A number of ESPN baseball analysts also hold positions with teams in Major League Baseball. Earlier this month Jessica Mendoza took a job with the Mets as a baseball operations advisor. Her Sunday Night Baseball colleague Alex Rodriguez has served as an advisor in the Yakees organization since his retirement. David Ross of Baseball Tonight has the same role with the Chicago Cubs.
On a recent conference call, Mark Gross, the senior VP or production and remote events at ESPN, told The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch that the network is comfortable with these relationships and will not hide them from fans.
“We’re comfortable with where we’re at, that these guys are professionals, that they can be objective and they’re wearing two hats,” Gross said. “But there is a way to do it, and we’ll be up front with viewers off the top of the game, letting people know. Then we will let the viewers decide, ultimately, if this is something that they’re on board with.”
Gross added that ESPN and its viewers already know that these conflicts of interest don’t effect the way a game is covered. “We think and we saw even last year, obviously, Alex did any number of Yankee games. Alex’s commentary last year on a Yankee game was no different than if it was on any other game.”
Baseball season on ESPN begins on Thursday with a triple-header to celebrate Opening Day.