Sunday, August 14, 2022

Rob Manfred Has Prominent MLB Insider Removed From MLB Network


As the doldrums of the MLB lockout drag along we finally got some baseball news, just not the type we were hoping for. MLB Network has cut ties with MLB insider Ken Rosenthal for what is believed to be a result of his criticism of commissioner Rob Manfred. The New York Post first reported that Rosenthal was on his way out of the league-owned network. This has been a situation that has been brewing for two years. 

According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, this is the “end result of acrimony that peaked in the summer of 2020 after Rosenthal criticized commissioner, Rob Manfred.”

In 2020, Rosenthal was bumped off the air for about three months after posting multiple columns criticizing Manfred for his handling of the COVID-19 situation when the season was in jeopardy. In one of the columns, he simply stated that Manfred must strike a deal with the players union and salvage the 2020 season, or ruin his legacy as commissioner of baseball”.

Rosenthal was never publicly suspended and the incident was swept under the rug so it went largely unnoticed by fans. Rosenthal was still paid while he was off the air and returned during the trade deadline which at the time was pushed back to August 31st because of the pandemic. 

After his return from his multi-month hiatus, the 59-year-old has appeared regularly on MLB Network including the network’s signature show, MLB Tonight. However, his contract was set to expire at the end of the year and MLB Network had already made up their mind that Rosenthal would not be coming back as a result of his criticism of Manfred. If this is true, Rob Manfred is coming off incredibly soft. 

Rosenthal is one of the most respected reporters in baseball. On top of being an in-studio reporter, he also serves as the senior writer for The Athletic and is a field reporter for FOX Major League Baseball.  It is not a particularly good look to cut with a decorated journalist when all he did was do his job and analyze the pandemic issues within the sport.  

By doing MLB Networkcomes across as state-run media. It is also hard to take any of their journalists seriously because they are not allowed to be impartial. 

The Network offered a statement saying:  

“As MLB Network continues to look at fresh ways to bring baseball to our viewers, there is a natural turnover in our talent roster that takes place each year. Ken played a significant part at MLB Network over the last 13 years. From spring training to the winter meetings, we thank him for his work across MLB Network’s studio, game, and event programming, and wish him the very best going forward.”

Rosenthal declined to comment. He joins fellow network staples Chris Rose and Eric Byrnes who were let go last year as part of MLB Networks’ “shakeup”.  MLB Network is not currently running any live studio shows during the lockout. Rosenthal will continue his jobs at the Athletic and FOX Sports.

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