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Ken Rosenthal Stands By His Acta Report

CSN's Russ Thaler talked to Fox Sports's Ken Rosenthal, the man behind the initial "Say goodbye to Manny Acta" reports, and in a fairly fascinating two-question interview, Rosenthal didn't back down a smidge. Except in the sense that while saying that media reports shouldn't change how a team makes decisions, he he sort of challenged the Nationals to name Manny Acta their manager for the rest of the season, which would be a fine thing to do, but wouldn't have necessarily been necessary absent his report that that Acta was about to be fired, which means the Nats would be allowing media reports to change how they make decisions. Here's his quote:

"If my story was wrong, then the Nationals should simply say Manny Acta is our manager for the rest of our season," Rosenthal told Thaler. "If what I wrote was indeed something that had no basis, as Mike Rizzo suggested, well, make him your manager for the rest of the year. If the story is right, however, and of course I believe it was, then the Nationals should fire him today, tomorrow, whenever. Just leaving him dangling like this is not fair to Manny, not fair really to the team itself. So what I'm saying is, one way or the other, they need to make a decision."

I mean, Rosenthal is a real reporter who gets real scoops, while I write about cheese, so he gets the benefit of the doubt here. But isn't it possible that they still will fire him "whenever?" And if we're playing what-if, what-if Rosenthal's source was wrong, and what if the team was demanding significant improvement in the W-L record by, say, the All-Star break for Acta to remain. Now, because of Rosenthal's story, they feel pressured into saying something, so that Acta isn't "dangling."

So, responding to Rosenthal's "challenge" above, they say Acta is their guy for the rest of the year. But then the Nats lose the last 13 games before the break, and now they either have to go back on their word, or they have to stick with Acta because Ken Rosenthal has forced their hand. That, I'd argue, would be stupid.

(The original language of the report, in case you forgot: "Manny Acta's time as manager of the Washington Nationals is just about over, according to major-league sources. Acta will be replaced by bench coach Jim Riggleman, as originally reported on FOX Saturday Baseball. The only question is when. It could be a matter of days." So he isn't technically wrong yet, and won't be until we pass the point of "just about over," which could be three or four years, I suppose, if you're using the length of American history as the grander framework.)

(The other possibility, raised here by Thaler, is that the Nats actually changed the plans because they don't want to validate the media reports. That's the sort of stuff I usually accuse the Redskins of doing. Rosenthal said that's happened to him before, and "it's possible it's happening in this case," but that "I don't know that to be true, and I would never suggest that to be true, because I frankly have no idea.")

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 19, 2009; 9:25 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Nats  
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Why is it when a reporter gets a story like this wrong, they insist that the owner should come out in a press conference and state that the manager/coach is still the manager/coach? That'll make for the worst press conference ever.

Posted by: law3 | June 19, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Anonymous always have an agenda which by definition they want to keep hidden, reporters who rely on them are bound to get burned on occasion.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | June 19, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

team should simply ignore rumors and reports. i wouldn't give these guys any leverage over me.

Posted by: longterm | June 19, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

yeah, my take is Rosenthal got burned--one way or the other--and is looking for validation.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10 | June 19, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Rosenthal's an idiot and it sounds like he's squirming. Good.

Why would they need to say it? He IS still the manager. That about covers it.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 19, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Rosenthal sounded silly in that interview for the reasons you stated.
I think that the photo of the guy getting hit with a pie in the face in your previous story would be appropriate for this story, too.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | June 19, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to announce that, until further notice, Dan Steinberg still is a writer the WaPo Company. I'll now take your questions...

Posted by: law3 | June 19, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

As someone said before why shoud Rosenthal care one way or the other?

Posted by: adhardwick | June 19, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

reminds me a bit of the stories we hear of reporters who want to be the story themselves.

Posted by: alex35332 | June 19, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Dear Ken:

Eat silence.

Sincerely yours,

Teh Nats

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 19, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

What's the over/under on Rosenthal taking credit for the series win at Yankee Stadium?

I give it two days - especially if the Nats win again tonight.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 19, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Reporters often have a very, very difficult time admitting when they are wrong. It's bizarre.

Is there any chance Rosenthal is related to Jason La Canfora?

Posted by: Barno1 | June 19, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but IMO Rosenthal is an ass. In this day and age I can see where he might think differently, but it's not his job as a member of the media either to (a) make the news or (b) dictate what action an organization should take in order to comply with his version of reality.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 19, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

This is the only part of the interview that rang true for me:

because I frankly have no idea

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 19, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

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