The commentator 
On the radio 
Stated that “Gary Sanchez has been maligned by the New York sports media.” 

I liked the use of the word maligned.
I knew it meant something like bad, but I didn’t know how to wield it with precision.
So I started to apply my reading comprehension skills. 
I thought of what I knew. 
I knew suffixes connect to the root word malign 
To make words I do know, 
Words like malignant
which is often used to describe tumors,
Which are bad 
Words like “mal”
Which is Spanish for “bad” 

But the commentator used the word 'malign-ED'
Which means rather than using ‘malign’ - the adjective form 
like you would use
if you said something 'had a malign effect' or 'a malign influence' or 'a malign view' 
The commentator added an -ED (‘maligned’)  
Making the word a (transitive) verb.
Not an adjective 

It is a transitive verb because “maligned” requires a direct object.
Direct objects are nouns, noun phrases or pronouns that identify
receives the action
of a transitive verb in a sentence. 
Here “Gary Sanchez” is the direct object (The New York media is an indirect object) 

Turning to the dictionary definition for additional
The definition of maligned,
according to Miriam Webster 
is to “utter injuriously misleading or false reports about: speak evil of” 

So did the commentator use the word correctly? 
If the commentator meant to use the “speak evil of” definition of maligned
then the commentator is accurate in their usage.
If the commentator meant to say that the New York sports media’s badmouthing was not only evil but ALSO misleading or false 
Whether that usage is correct,
is more complicated
To figure that out 
Would require an analysis into Sanchez’s stats, among other things.

In the spirit of construing word usage 
to be accurate where possible
I do not think the commentator swung and missed in their use of ‘maligned’.  
They just didn’t completely hit it out of the park 
Which is fine 
Because hitting things out of the park
Can be left to Gary 
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