Coming Friday: Fox’s Rosenthal Factor

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You must be a big shot when a baseball team asks you to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Even if it’s the Long Beach State Dirtbags.

FoxSports.net baseball writer Ken Rosenthal (read his stuff at this link), whose credentials as a scribe go back to the Baltimore Sun and The Sporting News, is that fellow who keeps popping up during Fox’s baseball telecast with some kind of 20-second tidbit that adds to the storyline, advances a theme or brings context to a situation where his reporting experience has led him to some stuff others may not know about.

During Game 2 of the NLCS, Rosenthal had to practically introduce Dodgers pitcher James McDonald to the nation as he threw a few shutout innings, explaining why he was a highly-prized player in the organization that probably held up any trade it was trying to make with the Cleveland Indians for CC Sabathia.

During Game 3, Rosenthal came onto the screen with two outs in the first inning to report that “many Dodgers were upset (pitcher Chad) Billingsley failed to retaliate in Game 2″ after Brett Myers threw a pitch behind the head of Manny Ramirez. It set the tone for a confrontation that eventually occured in the fourth inning between Dodger starter Hiroki Kuroda and the Phillies’ Shane Victorino.

During the fourth inning of Game 5, Rosental also laid out the four major selling points that agent Scott Boras would use to sell Ramirez to teams who were interested in his services. Play-by-play man Joe Buck tied up that discussion by saying: “This is information you got from talking to …”
“Scott Boras,” said Rosenthal.

We caught up with Ken to grill him … OK, converse with him … about the benefits of having an “information” guy on the baseball telecast, especially during the playoffs. The men Rosenthal shares time with on the Fox telecast say they’re more than glad he’s around to add his information.

“He’s one of the nicest and fair guys you’d ever want to meet,” said Buck. “I know I don’t have someone like Scott Boras on my speed dial, but he does. He talks to the GMs and thinks ahead and can forcast exactly what’s going to happen with free agents. Whether we’re in San Francico talking about Barry Bonds and steroids or during the National League Championship Series talking about Manny Ramirez’ future, the more controversial topics you can bring up and add to a game telecast, it adds a lot of weight of what we’re talking about by having him there.

“He’s one of the most selfless people we have, giving Joe and me information, and he doesn’t want credit for it,” said analyst Tim McCarver.

We also have more on the Breeders’ Cup coverage from Santa Anita, which is scattered among ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC over Friday and Saturday. Get your GPS out next to your remote control to follow along.

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