The Kalb Report—Inside Baseball: A Conversation with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred

Event will be held on Monday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m., at the National Press Club

“Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.”
—Jacques Barzun

On January 25, 2015, Rob Manfred became just the tenth person in history to hold the office of Commissioner of Baseball.

In the 22nd season opener of The Kalb Report, legendary journalist and lifetime baseball fan Marvin Kalb will explore the beauty, simplicity, complexity, humor, and historical significance of our national pastime with the man now charged with overseeing the sport and maintaining its integrity.

The Kalb Report will take place on Monday, September 28, at 8 p.m. ET, in the main ballroom of the National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW, in Washington, D.C.

“‘Play ball,’ a short phrase that ignites hope, pain, and passion in many a baseball heart, provides a glorious opportunity for a fan (that’s me!) to talk baseball with the man who currently manages America’s pastime, Rob Manfred.” said Kalb. “I have but an hour of his time and a lifetime of questions, and we’ll get started on September 28, at 8 p.m. Play ball!”

Rob Manfred is intimately familiar with the challenges facing baseball, having served as second-in-command to former commissioner Bud Selig since 2013 and as an executive for MLB since 1998. He has wasted no time in putting his own stamp on the game. In his first season at the helm, Manfred addressed an immediate concern—the pace of play—by instituting new rules to speed up games before the 2015 season began. He also recently made news with his decision not to reinstate Shoeless Joe Jackson while saying he would meet with Pete Rose, who has been banned from the game since 1988 for gambling, which could lead to a decision about Rose’s requested reinstatement.

While most baseball watchers believe the sport is on solid financial ground—with about $9 billion in revenues—some see specific issues as threatening its popularity, including a lack of diversity in ownership of teams and management positions, as well as the after-effects of the era of performance-enhancing drugs, which challenged the integrity of the game.

The Kalb Report series is coproduced by The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center, University of Maryland University College, and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at University of Maryland.

For the 13th consecutive year, the series is underwritten by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

Since 1994, the partnership has produced 88 forums with guests including Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Rupert Murdoch, Diane Sawyer, Roger Ailes, Katie Couric, Bill O’Reilly, Bob Costas, Hillary Clinton, Ken Burns, Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel, and Walter Cronkite.

The Kalb Report was most recently honored with a Gold World Medal in the 2015 New York Festivals International Radio Awards competition for its program “Writing History: Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and Journalism’s Finest Hour.” In 2012 the series received both a Gold World Medal and the overall Grand Award in the New York Festivals for “Anchoring 9-11, The Day and the Decade” with Dan Rather, Brit Hume, Charles Gibson, and Frank Sesno.

The Kalb Report series is distributed nationally by American Public Television. Oklahoma Educational Television Authority serves as the presenting station. The Kalb Report also airs on the public radio channels of Sirius—XM Satellite Radio, Federal News Radio in Washington, D.C. (1500 AM), District of Columbia Cable Television, University of Maryland Cable Television, and NewsChannel 8 in Washington, D.C. Each program is also streamed live at press.org and kalb.gwu.edu.

Moderator Marvin Kalb is Edward R. Murrow Professor Emeritus at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Over the course of his distinguished 30-year career in broadcast journalism, Mr. Kalb served as chief diplomatic correspondent for both CBS News and NBC News and moderator of Meet the Press. He went on to serve as the founding director of Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. Among his many honors are two Peabody Awards, the DuPont Prize from Columbia University, the 2006 Fourth Estate Award from the National Press Club, and more than a half-dozen Overseas Press Club awards. Mr. Kalb has authored or co-authored 14 books including two best-selling novels. His latest book is Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine, and the New Cold War.

Executive Producer Michael Freedman is a senior vice president and professor of the practice at University of Maryland University College, as well as a professorial lecturer in journalism at the George Washington University. Mr. Freedman is the former general manager of CBS Radio Network News and former managing editor for the broadcast division of United Press International. He is the recipient of more than 85 honors for journalistic excellence, including 14 Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Senior Producer Heather Date is an associate vice president at University of Maryland University College and a former CNN producer. She is the recipient of the Alliance for Women in Media’s 2011 Gracie Award for Outstanding Producer of a News Program for her work on The Kalb Report.

The Kalb Report series is directed by Robert Vitarelli, a 39-year CBS News veteran and a Directors Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award winner.