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Rob Dibble and the Nats' "Circle of Misery"


(By Al Behrman - AP)


I've argued this before, but the lightning rod that is Rob Dibble, in my estimation, does his best work when the Nats are playing in their tragic mode. Compare him, if you will, to the other controversial D.C. broadcaster: Larry Michael. Both men, as a friend pointed out this week, are gigantic homers. Dibble, though, will turn his homerism into ruthless assaults on the team's poor quality of play when it offends him. Whereas Larry Michael will read an advertising spot for club seats.

The Nats are still likely to finish this season with a significantly better record than they had in 2009, with at least several pieces that might make fans genuinely excited in the future. But the present is getting ugly again; they're currently only five games ahead of the pace set by the 2008 Nats, who were 35-58 after 93 games and wound up with a league-worst 102 losses.

The Nats are also leading the majors in errors for the second year in a row, and in the second inning against the Reds on Monday night, Dibble yet again lost his patience with the sloppy play. First he called for the Nats to stop playing their veteran utility guys and to turn their jobs over to what passes for young prospects on the big-league roster, especially if they can play defense.

"You've got 70 days to start getting them used to playing in the big leagues every day," Dibble said. "Listen, the pitchers will get better if people catch the ball behind them. That's the bottom line. It's pretty simple stuff. Catch the ball, the pitchers will pitch better, you'll win more games."

Then Willie Harris missed the cut-off man, and J.D. Martin walked like 700 men, and the Reds went up 4-0, and another game was essentially lot before I had even settled in front of the TV.

"This is what we talked about," Dibble said. "It's just not acceptable at this level. And once again, my own opinion, I stick Justin Maxwell and Bernadina out there every day to solidify my defense. What we've seen from Nyjer Morgan and now Willie Harris, just put your best defenders out there. And if other teams want to try to trade for them, so be it, but kicking the ball around and giving extra runs and extra outs, it's just not Major League Baseball....

"A little bit of blame goes on J.D. for the walks. Guys start standing back on their heels out there, you're walking people and it's hot. It's all-inclusive. One big circle of misery."

"One big circle of misery" is Dibble at his best. Fumbling over the rules (as he did in the sixth inning), howling for balls to "get down" (as he did earlier in the game) and saying the 2011 Nats could be like the Reds in the '70s....that's a story for another day.

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 20, 2010; 11:06 AM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Comments

No need for an overhaul. The team is fine. The glass is half-full. Keep the team together. They are just waiting for a spark to spring their trap. All is well.

Nothing to see here.

Posted by: DangerNat | July 20, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Dibble is right on as usual. A Homer he is not, homers don't critique.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 20, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Dibble is great - and his right on the monee. I was glad to seem him sporting his short sleeves again too? I thought he might have gotten into trouble in Atlanta, when he started coming out with thermals to cover his arms.

Anyway, Dibble is spot on. Rigglemans favoritism to his perpetually erring veterans is inexplicable. Adam Kennedy, Christian Guzman, and Willie Harris just haven't been getting it done - yet they still get a fair share of playing time. I'd like to see more of Gonzalez, Morse, and Maxwell - to get them ready for next year.

I was in love with Riggleman in the first part of the year, but I just don't know if he has the right personality to will this team to win. He's too forgiving and wishy-washy. When has he ever gotten angry? When has he ever sounded urgent?

Posted by: illwill24 | July 20, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Middle infield is just awful.

Anyone got an idea how to fix it?

Posted by: 202character | July 20, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

A surprisingly decent critique by the meathead, but he's still below the Mendoza line overall. How much do you want to bet he contradicts this by the end of the Reds series?

Posted by: doubleuefwhy | July 20, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

The FIX IS ON! That Nats are paid to lose.

Posted by: richs91 | July 20, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I _think_ I know what doubleuefwhy is saying, and, if I do, I agree.

Dibble is Mr Contradiction man, always right on the spot with his after-the-fact critique. If Strasburg gets hit on his fastsball, Dibble's the first one with, "look, everybody knows you're going to throw fastballs, you have to mix it up." The next inning, when somebody gets a hit off Stras's curve, Dibble's the first one with, "look, when push comes to shove, you gotta go with your best pitch."

And his fight with Ray Knight over whether Stras was throwing too many strikes was a classic. After Strasburg had thrown 17 consecutive strikes (and let up two consecutive key 0-2 singles) Knight said that Strasburg needs to throw some 0-2 pitches out of the strikezone to get batters missing. Dibble went ballistic. And then petulant. And then had to mention his world serires.

Not only was Knight right, but the next day while Dibble was interviewing McCatty, McCatty agreed with Knight, and (in the paper) so did Strasburg. And so did any other thinking fan.

Yes -- it's great that he's both a homer and critical of bad play. But he's also "never wrong" even when he contradicts himself -- and when a player gets a hit it's almost always the pitcher's fault. Way tiring. I'll take Knight any day.

Posted by: ADCWonk | July 20, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Alberto at second can fix 50% of the infield, plus he hits quite well

Posted by: BurgwithaU | July 20, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I enjoyed Dibble going off far more than the game itself last night.

Posted by: jgs61 | July 20, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Dibble is a joy to listen to. Very entertaining and insigtful analysist. And comparing him to Larry Michael is an insult. Larry Michael is a Snyder nerd who can't even say the word "football". He calls it "fuball" and it drives me nuts.

Posted by: Overtime58 | July 20, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Dibble is a joy to listen to. Very entertaining and insigtful analysist. And comparing him to Larry Michael is an insult. Larry Michael is a Snyder nerd who can't even say the word "football". He calls it "fuball" and it drives me nuts.

Posted by: Overtime58 | July 20, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Somebody please tape Nyjer Morgan to the goalpost, or the trainer's table if we don't have a goalpost available, and leave him behind in Cincinnati. Tell Willy Harris he has to walk home -- to Syracuse. Put Gonzalez at 2B, Bernadina in CF, Morse in RF and give Devin Harris the backup C job.

Headline: Riggs! Do Something!

Posted by: eyestreet | July 20, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Dan,

Complaining about Dribble is really getting old. Look, he has a fanbase. Nats fans enjoy listening to someone root for their team. If you have a mediocre team, you need a guy like Dribble doing commentary. Its more fun to watch baseball on TV.

So please stop acting like a child. Do you guys have a private conflict or something? Let his employers determine whether or not he's doing a good job. Stick to reporting on sports, not reporting on other reporters.

Posted by: thewrittenword | July 20, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Middle infield is just awful.

Anyone got an idea how to fix it?

Posted by: 202character | July 20, 2010 12:06 PM

Offer more money for better players...

http://www.federalbaseball.com/2010/2/4/1292738/washington-nationals-sources-say

Posted by: Kev29 | July 20, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Dibble is great! Larry Michael not even close. Don't know why they keep him.

Posted by: bobilly2 | July 20, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Dibble's like a loudmouthed teenager. He never shuts up, like he's on the radio and has to fill air space. Jeez, I remember the daze at Columbia school of broadcasting where the big thing was 'no dead air - it's lost money'. That's true for radio, but there's no need to constantly go on and on while you're doing TV. Oh, he's a homer alright - he'll be talking tonight about how Luis Atilano 'just needs to get that sinker working, and go deep into the game' when the guy throws 85 and got the daylights pounded out of him in 2 1/3 innings his last start at AAA. But of course he'll just gloss that over instead of saying the guy doesn't have major league stuff and never will. See 'keys to the game' tonight. It's all there. The people that like homers are the same people that don't care whether the team wins, because as far as they're concerned, everything's groovy in Nats Nation. Maybe he can pat Rizzo on the back after he unloads what little offense they have at the trade deadline for a single A arm.

Posted by: Brue | July 20, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Dibble is to Michael is like a grilled cheese sandwhich is to dog turds. Grilled cheese might not be fine dining but it's edible (and even enjoyable, most of the time). Dog turds are dog turds and must be avoided. I stopped listening to Sonny, Sam and Frank when Frank was kicked to the curb. And as much as I love Sonny and Sam, Larry is so much worse that I cannot stomach what he does to the game. Makes it unbearable - which it usually is even without him, so it is pouring salt on a bleeding wound. I would rather have Deion wearing burgundy and gold on the field than Larry Michael in the broadcast booth. He is that toxic. And perhaps Snyder's most unforgivable move was replacing Herzog with Michael.

Posted by: bdean1 | July 20, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I'll take Michael over DRIBBLE any day (or Night)Call him a homer or whatever, He is a loud mouth turn off that will drive a point into the ground. His "selective" (What has Kennedy done lately or at all) criticism of players is criminal, and his know it all attitude is sickening. His lap dog sidekick Carpenter is no better. GET A CLUE GUYS. Dump Dibble and Carpenter!!!

Posted by: Badwisky | July 20, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Dibble is usually right on with his comments. Anybody that knows good baseball would agree with him 95% of the time. The Nats are just a bad team.

I turned to a friend of mine at the bar last night just as the game was starting and formed a prediction along the lines of the Nats having a complete collapse in the second half of the season. Bad record, clubhouse dissolution, the whole deal. They got off to a good start fulfilling that last night.

Posted by: LouLewis | July 20, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Please don't lump me in with Nats fans who enjoy somebody cheering their team cuz I'm not one of them.

He's an absolute bore who's a typical ex-player know-it-all. And he has perfect 20-20 hindsight vision. As has been pointed out he'll jump all over a pitcher who gives up a hit on a curve ball to a bottom of the order guy. Same thing happens an inning later and now it's "these are major league hitters, you can't just throw fastballs".

Another one: why do starters use all their pitches in the first couple of innings?

Know how many ML starts Dribble had in his career? Zero.

All this expertise coming from the guy who once drilled a hitter in the back on purpose...while he was running to first just because he bunted on him!

He's the worst color guy I've ever heard, period. Ron Darling's first day in the booth was better.

Posted by: pwilly | July 20, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Rob Dibble > Larry "The Hack" Michael because:

1. He actually did play the game on a major league level

2. He didn't inexplicably replace a legend who was no where near retirement.

Posted by: DocHolliday1906 | July 20, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Know how many ML starts Dribble had in his career? Zero.

___

That's because he was a relief pitcher.

http://espn.go.com/talent/danpatrick/s/dibblebio.html

Posted by: b_rod | July 20, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Dibble is terrible. Still 10 times better than "company man" Michaels.

Posted by: dbunkr | July 20, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Dibble can leave any time. Ron darling was much better.

Posted by: misterjrthed | July 20, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I like Dibble. He gets right to it and has some passion for the game. That's why DC fans don't like him because they no next to nothing about baseball and the same goes for the Wa Post. Gee what's the front page headlines on the Sports page this time. High School Women's Gymnastics??? Dibble has it right. Go with the young guys in the outfield. Give them a chance. Who's Larry Michael's???

Posted by: dog13 | July 20, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I like Dibble. He gets right to it and has some passion for the game. That's why DC fans don't like him because they know next to nothing about baseball and the same goes for the Wa Post. Gee what's the front page headlines on the Sports page this time. High School Women's Gymnastics??? Dibble has it right. Go with the young guys in the outfield. Give them a chance. Who's Larry Michaels???

Posted by: dog13 | July 20, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I love Rob Dibble. Knowledgeable and opinionated. He's right on target most of the time, and rarely annoys me.

Posted by: NatsLubber | July 20, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

What Larry Michaels has to do with Rob Dibble is a complete mystery to this reader.

Posted by: mgilham | July 20, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Dibble has a lot of solid baseball insight, a lot of homerism, and some entertaining ridiculousness everyday. Overall a good mix.

Posted by: 202character | July 20, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Another good one Dan!

Love the Dibbs because he doesn't paint the rosey picture, he tells it like it is. I'm sick of the LernerStanK, Rizzo, and Rigglemen company lines. When Dibbs says its time to make a change he is probably 99% right. How come the "brain trust" in the FO doesn't see the same things. Maybe its bacause they don't care.

Larry Micheals? You mean that Synder schill that bloviates about 16 games a year played between Sept and Dec in March, April, May and June. Geez the guy is the classic dweeb!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | July 20, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Just make Dibble wear long-sleeved shirts so we don't have to look at those arms.

Posted by: capsfan77 | July 20, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Dibble is critical when he see's something wrong, like tonight, when a runner was held up at third. Yet he pulls for the team to win, I like his work.
Larry, on the other hand, seems like a mouth piece for Danny. Replacing Herzog with him just wasn't right.

Posted by: Hattrik | July 20, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE Dibble. Yeah, he's a homer, but he's working for the Nats, so I really appreciate the passion he shows. And I also really LOVE that he doesn't hesitate to call individual players or the whole team out when he spots something wrong. (He and Bob are also good about giving the opponents credit where it's due, which a lot of homers don't do.)

I found Darling unbearable. I'll give him credit for trying, and I loved Mel Proctor and was sorry to see him go, but I'm happy with the combo of Bob and Rob on TV and Charlie and Dave on radio. I just wish the team was playing better....

Posted by: wocoliz | July 21, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

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