Throughout the years, Ken Rosenthal has been one of the most reliable MLB journalists in the industry, with prominent roles at Fox Sports, The Athletic, and the MLB Network.
He has made his name with serious work and reliable information every time he takes his microphone and with each article he writes.
Yet, MLB Network won’t be bringing him back for the 2022 season, a decision that is effective immediately.
It was a somewhat shocking turn of events, especially considering how big Rosenthal is in the industry.
Can confirm MLB Network has decided not to bring me back. I’m grateful for the more than 12 years I spent there, and my enduring friendships with on-air personalities, producers and staff. I always strove to maintain my journalistic integrity, and my work reflects that. 1/2
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 4, 2022
“Can confirm MLB Network has decided not to bring me back. I’m grateful for the more than 12 years I spent there, and my enduring friendships with on-air personalities, producers and staff. I always strove to maintain my journalistic integrity, and my work reflects that,” he wrote on his official Twitter account.
A Controversial Decision
Speculations about the reasons for his dismissal started to populate the internet, and according to an article by Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, MLB Network’s decision to cut ties with Rosenthal has to do with some previous criticism of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
Here is what Marchand wrote this week about Rosenthal’s dismissal from MLB Network:
“MLB Network has cut ties with insider Ken Rosenthal in what 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.”
Everything started with a “suspension”, per Marchand:
“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.”
Rosenthal returned to MLB Network in late August, around the trade deadline, and appeared there regularly since then.
Per the article, his contract with MLBN finalized late in 2021 and was not renewed.
An MLB spokesperson discussed the situation with The Post:
“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.”
Handling Criticism Comes With The Job
If the reason behind the failure to renew Rosenthal’s contract at MLB Network has to do with criticism of Manfred’s work, then the league, and the Commissioner himself, should be ashamed.
Handling criticism is a part of the job, especially a high-profile one, even if the platform is supposed to be associated with the league.
Such a decision actually goes against the freedom of the press and media.
Rosenthal’s criticism of Manfred’s decisions was never personal.
That shouldn’t be a reason for a writer, especially one as accomplished as Rosenthal, to lose his job.
Rosenthal himself clarified that he maintains his roles at The Athletic and Fox Sports.
But hey, at least Manfred doesn’t have to worry about Ken Rosenthal calling him out for being a horrible commish. *all the eye roll GIFs*
Do better @MLB!
— Jeremie Ballinger (@SOBallinger) January 5, 2022
It’s yet another stain for Manfred’s stint as Commissioner.