Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reported today that Rob Dibble will no longer broadcast games for the Washington Nationals:
"In the wake of controversial comments Rob Dibble made about Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals announced today Dibble will no longer broadcast their games. The separation will be permanent, and the Nationals -- not MASN -- made the decision. The Nationals offered no further comment on the matter."
In the past I have been hesitant to rip on Rob Dibble here, or at least give out my honest opinion on the man. The bottom line for me has been that while I was in no way a fan of his antics, I really didn't think it was too productive to bring any more negativity into Nationals baseball than there had been in the past year and a half. Did Dibble drive me crazy with some of the things he said? No question. However there was always the mute button and complaining overwhelmingly about his comments just gave him too much importance.
And why give him another reason to hate bloggers?
Now that Dibble is gone, and the sound is back on my T.V., I think it is okay to reflect on my feelings and critique the Nationals former broadcaster not just as an entertainer but as a professional.
One thing that you can't deny about Rob Dibble is that he cared. He cared about the Nationals success, and he cared about the Nationals players. He cared so much that he was often called a homer, a fanboy, and that side of him undoubtably showed in his broadcasting style. You could often hear him cheering during plays, ragging on other teams despite what the scoreboard said.
At times, the amount that he cared seeped into his ability to call the game in a realistic manor. He unquestionably thought too highly of his own players to the point that he was no longer an analyst, but just an average joe who had one too many at the local sports bar. He thought his team was invincible and would fight anyone who said anything negative about his crew.
Dibble cared so much that he often times seemed as if he wished he were actually part of the team. Not a night would go by without him using the term "we" or "us," and this is partly understandable as a former athlete covering a team that, lets face it, he probably still wishes he was playing for. I personally have worked in a professional clubhouse and have observed very closely team broadcasters. When they are in the locker room, they are on cloud nine. They love to walk around, chat up the players about their game, their progress, and just be a part of the team. Perhaps it is their chance to relive past glory, or the glory they never fully gave up in the first place. However, these broadcasters left their personal feelings in the locker room and when they got in the booth became analysts. In the end, Dibble's representation of MASN and the Nationals communications staff was just plain unprofessional.
It was the amount that Dibble cared that eventually polarized him from the Nationals fan base. The problem was that he cared in the worst kind of way. He cared so much that if anyone would speak poorly about him, he would lie, and say that he didn't care. But he did. We all knew that he did deep down in his gut. But instead of listening to his criticisms, or even attempting to understand them, he denied them and discounted their credibility. He attacked his attackers with a third-grade level defense mechanism that only furthered the fire which inevitabley lead to his firing. He refused to believe that as a man in his 40's he could be, shocking I know, wrong. He refused to accept reality, and then reality bit him in the butt.
The Washington Nationals organization and fan base will be far better off moving forward without Rob Dibble. The mute setting will no longer be used for Nationals home broadcasts. Bob Carpenter will no longer have to bite his tongue. And most importantly, the Nationals main spokesperson won't be a figure who fans and owners alike will be embarrassed to be represented by.
The Nationals have taken many big steps in 2010, firing Rob Dibble is certainly up there.