Rob Manfred wanted me fired from ESPN

Dan Le Batard has many foils in positions of power, and one of them is MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

Reacting to Andrew Marchand’s scoop in The Post that Ken Rosenthal was exiting MLB Network ostensibly over previous criticism of the commish earlier this week, Le Batard told his audience that Manfred tried, unsuccessfully, to do the same thing to him in 2017.

At that time, Derek Jeter had just purchased the Marlins in Le Batard’s hometown of Miami, and immediately slashed payroll to the bone. Le Batard was defensive of criticism of Miami fans that he believed would come from national fans and media over lack of support for a team that had been gutted. He teed off on Jeter and had a very contentious interview with Manfred.

This week on the “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” Le Batard referred to the chat with Manfred as “the single worst interview a sports commissioner has ever given.”

“We caught him saying some things that we could prove, factually through documentation, were not true,” Le Batard said. “In doing that interview, what happened after that, ESPN defended us a hell of a lot better than MLB Network defended Ken Rosenthal.

Derek Jeter was part of the Marlins ownership group in 2017.
Derek Jeter was part of the Marlins ownership group in 2017.
Getty Images

“MLB Network is a propaganda arm. NFL Network is a propaganda arm. There are things that will not be discussed on those platforms because they are not independent entities. If Rob Manfred could have gotten me fired at ESPN, he would have.”

In the interview in 2017, Le Batard pressed Manfred on if he knew that Jeter would slash the Marlins’ payroll. Manfred got defensive and said he would not be deposed. At about the same time, the Miami Herald revealed that the Marlins had documents that referred to their organizational plan as “Project Wolverine” — an obvious reference to payroll slashing — circulating to investors in advance of the team’s purchase.

At the time, Burke Magnus, the ESPN executive in charge of the network’s live rights, confirmed in a statement to The Big Lead that MLB officials had taken issue with Le Batard’s interview of Manfred.

“We have a terrific relationship with Major League Baseball and we’re in constant communication at all levels, so it’s not uncommon that we would discuss both issues and opportunities in the course of that communication,” Magnus said.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred
Getty Images

Le Batard left ESPN in early January 2021 and founded Meadowlark Media with former ESPN president John Skipper later in the year. The platform has a $50 million endorsement deal with DraftKings, and distributes the “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” and a good amount of other original audio and video content.

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