A random detail from the New York Post’s writeup on the possible blow-up of the ESPN baseball booth, currently consisting of Matt Vasgersian, Jessica Mendoza, and Alex Rodriguez (incredibly, with only Rodriguez reportedly safe among the trio). You can read that article for the meat of that news.
I found a throwaway section to be interesting, though.
Per the Post, thanks to their dual-loyalties to ESPN and an MLB front office, Mendoza (Mets) and David Ross, who doubles as an analyst and member of the Cubs front office, were barred from entering the clubhouse in the NLDS by the Dodgers. Moreover, any interviews they conducted had to be pre-approved by the Dodgers and were monitored closely.
That seems at least a defensible decision to me, given that it’s impossible to turn off parts of your brain just because you’re there in an “ESPN” capacity. This was always one of the problems and potential conflicts of interest when you have broadcasters working as employees of MLB teams.
As for Ross, obviously he’s looking to transition into a specific full-time Cubs role – the new manager – so it might not linger into next year as an issue. I expect his time at ESPN has been an additive to his overall value as a manager (Aaron Boone certainly seems to have transitioned well), and perhaps it already adds some value in his role as an advisor to the Cubs. Not that you want him stealing state secrets, mind you. I’m just saying, it keeps him close to the game, even if he’s not been in a dugout.