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Report: MLB Network sever ties with Ken Rosenthal over criticism from Rob Manfred

One of baseball’s greatest reporters is no longer welcome on MLB Network.

The league-owned network severed ties with Ken Rosenthal, and Rosenthal’s past criticism of MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in articles written for The Athletic would have played a role in the decision, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.

Rosenthal was reportedly banned from the airwaves for three months in 2020 after writing articles analyzing Manfred’s handling of negotiations during a season threatened, and ultimately reduced, by the COVID-19 pandemic. No formal suspension was ever announced and Rosenthal was still paid, eventually returning for coverage of the MLB network’s TBEN trade at the end of August.

Rosenthal was a regular on the network again after that, but his contract eventually expired at the end of 2021.

“As MLB Network continues to research new ways to bring baseball to our viewers, there is a natural renewal of our talent roster that takes place every year,” an MLB spokesperson told The Post. . . “Ken has been an integral part of the MLB network for 13 years. From spring training to winter reunion, we thank him for his studio work, programming MLB Network games and events. , and wish him the best for the future.

The move will not change Rosenthal’s other gigs writing for The Athletic and reporting for TBEN Sports broadcasts, while MLB Network will continue to use a large stable of other journalists.

What did Ken Rosenthal write that prompted him to quit MLB Network?

Columns that put Rosenthal in hot water with MLB Network reportedly arose around June 2020, when the league and the MLB Players Association traded beards and proposals with the season still halted by the pandemic.

Rosenthal was among the most active writers on the subject, his signature appearing 27 times on The Athletic in June alone. Almost all of these articles covered the negotiations, some as pure press articles and others from an analytical perspective.

The harshest remarks came in a column published on June 16 with the headline “Rosenthal: Manfred must strike deal with players or ruin his legacy”, in which the journalist accuses the commissioner of having “carried out an about-face massive ”and alludes to a perception that it is“ beholden to owners and out of touch with gamers ”.

There are also paragraphs like this:

[Manfred] and the owners, supposed custodians of the game, are turning the national pastime into a national hitting line, effectively threatening to take their ball and return home as the country grapples with medical, economic and societal challenges.

Baseball is a business, we all know that. But it is a company that former commissioner Bud Selig describes as a social institution with social responsibilities, which holds an antitrust exemption, distinguishing it from all other professional sports leagues. Such a business should be at a higher level, but in these talks, if you can even call it that, Manfred and the owners keep going down. Unless you make on-arrival offers, muffled public remarks, and other assorted blunders, this is your idea of ​​smart negotiation.

There were also articles such as “Latest MLB Player Proposal Comes With Well-Written Letter Stating Bad Will” and “Rosenthal: Fourth of July Comeback Almost Done As Baseball Is Further Than Ever of an agreement ”. A league cheerleader, he wasn’t.

This is all undeniably a harsh criticism, but it’s probably worth noting that Rosenthal wasn’t the only journalist to harshly criticize Manfred for the way he handled a season under threat of cancellation. However, Rosenthal may have been the only one to do so on an MLB payroll.