Wednesday night in San Francisco, baseball’s 108th World Series began as the Giants hosted the Detroit Tigers at AT&T Park.
And those who tuned in to Fox’s telecast of Game 1 saw none other than 1984 Penn graduate Ken Rosenthal reporting from the sidelines.
The former Daily Pennsylvanian sports editor was gracious enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to talk to the DP.
Daily Pennsylvanian: Lots of athletes talk about their “welcome to the big leagues moment.” Did you have one when you first started covering baseball?
Ken Rosenthal: Yes, spring training 1987. First time inside Orioles clubhouse. Cal Ripken shooting spit balls at me — jokingly, I think, but I’m not sure!
DP: What has been the highlight of your professional career?
KR: Covering Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive-games record for The Baltimore Sun. I’ve done Super Bowls, Olympics and obviously World Series, but nothing comes close.
DP: What has it been like traveling cross-country year-round with the Fox Sports crew?
KR: Well, for the most part we travel separately, except during the postseason. Then all of us are together — the on-air people, producers, directors, crew, everyone. I love that. It’s like being part of a team.
DP: Going off of your work at Fox Sports, lots of people recognize you instantly for your habit of wearing bow ties for the Bow Tie Cause. How did you get involved with that?
KR: This one is a long story. Google my name and bow ties and you’ll get the gist of it. Basically, Fox ordered me to start wearing bow ties during the 2010 postseason. [NFL linebacker] Dhani Jones approached me about the Bow Tie Cause that offseason, and I figured, ‘If Fox is going to make me do this again — which they probably would have — why not turn it into something positive?’
DP: How has your career as a sportswriter changed with the advent of social media platforms like Twitter?
KR: A lot. Much more immediacy now. More pressure to report right away.
DP: What do you think of blogs like Deadspin and Bleacher Report, which often eschew traditional journalism in favor of user-submitted tips and content?
KR: I love Deadspin — they keep a lot of us honest. Bleacher Report, I’m not as familiar with. It’s a big world. Plenty of room for all kinds of media.
DP: Who has been the toughest interview of your career?
KR: Albert Pujols after his three-homer game in last year’s World Series. He wanted no part of talking; he had been ripped for not talking after one of the previous games. He wouldn’t look at me. It was just uncomfortable. Did the same thing with other television reporters that night, too.
DP: What’s your opinion on baseball’s new postseason format?
KR: Like it.
DP: Any predictions for Cy Young and MVP?
KR: Price and Cabrera, Dickey and Posey.
DP: What did you study at Penn?
KR: English, if you want to call it studying. I spent almost all of my time at the DP.
DP: How did you get involved with the DP?
KR: Was editor of my high school paper, had strong interest in journalism. Wanted to do news and sports. Sports editor told me that really wasn’t possible and that the sports guys were cooler. That was readily apparent. I chose sports!
DP: What’s your favorite moment from your career at the DP?
KR: Oh man, every night. I loved the DP.
DP: What did you learn from your time at the DP?
KR: Just about everything. Only thing I had to learn later was how to be a professional, working every day at a job. But all the basics came from working at the DP.
DP: How did you get into the sports journalism business?
KR: Applied to over 75 papers. Rejected by all but one — the one where my fellow DP alum, John Dellapina, already was working. He was a year ahead of me. And he helped me get hired by the York (Pa.) Daily Record.
DP: Any advice for the aspiring sports journalists out there in the world?
KR: Best advice is this: Work hard. Nothing is given to you.
DP: Finally, which do you prefer: your bow ties or Craig Sager’s suits?
KR: Hah! Bow ties.
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