If you don’t know who Rob Dibble is, I don’t blame you. And if you do know who he is, his recent radio rants probably won’t surprise you. Nevertheless, it’s all just too good not to talk about.
Rob Dibble was a lot of things, a lot of things that gave him a reputation for being a hothead and, to put it kindly, not the most thoughtful baseball personality. Once, in 1991, Dibble was so pissed off after a game he felt the need to hurl a baseball into the centerfield seats, where it struck a woman bystander. As if that isn’t enough class for you, later that year he tried pegging Chicago Cub outfielder Doug Dascenzo in the back. And, the next season, he finally turned his rage on his own team when he got into a locker room donnybrook with his manager, Lou Piniella.
Seriously…how was he not cast to play ‘The Hulk’?
So, when injury ended his career, he naturally took his inflated ego where many ex-athletes do: the airwaves. He started out as a company man for FOX Sports Radio, bouncing around their various programs before he got a contract offer to replace Don Sutton as the Washington Nationals’ color commentator. And that, my friends, is where our story begins.
In 2010, after Strasburg felt some soreness in his arm, Dibble called the young ace out by saying he needed to “suck it up”. Then it came out that that “soreness” was actually a torn UCL, requiring the infamous Tommy John Surgery. Oops. But even after the news about Strasburg’s UCL came out, Dibble maintained that Strasburg should’ve played through the pain.
So, naturally, he got canned.
He was fired shortly thereafter, and Dibble says it’s because Strasburg’s father wrote the Nationals about Dibble. Stan Kasten, then the president of the Nats, called Dibble’s story “fictional” and “sad”. No matter, Dibble returned to the air for Fox Sports where he continued to talk about sports.
It seemed that he and the Nationals had moved on, but that was before Strasburg started garnering national headlines once again. This whole season has been distracted by the young flamethrower and his expected season shut down. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the matter, and, as you might expect, Dibble has one or two of his own.
The 48-year-old baseball personality has spent recent evenings on his radio program tearing the Washington Nationals a new one, and he’s taking no prisoners. Stephen Strasburg continues to be a wimp for not stepping up and being more vocal in the matter. Strasburg’s dad continues to baby him by stepping in and protecting his son. Mike Rizzo is a moron of a GM that obviously has done nothing right in his tenure with Washington. The Lerner family is less like George and more like Arthur Steinbrenner. These expert opinions are just some of the things you can expect to hear from Dibble on his radio program.
But wait, it gets better.
Here are some other points in the Rob Dibble manifesto. Strasburg is so naive that he thinks he’s the only one out there on the field when he pitches. He also, is no longer a phenom, but just a half-way decent pitcher. He, Jordan Zimmermann, and Drew Storen were rushed to the big leagues and the organization never pretended to have their welfare in mind until now.
So let’s begin to breakdown Dibble’s very informative insight that doesn’t sound AT ALL like an ex-employee crying over old wounds (do you bold or italicize for sarcasm?). There’s some things Dibble says that aren’t even worth a response, but as for Strasburg somehow being introverted and rolling over for the Nationals organization, that’s just not true. Everyone has seem time and time again just how fiercely competitive this kid is. Earlier this season, he was pulled early from a start when a problem with a finger nail and his throwing hand flared up. Strasburg was visibly upset, but he didn’t throw a baseball at anyone, so Dibble probably didn’t pick up on that.
Strasburg DOES want to compete, but he understands there’s an entire organization in play here. If Rizzo and the Lerner’s are thinking “big picture” with his innings limit, Strasburg can dislike it without resorting to some of the tantrums other pitchers (nudge nudge) are used to throwing. I’m sorry that Stephen isn’t turning green and ripping through his jersey over what, after all, is HIS career, Rob.
Then there’s the whole thing with his father. Quite frankly, I’m willing to write his recent comments off as just Dibble continuing to grind his axe over what he believes was a mysterious email that got him fired (because clearly only one person in this world thinks Rob Dibble is an ass), but he’s brought it up so let’s talk about it. Um, no, Strasburg’s father actually isn’t the only parent to get involved with the career of their kin. Just how many times has Archie Manning weighed in on matters pertaining to Peyton and Eli? It happens ALL the time, actually. If I came up with some half-baked theories of my own, I’d say Rob Dibble has some serious daddy issues, but I’ll leave that one to the experts.
Next on the block? Mike Rizzo. Clearly, Mike Rizzo doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing in baseball? His Nationals being 28 games over .500 off of primarily home-grown talent is proof of just that. No, actually Rizzo IS a very good baseball mind. He’s actually the kind of guy that probably would’ve sent Dibble packing because he knows how locker room distractions can derail an entire baseball season (just look at Boston). As far as I can see, Rizzo is batting virtually 1.000 in creating a sustainable and competitive baseball franchise. And the notion he rushed Strasburg, Zimmermann, and Storen to the big leagues? It’s clear now that we’re just fabricating things to complain about. Zim, Storen, and Strasburg were ALL polished college prospects. The fact that Mr. Dibble is blaming their injuries on a supposedly reckless farm system is nothing more pure, unadulterated bull excrement.
And, finally, we come to the Lerner family. Somehow, some way these guys are supposedly horrifically incompetent owners. Why? Because they found a GM who drafts well? Because they hired one of the most underrated managers when their organization was in a pinch? Because they won’t spend money on players just for the sake of spending money of players? Or are they just bad owners because they might’ve had a hand in giving you your walking papers, Rob? The Lerner family, though it took them a few years, have finally got it together. This is an organization making all the right moves at the right time. And if you don’t think they’re willing to spend money, just look at Jayson Werth’s contract. Ted Lerner, at last estimate, was worth $3.3 billion. That is what I like to call “F*** You Money”. What I mean by that is Ted Lerner is so rich, he can go up to anyone and give them the bird without any repercussions, something Dibble wishes he could do. When this family sees the right investment, they make it, and the same bodes true with their ownership of the Nationals.
Now, the funny part in all this is that Washington, D.C. sports radio station 106.7 The Fan actually streams the programming of Fox Sports Radio when its own personalities are off the air. This means, late at night, Rob Dibble has found away once again to speak directly to the sports fans of the nation’s capital. Luckily for him, he lives in Los Angeles, or else he might need to be put into witness protection.
What we can really take away from all this is that we must be thankful Rob Dibble is no longer the broadcasted opinions of the Washington Nationals. As Washington Post blogger Dan Steinberg put it, it would be “must-mute television” right about now. Where Vin Scully–arguably the greatest commentator of our generation–is insightful, thoughtful, and informative, Rob Dibble is a homeless man standing on a soap box proclaiming the world is going to end.
But, luckily for the ears of our nation, Rob Dibble appears to be getting out of the broadcast game. Back in June, it was announced that Dibble was the new head coach of a high school baseball team in Calabassas. If I were on that team, he is what I now know. First, I better be able to pitch until my arm falls off…literally. Second, I don’t care that there are men at the school more powerful than me or Coach Dibble, I should decide I’m going to do what I want WHEN I want or else I risk looking like a bit of a milksop. And finally, no matter what happens in my baseball career, I should NEVER let my father be, well, my father. Actually, that last note brings us to the all-too touching conclusion of our story. Because, in accepting his new job as Calabassas High’s baseball coach, the first man Rob Dibble thanked was — yup, you guessed it — his father.
I guess hypocrisy in baseball lives on.
NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing, he is on Twitter! Make sure you follow him @bclienesch for MLB updates and other shenanigans!