Connect with us
Jim Cutler Demos

Sports Radio News

Firing Ken Rosenthal Is Another Reason For Fans Not To Trust Rob Manfred

“Nobody said these jobs were supposed to be easy. You aren’t going to please everyone, but why make matters worse?”

Avatar photo

Published

on

Some people just can’t take the heat and instead turn to throwing people out of the kitchen. They aren’t capable of rolling with the punches, even when the criticism coming their way is warranted and documented.

In the case of Rob Manfred v. Ken Rosenthal, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball acted rashly in the face of a not-so vicious attack. Instead of just turning the other cheek, or looking in the mirror, Manfred decided the league-owned MLB Network needed to fire a long-time, credible and respected journalist. Rosenthal confirmed the news via his Twitter account. He also indicated that he is still employed by Fox Sports and will continue to report on the sport for that network.

Commissioners of the “Big 4 Sports Leagues” are supposed to have thick skin. Criticism, skepticism, and whatever other ism’s you can think of, come with the job. Generally speaking, these commissioners make big bucks and in the eyes of fans, never have their collective backs. 

Nobody said these jobs were supposed to be easy. You aren’t going to please everyone, but why make matters worse? 

Rosenthal was relieved of his ‘insider’ duties at MLB Network Monday. It was revealed by the New York Post that Rosenthal’s article posted to the The Athletic led to a double secret probation of a few months and ultimately his termination. The article, posted June 16, 2020, was critical of Manfred and his handling of the start of the pandemic plagued 2020 baseball season. On the surface, the so-called attack was mild in nature and was filled with truths. Manfred waffled back and forth about the length of a season and then having no season. It led Rosenthal to lines like these from his posted column.

  • “As if the perception that Manfred is beholden to owners and out of touch with players was not bad enough, he was trending on Twitter on Monday after performing a massive flip-flop.” 
  • “Granted, the commissioner is forever in a tricky spot, empowered to act in the best interests of the game, but employed by the owners. Still, how does Manfred in a span of five days go from telling ESPN the season “unequivocally” would take place to saying on the same network he was “not confident” it would happen?”
  • “Yet for a guy who suddenly is looking for peace, Manfred sure has a funny way of showing it.”
  • “He and the owners, supposed stewards of the game, are turning the national pastime into a national punch line, effectively threatening to take their ball and go home while the country struggles with medical, economic and societal concerns.”
  • “If he blows this, it will define him. That should be enough incentive for him to strike a deal, period.”

I guess the truth hurts. Especially the last line. Was the commentary out of line? Nope. Was the commentary a personal attack on the man? Nope. 

MLB Network wasn’t set up to be “state run” television. Yes, you have to be careful not to cross that invisible line in the sand. To me, the comments written by Rosenthal don’t really cross any lines. I don’t have inside knowledge about how the other league-operated networks do their business, but they’ve never been in the headlines for something like this. 

I’ve written before about the precarious situation some play-by-play and color analysts are in when they are working for the team they’re calling games for. That’s an entirely different situation than this one. Broadcasters who are on the air every day understand going in that being overly critical could have repercussions. At the same time, there is an issue of credibility. If a team is bad and the announcers are talking about how great things are, well that’s a recipe for disaster. The fans will call you a shill and really call into question a lot of things that you’ll say. We as broadcasters need the support of the stations and teams we work for, to be able to call into question things that need to be questioned. 

In this case Rosenthal, who is about as respected a journalist as there is in the sport of baseball, was suspended and fired for telling the truth. The commissioner, who represents the owners and ultimately the ownership of the network, couldn’t handle it and flew off the handle instead.

It’s sad really, because Manfred is doing the viewers of the network a major disservice. Rosenthal is one of the kings of breaking news in my mind. I often can’t wait to hear his reports because they are filled with valuable information. This information isn’t opinion, its fact based as it’s gathered from credible sources and delivered by an equally credible source. 

The game of baseball is in enough trouble already. It has an image problem. Manfred has an image problem. Things that seem petty like this unwarranted dismissal play right into that narrative. Why would you try to make things worse with something like this? It’s not like Rosenthal is one of those people that continually stirs up controversy. He is above that. His reporting is not sensationalist.

Manfred’s job is not an easy one, I’ll give him that. He has to deal with the egos of some owners that don’t want to give an inch. As the lockout continues, without an ending in sight, the chasm between the fans and baseball continues to widen. I would never tell the man how to do his job, but I will say, if you alienate the fans enough, your sport is finished. 

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Sports Radio News

Boomer Esiason: People Watch Stephen A. Smith ‘Because of Him and What He’s Going to Say’

“What other alternative or where else can he go?”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Graphic for the Boomer & Gio Show and a photo of Stephen A. Smith

With reports coming out that ESPN had made an initial contract offer of 5 years and $90 million dollars to Stephen A. Smith, various sports show hosts have weighed in and given their opinions. Such was the case during Boomer & Gio this morning on WFAN with Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti.

“Have you seen any of this Stephen A. Smith contract stuff that’s going on?” Giannotti asked.

“I have seen it, yes,” Esiason said. “Listen, the guy works his ass off, he is definitely a firestarter for that network and quite frankly he has built himself into a one man show.”

Giannotti replied, “He’s had success. He’s one of the bigger voices in sports if not the biggest voice in sports.”

Esiason added, “What’s different about him compared to Troy [Aikman] or Tony [Romo] or somebody else – people are going to tune in to watch the football game no matter who is doing it. People are watching him because of him and what he’s going to say.”

Giannotti reviewed the report of how much was offered and mentioned the other reports that say Smtih is looking for closer to $25 million per year. He also mentioned Dan Le Batard saying he thought ESPN had lowballed Smith with the offer.

Giannotti said, “This is one of those things that is just hard to calculate. I don’t know how much money they would lose if he wasn’t there. This is something I’d love to know…how many advertising dollars, how many things that they sell because he is there equates to a loss if he leaves?”

Esiason then said, “Here’s what I would ask. What other alternative or where else can he go?” He then later added, “In our medium on a national basis…both he and Pat McAfee have brought eyeballs or attention to ESPN for different reasons, and I think that if they can extract that kind of money out of those companies, good for them. I have no problem with any of it.”

Giannotti continued to ask about the ad dollars, but Esiason explained there were a lot of other factors that come into play.

“I don’t know about the advertising,” he said. “I think it’s more about the subscription services. I think it’s more about the fact that they use him in every single aspect they possibly can…He’s on that morning show…but then he’s all over the NBA playoffs, he’s all over the NFL playoffs. He’s all over everything. I couldn’t even imagine. I know what it was like for me when I was doing NFL Today, Monday Night Football and this radio program. It was exhausting…I know that he has complained about how much he is asked to do over there.”

All of this led to a discussion about a weekly Smith guest on First Take, Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo. “I tell you what, when he is on there, I find him to be extremely entertaining,” Esiason said. “The interaction between the two of them is about as entertaining as it can get on television…If I was ‘Dog’ I would quit [SiriusXM] cuz nobody hears you and go over [to ESPN] and take a full-time spot over there and get paid.”

“I don’t know if they’re offering a full-time spot for him over there, he’s like a novelty,” Giannotti replied.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

ESPN Chicago Announces 2024 Football Fest with Adam Schefter and Field Yates

“Football Fest is the unofficial kickoff of the NFL season, and I am excited about this year’s fest, from the stars we’ll have in the room to the show we have planned.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Graphic for ESPN Chicago's Football Fan Fest
Graphic Courtesy: ESPN Chicago on Facebook

ESPN Chicago announced the return of Football Fest, an event they started in 2022. The 2024 edition will take place at the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana on Sunday, August 25. ESPN NFL insiders Adam Schefter and Field Yates are back as guests and will share insights and engage with fans throughout the event.

“Football Fest is the unofficial kickoff of the NFL season, and I am excited about this year’s fest, from the stars we’ll have in the room to the show we have planned,” said Danny Zederman, director of content for ESPN Chicago in a release. “We listened to fan feedback, and we’ve added new ways for fans to interact with their favorite ESPN Chicago and Bears Radio Network personalities, as well as a live onstage version of our fan-favorite, unfiltered podcast Crosstalk Unhinged with Carm, Jurko, Waddle, and Silvy.”

ESPN Chicago and Bears Radio Network personalities will be available for meet & greets with fans taking photos and signing autographs. The Good Karma Brands owned station says the event “will consist of live programming from local and national experts on the upcoming football season, fantasy football, as well as games, vendors, and more.”

$10 tickets for the event are on sale through Ticketmaster.com.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

ESPN 103.7/104.1 Unveils New Lineup; Dawson Eiserloh Gets Solo Midday Show

“Can’t wait for this new challenge that’ll begin live from SEC Media Days next month.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Logo for ESPN SWLA and a photo of Dawson Eiserloh
Photo Courtesy: Dawson Eiserloh X Account

ESPN 103.7 in Lafayette, Louisiana and 104.1 in Lake Charles have announced a new, all live and local weekday lineup. Local programming will now be heard from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Starting on Monday, July 15 former LSU basketball player Jordy Hultberg will move The Jordy Hultberg Show to morning drive and go from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. He will be followed by Footenotes with Kevin Foote from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The lunchtime show will still feature RP3 and Meche, hosted by Raymond Partsch III and James Meche and it will air from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. That show had also previously featured Dawson Eiserloh, however, he will now move to the 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. slot to host his own show which will be called The Lohdown with D-Loh.

Eiserloh posted on his X account, “Really excited to announce I’ll be getting a solo show weekdays from 1-3 pm on ESPN Southwest Louisiana. Can’t wait for this new challenge that’ll begin live from SEC Media Days next month.”

After Further Review with Matt Moscona will follow in afternoon drive and airs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The station also carries play-by-play for LSU athletics and the Houston Astros.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Upcoming Events

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2024 Barrett Media.