Dibble discusses Strasburg's injury
Granted, Rob Dibble's opinion about Stephen Strasburg is a minor footnote to all the news coverage of the kid's elbow this week. Yes, there were a lot of jokes made about Dibble after the Tommy John diagnosis came down on Friday morning, but they were largely made by fans who were broken up over the thought of another lost Nats season, and by out-of-town smart-alecks. I don't think any Nats fans were deriving any pleasure out of saying "I told you so" to Dibble, and I'm positive that every Nats fan alive was crushed by the news.
Still, Dibble's comments on Monday generated a bunch of Internet discussion, so I figure I should record his post-diagnosis remarks.
As you'll see, Dibble believes people -- presumably including me -- twisted his previous remarks about Strasburg. I just went back and looked at my item again. I included 678 words from Dibble, in extensive context. I think he could possibly argue that the headline -- Rob Dibble to Stephen Strasburg: "Suck It Up" -- was needlessly sensationalistic, dropping all context from the money quote. I'd plead guilty to writing sensationalist headlines.
I also think you could very persuasively argue that if one were to transcribe the comments of anyone who talks for six hours a day, a few impertinent quotes would stand out, and that no one could possibly survive such an analysis unscathed. Ten years ago, you could conduct a radio career without fear of any quote showing up in print and then spreading virally, where far-off readers would see the quote without hearing the tone, or the context, or knowing the speaker. I completely sympathize with such a complaint.
But Stephen Strasburg was hot news this week. Rob Dibble is a D.C. personality. His comments on the issue were polarizing, and newsworthy. And I really don't think I quoted him unfairly, or even added a single sentence that was critical of the speaker. I just wrote down what he said.
Anyhow, Dibble was on Jim Bowden's Sirius XM MLB Network Radio Show on Friday afternoon, and was asked how he thinks Strasburg will fight back from this setback, in light of his previous comments.
"He's an absolute animal when he's on the field," Dibble said. "And to take my comments from Monday, my comments were made about a healthy, 100 percent, strong, strapping kid. And it was more so directed as a pep talk, it was never directed towards Stephen in general, it was more my own opinion. So on a baseball only, year-round show, on MLB Network Radio, it was more baseball-generated jargon by myself, my partner and the listeners.
"Now, to have someone transcribe that, twist it and say Dibble's telling Strasburg to suck it up, that wasn't the gist of the conversation. And to have sick individuals twist it to try to make me look bad, that's fine. You can hate on me all you want.
"But now there's a bunch of sick individuals in cyberspace that are deriving some kind of sick pleasure from this injury to this young man. This young man doesn't deserve any of that. He doesn't even deserve to have me in the same breath. What he deserves is people to just understand that it's a devastating injury to any athlete, especially one of his caliber."
The next question came from Bowden, who praised Dibble's work on both Sirius XM and MASN, and then asked how soon the Nats can contend.
"I think they can contend by next year, it depends on how many starting pitchers they pick up," he said. "Here's the scenario, I think....You could have Bryce Harper, Jordan Zimmermann, Ryan Zimmerman, Bernadina and Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, all ready for the 2012 season. And if you just look a little bit ahead, maybe past next year, and you look at what this franchise is gonna have just from that standpoint without even going out into the free agent world, they're very talented, they're very deep....
"It's a slow process. Major League Baseball had gutted basically the [franchise]. You did a great job, Jim, [and] Mike Rizzo's done a great job, they've rebuilt this system. It's not even there yet, and they've made great strides....I see the Nationals either next year or the year after definitely competing for the crown in the NL East."
And the next question concerned what the Nats can do to keep fans engaged during the 2011 season, which presumably will involve hardly any Strasburg or Harper.
"I think it really depends on what they do in the offseason, and what direction they go in," Dibble said. "Probably now you go after some younger free-agent type guys, maybe even a foundation of the rotation around Stephen and around Jordan Zimmermann and guys like that. Because they're so young. You're looking two years down the road maybe, you're saying Strasburg's gonna be back probably August, September next year.
"But there's no rush. He could be back by 2012, and Bryce Harper will be 19, your other guys will still be in their mid-to-late 20s. And for any sick individual that thought I didn't love watching this kid play every five days, I'd love to meet you alone somewhere. I mean, that's just sick. You know, that kid was as good as any young man I've ever seen at this level in my lifetime. And when he does come back, definitely when he comes back, the city and the town and the fans will definitely be ready to welcome him back."
There was more to the interview, both before and after these three questions.
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