ESPN announced today that Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza will now join holdover Dan Shulman in the booth with Buster Olney sticking around on the field. The new crew will make their debut on April 3rd in Kansas City where the Royals will be taking on the Mets in a World Series matchup.
As for the two men that Boone and Mendoza are replacing, John Kurk and Curt Schilling, both will remain at ESPN. Kruk will return to the studio while Schilling will move to the Monday Night Baseball booth alongside Karl Ravech and Dave Flemming, who will alternate on play-by-play, and Eduardo Perez.
Some folks were expecting ESPN to make changes to their SNB booth, particularly so in the wake of Mendoza excelling in the booth after Schilling was suspended for posting a tweet comparing Muslims to Nazis. A report from the NY Daily News this past weekend said that ESPN was looking to possibly move Kruk out of the booth and that ESPN went hard after John Smoltz for that booth as well only fueled that fire further.
And ultimately, this was a pretty solid move on ESPN's part. I think Schilling is a little better in the booth than others think but neither him nor Kruk ever really stood out to me all that much in the booth. Mendoza will certainly be an upgrade based on what she showed in her limited booth work down the stretch and Boone has done solid work on Monday Night Baseball over the past five years. These teams ultimately take some time to gel but Shulman always does an excellent job and based on what Boone and Mendoza have shown, I don't have much reason to believe that this won't work.