Last week, I had the pleasure of chatting with BBWAA member and FOX Sports lead field reporter Ken Rosenthal via E-mail about several topics surrounding the Mets and MLB.
A Long Island native and University of Pennsylvania grad, Ken started his career interning with Newsday covering sports, then moved onto several other small newspapers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey before landing a gig with the Baltimore Sun for the next fourteen years. After that, Rosenthal signed on with the Sporting News and in 2005 picked up the microphone as he became FOX Sports’ lead field reporter for MLB broadcasts and since 2009 also works at MLB Network as an insider.
Without further ado, here is the transcript of my interview with Ken Rosenthal:
What is the best/most exciting MLB game you have ever had the pleasure of being a part of the broadcast team for?
Broadcast – it would have to be Game 6 of last year’s World Series. The back and forth was incredible. I was positioned right next to the Rangers’ dugout, very close to where Ron Washington was standing. What I remember most is trying to prepare for the post-game interviews. I must have prepared for maybe six different heroes, because they kept changing. In the end, I got lucky – it came back around to Freese! Back when I was just in print (I wrote about Game 6, too) Sept. 6, 1995 stood out most. That was the night Ripken broke the consecutive-games record. I was a columnist for the Baltimore Sun. Wrote the front-page column. Still the overall highlight of my career.
You broke the story about the trade discussed between the Marlins and Mets that would have sent Jason Bay to Miami in return for John Buck and Heath Bell. Although you reported the trade was never close to getting completed, what do you believe the fallout of that deal would have been? Any thoughts you had on the potential deal?
It seemed like one of those change of scenery deals that might have benefited both sides. The Marlins are down on Buck and Bell, and Bay has just not produced for the Mets. I know fans get tired of hearing it, but Bay is one of the finer people in the sport. It is just a shame what has happened with him.
Why do you believe that the Mets failed to make a move while they were still in contention back in mid-July? Do you believe that adding something as minor as a reliever or an average right-handed bat would have made a significant difference?
The Mets failed to make a move because they were uncertain that they were an actual contender – and they were correct to doubt the team’s chances of staying in it. I had no problem with that logic, still don’t. As we’ve seen, they are more than one or two players away, and not just in their bullpen.
What was your take on the Melky Cabrera situation?
As I wrote on FOXSports.com, the effort that Melky’s associate made to clear the player’s name only underscores the need for baseball to remain vigilant on the PED front. That point might sound obvious, but the other side – the cheating side – will go to great lengths to beat the system and cover up what it has done.
What was the one most pivotal deal of the trade deadline to you? How will said move affect the pennant race?
“The Braves’ two moves for Sheets and Maholm have had the greatest impact. Yes, Sheets has slowed down, but the Braves got him for something like $1 million, and the acquisition cost for Maholm wasn’t terribly great – plus, he is under club control for another year.”…”To this point – and it’s a very small sample – none of the bigger moves has proven that meaningful. Still like the Dodgers’ addition of Hanley Ramirez, though.”
How do you see this winter playing out for the Mets? Would it be safe to say it will be similar to last offseason?
For starters, I think they extend Wright – they have no choice. I don’t expect them to spend big otherwise. I don’t know that they should spend big. Again, they’ve got a number of areas to address – the bullpen (where the best course isn’t always to spend money), a power-hitting outfielder, a catcher, etc. I’m not saying they should refrain from the market entirely. But they need to be selective – and smart.
Do you see Mike Piazza suffering the same fate on the Hall of Fame ballot as someone such as Jeff Bagwell?
Not sure. I do think Piazza will get in, though it might not be on the first ballot. My general rule for players of this era is to vote only a select few on the first ballot. It’s sort of a protest vote, my way of distinguishing the players from the Steroid Era of the greats of the past. Some people say, “That’s unfair.” And to a degree, they’re right. My position, though, is that the players were part of a union that had the power to enact change. And they did not.
Tell our readers a little bit about the story behind your bow tie. Everyone knows that you wear your now-signature neckwear on almost every broadcast, but do not know the fascinating tale leading up to it.
Well, it’s a long story, best explained by something I wrote. The one thing that people should know is that the bow ties represent different charities and organizations. That’s why I wear them. Not to look like Pee Wee Herman. Not to be a baseball Craig Sager. It’s nothing like that. The entire point is to raise awareness for different things, and I hope we’ve been successful doing that.
Once again I wanted to thank Ken for taking time out of his busy schedule to give me such complete and comprehensive answers. He is a great baseball mind and I truly enjoyed getting to talk some baseball with him. For rumors, news, exceptional insight and much, much more, you can check out Ken’s blog or follow him on twitter at @Ken_Rosenthal.