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MLB Network splits with reporter Ken Rosenthal after Manfred criticism

MLB Network splits with reporter Ken Rosenthal after Manfred criticism
Baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal will not be part of MLB Network's coverage for the 2022 MLB season. Photo by Thousandrobots/Wikimedia Commons

Jan. 4 (UPI) -- MLB Network will not to bring back longtime reporter Ken Rosenthal for the 2022 season, Rosenthal announced on Twitter. The move comes after Rosenthal wrote several articles critical of commissioner Rob Manfred.

"Can confirm MLB Network has decided not to bring me back," Rosenthal tweeted Monday. 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.

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"Nothing else is changing for me professionally. I am proud to remain part of the great teams at The Athletic and Fox Sports."

A source told the New York Post that the move was a response to Rosenthal's criticism of Manfred from summer 2020, when the season was in limbo due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Rosenthal, 59, wrote several articles for The Athletic during that time, stating that Manfred could "ruin his legacy as commissioner" if he didn't strike a deal with the players union and salvage the 2020 season.

He also wrote that Manfred was perceived to be "beholden to [team] owners and out of touch with players."

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Rosenthal -- known for his colorful bow ties, in addition to his baseball knowledge -- was absent from MLB Network broadcasts for about three months after his comments about Manfred, but no suspension was announced.

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MLB is the majority owner of MLB Network. A network spokesman cited a "natural turnover" in its talent roster in a statement obtained by the Post, when asked about Manfred's departure.

"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," the spokesman said.

"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."

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MLB Spring Training is scheduled to start in late February, but the season remains in limbo.

Manfred announced in December that the team owners and the players union failed to complete a new labor agreement before the expiration of the previous pact. Team owners responded by imposing the first work stoppage since 1994-95.

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