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.
Andy Masur is a columnist for BSM and works for WGN Radio as an anchor and play-by-play announcer. He also teaches broadcasting at the Illinois Media School. During his career he has called games for the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox. He can be found on Twitter @Andy_Masur1 or you can reach him by email at Andy@Andy-Masur.com.
Ryan Edwards Moves to The Sports Zoo on KOA
“Edwards has been on the radio in Denver since 2009. He spent eight years with 104.3 The Fan. He also did a short stint at Mile High Sports Radio.”
Ryan Edwards is staying with KOA, but his hours are about to change. The Denver sports radio staple is moving off of Broncos Country Tonight to join Alfred Williams and Dave Logan on The Sports Zoo in afternoon drive.
“I am thrilled to join radio and football legends Dave Logan and Alfred Williams on The KOA Sports Zoo,” Edwards said in a press release. “I look forward to bringing a fans’ perspective to the Denver Broncos and all things Denver sports.”
Edwards has been on the radio in Denver since 2009. He spent eight years with 104.3 The Fan. He also did a short stint at Mile High Sports Radio.
He joined iHeart Denver in 2017. He was on Orange & Blue 760 before the company replaced the station with a conservative talk format. He moved to KOA in 2019, where he has worked on Broncos Country Tonight with Benjamin Albright.
Jason Fitz: Keyshawn Johnson Cannot Be Serious With Trevor Lawrence Take
“There is no way Trevor Lawrence is the eighth-best quarterback out of eight left in the playoffs after doing what he did after the first quarter of that last game.”
When he was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021, Trevor Lawrence was heralded as a once-in-a-lifetime type of prospect. While his career had a bit of a rocky start, he has shown a lot in year two, including leading one of the largest come-from-behind victories in playoff history Saturday night against the Chargers. Jason Fitz cannot believe that isn’t enough to impress Keyshawn Johnson.
The ESPN Radio morning man ranked the eight remaining starting quarterbacks in the NFL playoffs and put Lawrence dead last.
“Trevor Lawrence at eight? I know Keyshawn Johnson is out there in California, but I want to party with Key because obviously, he was doing a little partying before this show, Harry,” Jason Fitz told his partner on Tuesday’s edition of Fitz & Harry. “There is no way Trevor Lawrence is the eighth-best quarterback out of eight left in the playoffs after doing what he did after the first quarter of that last game.”
Fitz noted that during the season people started calling Lawrence “Trevor Tangerines” for the daringness he continued to show even after things looked bad for him and the Jaguars. He said that on Saturday night, he should have been called “Trevor Watermelons”.
Jason Fitz acknowledged that it would be hard to rank anyone ahead of Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, and Jalen Hurts, which made up Keyshawn Johnson’s top four. But Fitz doesn’t think this is a matter of Lawrence being disrespected for being number eight, behind Brock Purdy, who began the season as the 49ers’ third-string quarterback, instead of number seven.
“Considering the whole body of work and the way that Trevor Lawrence has played since week nine, you wouldn’t have to press hard to put Daniel Jones below Trevor Lawrence.”
He added that Keyshawn Johnson is also being influenced by the uniform Trevor Lawrence wears.
“I think there’s a little element that speaks to the fact that we have a perception on certain organizations. I’m just saying — four interceptions or not — this is the analogy I keep making this week: If Trevor Lawrence had the bounceback game with the star in his helmet as the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, today the conversation would be like ‘Well, you can’t hold him down the whole game’.”
Boomer Esiason: ManningCast Proves Peyton Manning Can Never Be a Coach
“He’s got no patience whatsoever.”
Don’t expect to see Peyton Manning on an NFL sideline. He may be one of the best quarterbacks the league has ever seen, but Manning isn’t cut out to be a coach according to Boomer Esiason.
On Tuesday morning, Esiason and the rest of the Boomer & Gio cast listened to highlights of the previous night’s ManningCast. They enjoyed the audio of Peyton Manning losing his temper after Cowboys kicker Brent Maher missed his third extra-point attempt of the night.
The clip, which has since gone viral, includes Manning asking if a kicker can be cut at halftime of a playoff game.
“This is why Peyton can’t coach,” Esiason said in response to the audio. “He’s got no patience whatsoever.”
The chemistry and authenticity of Peyton and Eli is often cited as the appeal of the ManningCast. Esiason noted that was what is on display in moments the brothers cannot control.
Boomer Esiason was a guest on the week eight ManningCast, which featured his former team, — the Cincinnati Bengals — playing Cleveland Browns. Esiason said at the time that while it was a distracting way to try and follow a game, being a part of the show is a lot of fun. He echoed that praise Tuesday morning.
“Those things are really unbelievably done. I mean, they are funny.”