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Volume 27 No. 5
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Mets GM: Jessica Mendoza Made Astros Comments As Media Member

Mets Exec VP & GM Brodie Van Wagenen attempted to distance the team from Jessica Mendoza's criticism of former Astros P Mike Fiers for whistle-blowing in the illegal sign-stealing scandal, saying Mendoza was "speaking as an ESPN analyst, not as a spokesman for the Mets, when she made the comments," according to Kevin Draper of the N.Y. TIMES. On ESPN2's "Golic and Wingo" on Thursday, Trey Wingo introduced Mendoza as "both an ESPN analyst and a Mets adviser -- a baseball insider, so to speak." Draper writes a Mets adviser is what Mendoza "sounded like, rather than a member of the news media," when she criticized former Fiers for "whistle-blowing." In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Van Wagenen said that he had "yet to speak" with Mendoza about it. Mendoza said that MLB "should have punished the players involved in the scheme." Mendoza: "For those players to have no accountability, no blame, is crazy to me." She also criticized Fiers for "violating clubhouse culture" for revealing the sign-stealing scheme to The Athletic, which "triggered MLB's investigation." When Mendoza officially joined the Mets before last season, ESPN VP/Communications Josh Krulewitz at the time indicated that Mendoza's employment with the team was "not a unique blurring of lines between covering MLB and participating in it." For a while, Alex Rodriguez worked "both as a special adviser to the Yankees and as an ESPN analyst," and Cubs manager David Ross "doubled as a special assistant to the team and as an ESPN employee" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/16).

POOR CHOICE OF WORDS? On Long Island, Mike Rose notes Mendoza later on Thursday released a statement "clarifying her remarks." She added in her statement that her role with the Mets does "not shape her opinion" (NEWSDAY, 1/176). In Massachusetts, Nick O'Malley writes it is "notable" that Mendoza is "not critical of the scandal or Fiers tipping people off." She is "criticizing Fiers for actions that have put pressure on her organization" (Springfield REPUBLICAN, 1/17). AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Ian Casselberry wrote Mendoza's criticism of Fiers "invites the question of whether or not she's discrediting him to defend" fired Mets manager Carlos Beltran. Casselberry: "Sure, it's possible that she would have this opinion regardless." But it is "not difficult to imagine that Mets management told her -- either outrightly or subtly -- to call Fiers' integrity into question and thus salvage Beltran's reputation" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 1/16). YAHOO SPORTS' Liz Roscher wrote it is a "mystery why Mendoza ... was allowed to comment on the scandal when MLB teams have been banned from doing so" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/16). In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal writes if ESPN was "looking for one more excuse to blow up its 'Sunday Night Baseball' announcing team, Mendoza gave it to them." One "SNB" analyst, Alex Rodriguez, "cheated as a player," and the other, Mendoza, "thinks telling reporters about cheating is wrong" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/17).