team. When I first heard about it, it hits you like any teammate would. It’s something that you don’t do. I totally get telling your future teammates, helping them win, letting people know. But to go public with it and call them out and start all of this, it’s hard to swallow.
Mendoza isn’t condoning cheating, but she clearly doesn’t like that Oakland A’s pitcher Mike Fiers, a former Astro, went public with his knowledge of the sign-stealing scheme. It’s a baffling opinion, especially since she’s “sad” that MLB didn’t “naturally” investigate it from complaints from other teams. In truth, the reports were out there and MLB did nothing.
According to former Yahoo Sports writer Jeff Passan, players had witnessed the Astros banging on a trash can in 2017, and the Los Angeles Dodgers suspected the Astros of stealing signs during the World Series. An investigation was started only after Fiers went public with the story, so it feels wrong to demonize him and only rely on MLB to expose wrongdoing since it clearly wasn’t up to the job.
If Fiers hadn’t blown the whistle on the Astros, it’s possible that their 2017 sign-stealing scheme would never have come to light. It’s unpleasant for teams and fans to have to deal with the fallout, but Fiers did the sport a major service by having the courage to come forward.
On Thursday afternoon, Mendoza released a statement about her comments on “Golic & Wingo.”
Conflict of interest
It’s a mystery why Mendoza, a Mets adviser, was allowed to comment on the scandal when MLB teams have been banned from doing so. A further mystery is why Mendoza was asked to talk about it since, as a Mets employee (or at least a freelancer or contractor), her opinion is compromised.
Mendoza working for both ESPN, a media outlet, and the Mets, presents a serious conflict of interest and that makes her opinion on Fiers extremely suspicious. When Mendoza called out Fiers for having the courage to come forward and blow the whistle on the Astros’ cheating, was she doing that as an ESPN analyst or as an employee of the Mets? That’s the main issue with Mendoza holding two diametrically opposed positions in the same field. Her opinion can’t be trusted because as a Mets employee, she has an interest in making her team look as good as possible. Even if she’s speaking as an ESPN analyst, she still works for the Mets.
Mendoza blaming the whistleblower is a bad look for her whether she’s speaking as a Mets employee or media member. The biggest problem is that we have to ask who is she speaking for. When you have to ask that question, how can you trust what she says next?
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