ESPN is trying to avoid another conflict of interest between one of its employees and the New York Mets. Alex Rodriguez — who is involved in a bid to buy the team — won’t broadcast Mets games for ESPN until that situation is settled.
The network revealed that information on a conference call Thursday, according to Bradford William Davis of the New York Daily News.
“We don’t want to put the team, Alex or Matt [Vasgersian, A-Rod’s Sunday night play-by-play partner] in a difficult position,” said ESPN senior VP Mark Gross on Thursday afternoon. Currently, the Mets have one game set for Rodriguez’ usual slot, a July 26 against the Braves during baseball’s pandemic-shortened opening weekend.
Rodriguez, 44, his fiancée Jennifer Lopez and a number of other prominent names are involved in a bid to purchase the Mets from the Wilpon family. Rodriguez’s group was still in the running for the team as of July 9, according to the New York Post.
With the move, ESPN is trying to prevent another Jessica Mendoza situation from taking place. Mendoza — who was part of the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth prior to 2020 — drew criticism after calling out Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers on ESPN over the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal. Mendoza was also employed as a Mets advisor at the time. Mets manager Carlos Beltrán was implicated in the scandal, which could have influenced Mendoza’s opinion.
Mendoza released a statement clarifying her role with the Mets did not impact her analysis. Mendoza has since left her job with the Mets. She remains employed at ESPN, though she won’t be a part of the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth this season.
Chipper Jones will replace Rodriguez in the booth when the Mets take on the Atlanta Braves on “Sunday Night Baseball” on July 26.
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