FOX Sports baseball guru Ken Rosenthal answered questions for MLBTR on Saturday…
MLBTR: I don’t have an official count, but I believe you’ve broken more MLB signings and trades than any other reporter over the past several years. Is it still a thrill for you to break news?
Rosenthal: Oh, of course. It also hurts to lose. So, you’re motivated both ways. I don’t have much of a temper – at least I don’t think I do – but I will occasionally let loose after getting beat. My wife and kids look at me look I’m nuts. And it’s sort of difficult for me to argue the point!
MLBTR: Hundreds of baseball writers are trying to break news, including perhaps your stiffest competition in SI.com’s Jon Heyman and the ESPN crew. Do you share information with other writers? Or is it more of a "every man for himself" situation?
Rosenthal: Everyone for themselves, now more than ever. I don’t share with anyone, and I don’t believe anyone else does, either. Every web site and every newspaper is in competition. And there are so many hard-working baseball reporters, you never know who might come up with something next.
MLBTR: Say you snag a scoop on a signing. What has to happen before that story hits the FOX website? What is a typical amount of time between you confirming the info and it hitting the website?
Rosenthal: The turnaround is incredibly quick, especially if I’m able to give our editors a heads-up that something is coming (which isn’t always the case). I’ve never actually timed it, but I would guess that it takes no more than 1-2 minutes for us to post a story. I would imagine this is true for the other web sites and many of the newspapers as well.
MLBTR: If a team source or an agent gives you information that feels like propaganda to you, do you still run with it?
Rosenthal: My job is to inform my readers, not serve the interest of others. I am no one’s stooge, and my sources know it.
MLBTR: A scoop on a signing or trade – do you have to confirm that with multiple sources? Or is one rock-solid source sufficient?
Rosenthal: Depends. All of us were taught to use multiple sources. However, the business has changed. There are times I will go with a story even if I have only one source. Too often, if you wait for multiple confirmations, you get beat. I do think, however, it is important to be accurate, more important than it is to be first.
MLBTR: These days it seems like every beat writer and national guy has a blog and can publish news instantly. Does that make your job more difficult? Have you considered starting up a blog similar to Jon Heyman’s, where you could drop in a few quick paragraphs on a topic?
Rosenthal: Absoutely, the job gets more difficult by the day, with so many writers in competition. I do live updates like Jon’s during the winter meetings, but if I have a news item in other periods, I just turn it into a story. Not much of a difference, really, in my mind.
MLBTR: You have a fairly unique and very interesting job, at least to the average hot stove junkie. I’ve read that you have three kids – what do they think of their dad’s line of work? Do they share the same passion for the inside side of the game?
Rosenthal: My wife and children do not follow baseball. They are not at all caught up in what I do. Which, for me, is fantastic. They keep me very grounded. My kids are 17, 16 and 13. They’re all busy with their own lives, and my wife is busy keeping them going. C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Scott Boras – not on their radar.
MLBTR: Did you enjoy the Winter Meetings this year? Do you have any suggestions on how MLB could improve this event?
Rosenthal: I don’t know that any reporter "enjoys" the winter meetings; they’re pretty intense! As for improving ’em, I don’t know. Some believe they’re obsolete. Most people in baseball communicate by phone, e-mail or text message. Still, having everyone in one place creates a certain deal-making dynamic, in some cases. The attention is good for the game.