Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Knight in shining .... eh, whatever

So there's all this talk about Rob Dibble. Should he stay? Should he go? Does anyone really care all that much? (My three cents are: eh; eh; I certainly hope not.)

But let's presume Dibble is gone after this season. Obviously, MASN will need to find a replacement. Now, there's a bit of a difference between "MASN" and "the Nationals" in this context, maybe, at least if I understand the situation correctly. As part of MLB's pact with the devil, TV game announcers might be less of the organization's call and more in the not-so-sound discretion of the Websterites. Or perhaps not. I don't know whose call that truly is, and I don't care. At any rate, the answer is on call tonight, and has been for a week or so. To borrow a phrase from Gary Templeton, if Dibble is departin', then Ray Knight should be startin'.

I can't believe I'm saying this. But I am. Ray Knight, who once wore (and I swear this is true) a pee-yellow blazer on the MASN set, should rightfully be the team's color commentator.

a) Knight comes across as a generally amiable guy -- a little bit of a dull knife perhaps, but it's hard to dislike him.

b) Knight works well with Bob Carpenter, another folksy/nice type, who seems to have been entrusted with the play-by-play role for the foreseeable future.

c) Knight seemingly has no contrived angle or persona. He's not Don Sutton (ivory-tower tone while clueing us into the merits of a so-called "Plan" that hadn't really hatched yet) or Rob Dibble (wannabe Hawk Harrelson with some 'tude and some bad excuses for jailhouse 'tats). Not everything has to be about the big picture or about some ideal of toughness. With Knight, things are pretty well on the ground.

d) Knight is actually a pretty good game analyst. He'll tell you what's happening and why, and he'll do so without much spin. I like that.

Add it all up, and the answer is sitting right in front of us, right now. I'm faily amazed that I've come to this conclusion, but I have. Go Ray.

Friday, August 27, 2010

It doesn't matter

This is probably a very rash post, which will likely be noted by most who read it as irrational and lacking a certain brand of perspective, but it just doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how "careful" you are with a pitcher, how much you "monitor" things, or how assuredly you avoid any usage that might even smack of "abuse." It doesn't matter. Injury can happen, it would seem, on any given pitch, maybe even the best pitch a guy has ever pitched.

The lesson, I suppose, is get what you can while you can.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In Defense of Rob Dibble

1,278-time Emmy Winner Jimmy "Not Jimy" Williams writes a defense of famous meathead Rob Dibble in today's (yesterday's) Examiner. That's the newspaper that's usually laying on an empty seat on a Metro car that causes you to pause, wondering if you should push it to the floor, or sit on it, eventually causing you to opt to stand for fear of what kinds of fluids some previous passenger may have deposited in its pages.

I won't give it the full FJM treatment, though it richly deserves it.

OK MASN Nationals color analyst Rob Dibble does not see eye to eye with the way the team is handling star pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Some bloggers and message board people are blaming the team or MASN for his two game absence saying that the team does not want to hear the truth.

He then proceeds to say that this couldn't possibly be the truth, since a MASN spokesman explained that it wasn't. Sure, cause a MASN spokesman wouldn't ever spin or protect the team/player/broadcast-partner/peter-angelos. Yep. Spokesmen are the most trustworthy men on earth. Their word is their bond.

Then he goes on a long anecdote about Skip Carey ... or something. I don't remember. I sorta fell asleep there for a bit. Oh, yeah. Going back. What the hell is a "message board people?"

So where is Dibble?
He is not a shy person and he would likely make a comment of some kind but he has said nothing.

Maybe he's a insecure pussy who got punched in the nose and is cowering in fear? Or maybe he'll just go on his show this morning and rip the internet some more for ruining him. Via the twit-machine, he said a bunch of stupid stuff, including that it was disgusting "to have some guy transcribe my words so he can gain fame at my expense."

So the lesson we take from that is that we shouldn't actually pay attention to what he says? He can just run his mouth, shitting out whatever verbal diarrhea spews out, and it's fine. OK, I guess.

I have many times seen talent clash with the teams executives, or network brass over the years. Most of the time people do not need to be told to sit out a game.
Perhaps Dibbs just thought he needed a couple days rest and since today is Bryce Harper day at Natstown he did not want to be a distraction.
I really feel that taking the days off was Dibbs choice and that he was not forced by anyone to do so.

I'm sure he believes all those politicians are taking time off to spend with their families too.

Perhaps he did do it completely voluntarily with absolutely no pressure from anyone else. But ascribing it to him not wanting to be a sideshow? Doesn't that assume a certain level of self-awareness from Dibble that, well, he probably lacks? I mean the dude thinks he's being persecuted by the Internet and that fat, pasty, impotent schlubs like me (or Steinberg) matter a fucking bit.

Doing baseball for a team that is not in contention is a grind and it takes its toll on broadcasters just as much as it does players. So taking a a couple of days off just to get away from the game is a good idea.

Absolutely. And spontaneous vacations can be just as fun! I know I like to just take random mid-week days in August. Wooo!

Other possibility: Dibble just didn't wanna be around Bob Carpenter's 4-game long Cardinals' woody?

I think that the Nationals broadcast crew of Bob Carpenter and Dibble are among the best local announcers in all of baseball period.

I'd agree. They're certainly among the top 30-40 pairs.

(I suspect Mr. Williams is like one of those people who, when ranking mid-90s 1B would declare that 87% of the league was above average.)

I know that this feeling is shared by the vast majority of Nationals fans however there are a small minority of malcontents who find refuge on the message boards and enjoy ripping the MASN duo.

Let's break this down. How does he know that the vast majority agree. Vast majority implies what? 80%? I'd love to see the polling numbers or focus group data he has on that. I'm sure if I don a rubber glove, apply some baby oil, have Mr. Williams bend over, and I reach far enough up his ass, I'll be able to find the survey data.

Do I enjoy ripping the MASN duo? Yep. More than I enjoy listening to 'em. But I'm not sure it's a small minority. Do a twitter search on Dibble after a random game. Ignore the lunkheads like me and Reiss, and it's probably 80/20 against, just from the random people subjected to them.

Are there people who like them? Absolutely. Are there people who like Applebee's? Absolutely. Are there people who like Asian eel porn? Absolutely.

Look I have no problem if a fan does not like Carpenter and or Dibble we certainly are not all going to like the same things but it should be done in a civil manor.

I wish I had a civil manor. Despite like $2,500 in mortgage payments a month, all I have is a 1,900 sq foot condo. :-(

A local broadcast of any sport including Major League Baseball is a three hour infomercial for the team aimed squarely at the fans.

Absolutely. Won't disagree with this.

But if the fans aren't watching. Or they're tuning out. Or they're turning the volume down. Or their announcer's pussily ripping his players at his second job in a way he wouldn't do on that TV, is it really much of an ad?

I have done well over a 1,000 live broadcasts and I know Dibble is called a homer.

Worst. Appeal. To. Authority. EVAR!

Runners up, Same Category:

I have won over 14,000 emmies and I know that George Washington is our first president.

I have bedded over 3 women and I know that Oscar Meyer makes delicious bologna.

I once ran a mile in under 14 minutes and I know that my prostate is swollen.

He is the perfect homer. He is openly happy when things go right and clearly upset when things go wrong

I've often thought that the attacks on him for being a homer are a bit unfair. Lots of people do like that approach. Where the homerism gets me is the "GET UP GET UP!" crap. And the bitching. Oh, the bitching.

Ted Leitner in San Diego calls the team he broadcasts “My Padres.” In Chicago Ron Santo openly cheers from the booth for the Cubs, and "Get up! Get up! Get outta here! Gone!"is Bob Uecker's signature call of a Brewers home run. These are just a few examples of the homers in baseball.
All of these men are local legends and long time fan favorites for doing what they are paid to do making the team they broadcast their own in a way the listener can identify with and enjoy.

Ron Santo played for about 100 seasons for the Cubs. He's been part of the organization since Tinkers fed the ball to Evers. If he's a homer, it's because he's fucking earned it.

And we're comparing him to Bob Uecker? Brewers fans don't like Ueck because he's a homer. They like him because he's kick-ass funny, and because he's been doing games since before Bud Selig sold his first used Model-T. (Did you ever see clips of Uecker on Carson? Do it. I haven't watched this one, but I'm already vouching for it.) Dibble's, at his heart, a humorless prick. These guys are beloved because they've earned it. Dibble? Blah.

Oh, and Ted Leitner? Ugh. Have you heard him? He's Ted Baxter come to life. Smarm-o-riffic.

Carpenter and Dibble’s job are to get fans to like the players on the team, to know them and most of all to want come out to Nationals Park to see them play.

It is. And is Dibble doing that job when he's telling fans that the only pitcher on the team worth caring about is a pussy for not pitching through pain like a man?

They spend 200 days a year with these players, more time then they spend with their families. You become emotionally invested in the team so if Dibble says come on “dig, dig, dig” when Ryan Zimmerman runs to first it is because he cares.

Question: Does this mean that the 100 or so other announcers who don't grunt, bleat, and rant over the play don't care? Gosh, he stomps all over the plays cause he just cares too darn much! Fiddlesticks!

Broadcasting a team that is coming off a 100 loss season and showing signs of getting better is a challenge. Some nights is a joy to do the games while other nights the announcers are just as angry and frustrated as the fans when a bone head play is made but Carpenter and Dibble are always entertaining and that is not as easy as they make it look.

Absolutely. It's a job that I could never do. Especially night after night after night. But does that mean that they're free from criticism? Are we only allowed to complain about something if we, ourselves, have done it? I can't complain about the bus driver who lurches in traffic? I can't complain about the President because I've never held office? It's a lame argument, no matter how it's used; it's typically the jock argument that people like Dibble make.

Yes, it's a hard job. But that's why they make good money. And that's why (hypothetically) they've fought off all the other competition to get one of what's a relatively few number of jobs.

And it's why singling out one particular comment in isolation isn't really a fair attack. When you talk as much as Dibble has to for his job, he's going to say stupid things. But when those stupid things keep happening, and you see patterns, then it's fair game. The grunts are a pattern. The whining about umpires (fair and unfair) are a pattern. The bone-headed women/Strasburg comments are a bit of a pattern.

And it's those patterns that make people not like Dibble.

Maybe it's a small minority of internet malcontents, as Mr. Williams (agreeing with Dibble) alleges. But it doesn't seem that way.


A few seasons ago, it looked like the Nats were going to dump Bob Carpenter. After failing to lure Dan Schulman to the job, they brought back Bob Carpenter, claiming that lots of support for him influenced their decision to bring him back. A few people have asked me what they could do to let MASN know how they feel about Dibble. That one's easy. They have an email comment form here. If you like Dibble, there's your place to say you want him back. If you hope they float him out to see on a flaming pyre, there's your chance, too. If you're going the latter route, though, I'd recommend that you be more respectful than I typically am. If you're the kind of person who watches fewer games because of the announcer, or who typically has to turn down the volume because of him (thereby depriving the team's few advertisers of their full commercial sponsorship dollars) the network may want to know. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Just Curious

While not having Rob Dibble on the air is a joyous thing (sadly I was otherwise occupied tonight, and missed out on Ray Knight's banality), it does make me wonder ...

Why would he get put into time out after ripping on Strasburg but not for ripping on the broads? Stan Kasten's quote is priceless and almost makes me like the guy again, but is that really a dumpable offense? I guess the only way it makes sense is that if (as it seems it may have) it pushed enough people who were indifferent to his general obnoxiousness into the "he's a douchebag" category.

And as I tweeted, when did being a jackhole become an issue with the Nats? It's who they hired. And they certainly kept Jackhole-in-Chief Jim Bowden around 14 years after his expiration date.

I wonder how much of this is some sort of tension with his XM duties. Dibble said something that he never would've said on MASN. (He basically admitted as such in the full transcript.) Does that not set well with the team?

As I sorta said with the whole firestorm with his comments on dames, there's part of me that wants to defend him. But his general douchbagosity makes it hard, and makes me not want to give him the benefit of the doubt. I guess that makes me no better a person than he is.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It Was The Best Of Times. It Was The Blurst Of Times

Damn monkeys...

So last week as a pretty damn good week to be a Nats fan, no? Or was that this week? Time really is a blur now when you're having this much fun with quality baseball being played.

For my take on what the draft signings mean, and how this might someday be a great week (though I'm not necessarily holding my breath), click on over here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Can't Spell Douchebag Without D-I-B-B-L-E

Or maybe you can. I wasn't very good at math.

The only thing I'll say about the ol' Dibble thing is that I think it's complete and utter horseshit that Todd Webster and the gang at MASN are so heavily moderating comments that anything even mildly against Dibble -- even respectful without swears! -- isn't getting posted. That's shittastic PR, and pretty fucking shameful. Pretty amazing that the only comments that've made it through have been positive. Could just be a coincidence, right? Scumbags.

OK... one more: Saying that "Gosh, Dibble's a moron because I know a woman who likes baseball" is the worst kind of argument. Rah Rah. Go women. Dibble's a troglodyte, but holding a self-esteem-boosting pity party isn't going to change anything.

One last one: Best point I saw raised... the irony of this whole situation is that Dibster was ripping on some broads for not paying attention to the game... and in the process of doing so he... well... wasn't paying attention to the goddamn game.

Another Data Point

That they may not be as cheap as they once were? They're rapidly moving up to senile ol' grandma who pays you 50 cents when you mow her lawn territory, I guess.

Of course after this many years of profit-taking and the Strasburg attendance windfall, I don't feel too much sympathy for the Lerner great great great great great grandkids.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Nats' Ring of Honor Stinks

The Ring of Honor idea is nice, but broken.

There's only one way to fix it: WWPAD?

(PA meaning Peter Angelos)


Read more. Here. Please!!!

Great Trade! Revisited.

Yep. Still a great trade.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Sez Boz:

Getting a Dunn deal finished shouldn't even be that hard. For weeks, reports have said Dunn wanted $60 million for four years. "That's not true," said one of Dunn's best baseball friends, who talked with him recently but requested anonymity so that Dunn wouldn't hurt him when they hand-slap at home plate after his home runs. "Adam said he wants $13 to 14 million for three years. That's it. And he wants to stay in Washington.

Just three years? Do it. Yesterday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Montreal Whatsits?

The Nats are honoring one of Washington's All-Time greats tonight. And if you think that's a cynical sentence, then you need to read this. SEND HITS!

Yay for Racists!

The Nats are set to unveil their ring of honor tomorrow, which commemorates some of the greats who played in DC, and some place called "Montreal" wherever the hell that is.

One of the DCians being honored is Joe Cronin, a Hall-of-Fame shortstop who managed the Senators to the 1933 World Series. Cronin was a terrific ballplayer, and a solid manager. After his stint with DC, he went to the Red Sox, serving as player-manager, and later manager through 1947. After that, he bumped up to the Sox GM job through 1958. He'd later have a long career with the American League.

Like Frank Robinson, he's had just about every job there is to have in baseball.

Unlike Frank Robinson, ol' Joe was probably a racist.

A few people have studied him closely and not necessarily drawn any conclusions -- at least of strong personal racial convictions. But there's plenty of circumstantial evidence.

Cronin became GM of the Sox in 1947, the year Jackie Robinson broke the color line. He served as GM through 1958. How many black players did the Sox have in that time period? Zippo. Not a single one. The Sox integrated -- becoming the last team to do so -- in 1959, the year after Cronin left. (Pumpsie Green's the answer to the question you may be asking)

Prima Facie? Maybe not. But there's a little bit of smoke there.

It could be leftover from 1945, and the Jackie Robinson tryout. Early in April, the Sox -- with Cronin then acting as manager -- held a tryout from three black players: Sam Jethroe (who'd later win ROY and integrate the Boston Braves), Marvin Williams (who never made it to the majors) and Jackie.

As you can figure out, none of 'em were signed. Glenn Stout wrote a rather long, but fascinating account of the tryout, trying to dispel some of the myths surrounding it.

Moreover, neither Robinson, Jethroe, nor Williams were fooled by the tryout. The three men believed the Red Sox acted without sincerity and none ever expected the club to offer any of them a contract. According to his Negro League teammate Willie Grace, Sam Jethroe soon described the tryout as "a joke" and said Joe Cronin "was just up in the stands with his back turned most of the time. He just sent some of his men out there and told them to throw some balls, hit some balls to us, and then come back and say we had ability."

Robinson and Cronin never got along, as Stout wrote:
Robinson also held Joe Cronin in similar disdain, for over the years Cronin's story about the tryouts changed. Although he initially said the Red Sox southern-based farm clubs made it impossible to sign Robinson, over time his answer changed. He called Boston's failure to sign Robinson a mistake, but absolved himself of responsibility, claiming he was "just the manager" and did not have the authority to sign the players. Cronin and Robinson did not speak; their loathing for one another was mutual and obvious. Robinson, in failing health, appeared in public for the last time at the 1972 World Series. Cronin, then American League president, refused to join Robinson, baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, and others on the mound for the ceremonial first pitch. He remained under the stands eating a hot dog. Robinson died a few weeks later.

I can't find a link on it, but the Sox later held a tryout for Willie Mays during the time that Cronin was GM. He didn't sign him. HE DIDN'T SIGN WILLIE MAYS!!!!

Sure, eras were different. And it's not always practical to judge someone on today's moral standard, but he wasn't even doing what his contemporaries were doing. As a player he deserves the honor. But not as a person. Though seeing his name permanently linked to Buck Leonard's and Josh Gibson's is a nice kind of irony.