Nobody Should be Surprised by the Ken Rosenthal/MLB Network Story

Ken's twitter photo

Interesting story here.

Ken Rosenthal, a respected veteran baseball reporter, was recently let go by the MLB Network.

Andrew Marchand at The New York Post said it was the result of criticism for commissioner Rob Manfred:

MLB Network has cut ties with insider Ken Rosenthal that is believed to be the end result of acrimony that peaked in the summer of 2020 after Rosenthal criticized commissioner Rob Manfred, The Post has learned. 

Rosenthal, a top news breaker, was first kept off the air for around three months, according to sources, after he wrote columns in 2020 — with the season in jeopardy due to the pandemic — analyzing Manfred’s handling of the situation for The Athletic. 

There was no stated suspension at the time and it went publicly unnoticed.

Rosenthal was still paid, but was put in a months-long penalty box. He did return for the trade deadline, which was pushed to Aug. 31 that season due to COVID-19.

Rosenthal confirmed the news, writing on Twitter that MLB Network “decided not to bring me back.” He was with the network for 12 years and continues with FOX Sports and The Athletic:

On the surface, it would be easy to say that Rob Manfred stinks and has thin skin. That’s 100% true, but at the same time MLB Network is primarily owned by Major League Baseball, and obviously Manfred doesn’t want somebody who criticizes him to work with the league-owned network. This would be like Les Bowen shredding Jeffrey Lurie to bits, year after year, but he’s a regular contributor on the Eagles website at the same time. Lurie might be like, “why the hell is this guy on our website if he’s killing me in the newspaper?

Maybe bigger men would let it slide, and understand that fair criticism is part of being a public figure, but Manfred ain’t that guy. The point is that nobody should be surprised by this news.

I actually have a personal experience that’s similar to the Rosenthal thing. When I was freelancing for the Philadelphia Union in 2014, I ripped Bob Kraft on Twitter, because back then he was an absentee owner who probably didn’t even remember that he owned a soccer team. A New England Revolution executive saw the tweet, complained to the Union, they suspended me, and I quit. It seemed dumb at the time, but I can see their point of view. A team employee shouldn’t be criticizing the owner of another team. It would be similar to Dave Spadaro going on Twitter and saying “fuck Dan Snyder, his stadium is a dump.” Everything in that tweet would be true, but somebody taking a paycheck from the Eagles probably shouldn’t be ripping another NFL owner.

But it’s all good. Rosenthal is very plugged-in and has a lot of respect around the league. He’s got a great gig even without MLB Network.

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