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ESPN personalities defend Rob Dibble

By this point, most of you surely have your own opinions about Rob Dibble's hiring and subsequent firing by the Nats. His fitness as a broadcaster has been one of the biggest online Nats debates for more than a year, which is why many of you, I'm sure, would prefer I never mention his name again.

Regardless, the Dibble reviewers -- both positive and negative -- felt like a pretty small club up until the time he got fired. And then the national voices chimed in. Here's just a sample of the national ESPN voices who expressed an opinion on Dibble's ouster this week.

Tony Kornheiser: Ok, Dibble was wrong, Strasburg needs Tommy John surgery, but Dibble was a terrific broadcaster: passionate, insightful, and a hundred percent for the Nats. They should not have fired him.

Michael Wilbon: He can't possibly be out of work for long, right? That passion comes through. People like to hear Rob Dibble.

Colin Cowherd: This Rob Dibble thing really bothers me, and I'll tell you why....I think radio is raw. I think when radio is at its best, its uncomfortable. If you're not getting hate mail, get out of the business and go sell Hallmark cards. This is an uncomfortable business....What Rob Dibble said on his SIRIUS XM radio show, it wasn't even during a Nationals broadcast, to show you how thin-skinned they were. He was talking about Stephen Strasburg, who lets be honest, the guy's been babied. The guy had some very if not nebulous, kind of abstract injuries - stiffness, inflammation - little abstract. He didn't pull a muscle. Kind of unspecific, vague, abstract stuff....

More Cowherd: What Dibble said in the moment, with the information he had was -- we're kind of babying this guy -- [was] the way a lot of people felt. That was completely legal and completely accurate. Now you go back and say ok we did an examination, and this and that. That's not fair. That's like your wife holding something against you you said three years ago. I just don't buy that. I don't think his comments are controversial at all. and by the way, if you hire Rob Dibble, that's what you get. You get strong opinions. If you can't handle it, hire somebody who's boring. You know what I mean? Buyer beware with Rob Dibble. Buyer beware with Rush Limbaugh. Buyer beware with Stern. Don't hire 'em if you're gonna watch every word they say."

Mike Greenberg: I would just say this, if you don't want Rob Dibble, don't hire rob Dibble. It just doesn't make any sense to me. You've just fired Rob Dibble for being Rob Dibble.

Mike Golic: That's him, you knew what you had with him, and you got rid of him. I'm with you. I would agree with you.

Greenberg: Obviously when you then find out [Strasburg's] seriously hurt, it looks terrible, it comes out looking terrible, but the reality is...you're shocked to find out that Rob Dibble is outrageous? You're shocked to find out he's gonna make statements that make people uncomfortable sometimes, you're shocked to find out that he's a little wild?...Whether he's the best commentator or the worst commentator, you just fired Rob Dibble for being Rob Dibble, and that's the part of it I don't understand.

Mark Schlereth: You're absolutely right, he's being Rob Dibble. But don't forget that they nurtured Strasburg along in the minors, then they came out and he had shoulder stiffness in one outing in the bullpen and oh, we'll shut him down, we can't have him go out there, and somebody had to make a spot start for him on his behalf, so it's not like there wasn't some things that led up to this.

Golic: That's the thing, the Nationals, they hired him. You know what Rob Dibble is like. He's gonna tell you what he think, and sometimes you may like it, and sometimes you may not like it. You're right, they fired Rob Dibble for being Rob Dibble.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 3, 2010; 2:51 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Nats  
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Comments

Rob Dibble is Rob Dibble but who he's not is Rob Dibble for Rob Dibble....

wha?

Posted by: JPJC | September 3, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Dear ESPN,

Please fire Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. For every darned word that comes out of their mouths. What idiots.

Posted by: dcunitedfan3 | September 3, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Funny how wistful some of the very people who wanted guys like Rob Dibble and Mike Wise gone are this week.

Can't count how many times I heard Dibble's critics say something this week like this: "God help me, but this was the perfect game to have had Dibble in the booth"

Great job suspending Mike Wise too. Last night was the perfect time to get a juicy comment or two out of Haynesworth, but gee there was no reporter around who was able to get him to talk.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 3, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

four things:

1) these comments were self-serving. what boradcaster is going to say "one of our own deserved to be fired"?

2) Willing to bet none of them have even heard Dibble call a whole game.

3) They have NO IDEA why Dibble was fired because there has been no offical statement about it -- from either the team or MASN. they don't know what was going on out of the public eye.

4) Cowherd is a dolt.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10 | September 3, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Hard to believe, but reading these quotes made me despise ESPN more than I already did. Greenberg & Golic should go back to milking cows with Buster Olney. And Colin Cowherd should just go away.

Posted by: jsparks | September 3, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I miss Dibble. The broadcasts are gawd awful boring without him.

Posted by: theBIGC_1982 | September 3, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

did any of these guys ever watch Nationals broadcasts regularly? No? So what one earth makes them think they're qualified to comment on Rub Dibble being fired from MASN?

I'm thrilled he's gone.

Posted by: RedBirdie | September 3, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"The guy had some very if not nebulous, kind of abstract injuries - stiffness, inflammation - little abstract. He didn't pull a muscle. Kind of unspecific, vague, abstract stuff...."

Yeah, his injury was so vague and abstract that they couldn't even put a name on it. [cough]Tommy John[cough]. That's like saying "My bologna is so vague and abstract that it doesn't have a first name or a last name." Mmmmm...bologna.

Posted by: FeelWood | September 3, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

When Tony K., Wilbon, Cowherd, and Mike & Mike think a decision was incorrect then you can be sure it was the right thing to do. I would be interested to know exactly how many times each of these tools have actually watched Dibs call a Nats game. I suspect very few.

I am a regular Nats viewer and IMHO he is an terrible analyst for a number of reasons (e.g., homerism, grunts, stupid player nicknames, arguing balls & strikes, obnoxiousness, etc.). I'm thrilled that they shipped Dibs out.

Anyone who thinks the firing was related solely to the Strasburg comments needs to get a clue. It was merely the final straw after nearly two season of ineptitude.

Posted by: thebone | September 3, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Haha- who can possibly argue against the combined intellectual capacity of Mike& Mike, Cowherd, and the PTI crew.

"The guy had some very if not nebulous, kind of abstract injuries - stiffness, inflammation - little abstract. He didn't pull a muscle. Kind of unspecific, vague, abstract stuff...."

How is torn ulnar ligament an abstract injury? Colin Cowherd may be the most wilfully stupid person in America today.

*For the record I think it's silly if all they're firing him for is being wrong about Stras.

Posted by: jbanks979 | September 3, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals look bad, thin-skinned and hypocritical, for firing Dibble.

Posted by: poguesmahone | September 3, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I was just about to say the same things thebone did. Where's the "like" button?

Posted by: mvm2 | September 3, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

ESPN personalities defend Rob Dibble...

I really should have quit reading there.

Look, they're speaking as if this firing was the result of one isolated incident of Dibble criticizing the golden child.

It wasn't.

Any criticism that doesn't acknowledge the on-air argument with Ray Knight, that he had just recently been forced to apologize to an entire gender, etc. is disingenuous.

Posted by: tha_prophet | September 3, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I am a regular Nats viewer and IMHO he is an terrible analyst for a number of reasons (e.g., homerism, grunts, stupid player nicknames, arguing balls & strikes, obnoxiousness, etc.). I'm thrilled that they shipped Dibs out.

Anyone who thinks the firing was related solely to the Strasburg comments needs to get a clue. It was merely the final straw after nearly two season of ineptitude.

Posted by: thebone | September 3, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh no: Homerism!!! Oh I just hate it when others share the same fondness for my favorite teams as I do. Man I can't wait til they fire Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier. Oh and Sonny Jurgenson and Sam Huff, fire those damn homers too. Good thing George Michael is no longer around either, he was SUCH a homer. Let's see, who else. Oh yeah, Johnny Holiday...man he is the worst homer of them all--hope the Terps fire his homer *ss too.

Wish they'd just hire guys who hate the teams they are assigned to cover. Jason La Canfora should be the Redskins announcer, that's what the fans want.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 3, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Better to fire Rob Dibble for being Rob Dibble than for being George Smith or Jose Lopez, you know what I mean?

Posted by: waldmant | September 3, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Kornheiser is the first person I've ever heard call Dibble 'insightful.'

Posted by: NatPack11 | September 3, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

In the signature comment of Sports Talk radio callers everywhere - the previous posters stole my thunder. Oh, and that's my take.

Posted by: mojo6 | September 3, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

If Rob Dibble would simply change his name to, say, George Smith, he could either pretend he wasn't fired at all or instead complain that he was being fired for being Rob Dibble instead of being George Smith.

Posted by: waldmant | September 3, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"Oh no: Homerism!!! Oh I just hate it when others share the same fondness for my favorite teams as I do." From this viewer's perspective, the issue isn't that Dibble rooted for the Nationals ... I assume home-team announcers would prefer to see the team they cover win if for no other reason than it makes the game more interesting. Even going with the pronoun "we" doesn't bother me. But, having the color commentator continually grunt such pithy observations as "Yeah Zimmie way to go bay-bee"...that doesn't add anything to the game for me. I can think that up myself. Knight may not be a strong broadcaster either, but at least he attempts commentary, as opposed to fist pumping.

Posted by: mvm2 | September 3, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Injury is a UCL tear and is very common so it's more evidence of the poor standards at ESPN. And it is probable that certain guidelines were set with Dibble when he was hired, else why would he tell people again and again that he was taking it easy to start to see what he could get away with? Well, he was getting progressively outrageous... not that ESPN would talk to listeners to find out or talk to other baseball commenters to find out what they thought was allowed!

Posted by: prokaryote | September 3, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"Kornheiser is the first person I've ever heard call Dibble 'insightful.'" Perhaps Dibble should return the favor and be the first one ever to call Kornheiser insightful.

Posted by: mvm2 | September 3, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Dibble will be better off in another city that has real baseball fans.

Posted by: LouLewis | September 3, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Dibble will be better off in another city that doesn't have bloggers transcribing his radio comments.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 3, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Everyone watching the Nats the other night was wondering what Dibble would have said during the fight. Has anyone every wondered what Wise's opinion was about anything?

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | September 3, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The commentary here on Dibble should be split into two categories. Kornheiser and Wilbon, as usual showing their cluelessness about local sports, were defending Dibble as a terrific broadcaster, as if that was a widely held view. It's not.

Cowherd--who I can't stand but will defend in this case--and the others were simply saying, "You hired Rob Dibble, he's always been a guy who says crazy stuff, why would you be surprised when he said crazy stuff?" That's a totally different argument and I find it hard to disagree with.

And once again, it pains me to defend Cowherd, but when he's referring to "nebulous" injuries, he wasn't referring to the torn elbow ligament as some have claimed above. In context, it is cleear he was referring to the previous injury in July, which was diagonosed as "inflammation." It's kind of silly to call it "nonspecific," but he wasn't talking about the TJ surgery stuff.

Posted by: TheFingerman | September 3, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I personally don't care if the announcer cheers for my team or not. I just want someone who is capable of offering insightful analysis. (If that means sacrificing Joey Sunshine's upteenth comment about how he used to quarterback the Washington Redskins 30 years ago-so be it).

Please let it go re: Lacanfora.

Posted by: jbanks979 | September 3, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I find Ray Knight 100 times more insightful that Rob Dibble.

Posted by: hapster | September 3, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Colin Cowherd one of the main d0uchebags who said Sean Taylor got killed because of his "thug" lifestyle/background?

I'd love to give him a kick square in the junk. And that show, on ESPN, he's on would be more than crap if it wasn't for that blondie that cohosts it with him.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 3, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

As long as they don't bring back Don Sutton, I'll have an open mind about a dibble-less broadcast. The Sutton era was painfully boring.

Posted by: Andymr | September 3, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

As long as they don't bring back Don Sutton, I'll have an open mind about a dibble-less broadcast. The Sutton era was painfully boring.

Posted by: Andymr | September 3, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

As long as they don't bring back Don Sutton, I'll have an open mind about a dibble-less broadcast. The Sutton era was painfully boring.

Posted by: Andymr | September 3, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Dibble was the ONLY reason not to have the MUTE button "on"....the other deluded / in denial guys on the mike are nothing but shills...and UNlistenable.... "MUTE" is the word......

Posted by: FletcherChristian1 | September 3, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

ANGELOS HIRED DIBBLE !!!! Let's just make that clear .......this would be the first time the Nationals have really taken control of the broadcast team .....all others they had no ......years 2005 2006 ...to a very small ....2007 2008 2009 2010 ...influence over who and what the broadcast team would be.....I understand that Sutton was a Kasten suggestion .....but everybody up until now was suggested and hired by ANGELOS

Posted by: CBinDC | September 3, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the laugh CBinDC. Angelos hired Dibble. hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Angelos doesn't even go over to The Warehouse or even OPACY to watch games. You really think he sits in his law office and decides who will be calling game for the Natinals on MASN?

Pass me your bong dude.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 3, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

MAKE YOU LAUGH .........I thought it was the voice from inside your dark soul that did that !!!!!

Posted by: CBinDC | September 3, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

The Nats FO is starting to resemble the Redskins FO....and thats a shame.

Posted by: zosodave | September 3, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I tend to agree with what every one quoted on the blog said. Rob Dibble was not fired for being a terrible color guy (which he was), he was fired for saying the Stephen Strasburg needed to man up. He was clearly wrong, but the Nationals fired him for questioning Stras and the franchise. I think they should have let him finish out the season and not brought him back because they want a different voice. I thinking firing him mid season like that was very Snyderesque of the Nats

Posted by: SFcapsfan | September 3, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I have been listening to and watching Washington baseball since the thirties and Arch McDonald (not many of you remember him). I found Rob Dibble to be entertaining and fairly insightful. His telecasts were anything but boring.

Posted by: billdemps | September 4, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

They didn't want Rob Dibble so they fired him. Could we move along?

Posted by: markfromark | September 5, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Dibble was obnoxious. Knight is dull. Bring back Don Sutton. He was a class act.

Posted by: thegraneys | September 6, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Listen. We can all argue over who like's Dibble and who doesn't. I won't even state my stance in regard to that because that's not the point.

I totally disagree with firing and like SFcaps said, if you want to fire the guy, fire him at the end of the season. This incident alone isn't worthy of an on the spot pink slip. If they didn't want Dibble before they could've fired Dibble before.

One thing you REALLY have to ask yourself is, Do they fire Dibble in a similar situation if you replace Strasburg with a weaker prospect? If you ask me, I don't think they do.

Posted by: young_gung | September 6, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Dibble is awesome. I lived in Chicago up until a couple of years ago and watched the Cubs every chance I got. I wish they had utilized someone like Dibble for their broadcasts. He knows the game well and has the ability to translate those thoughts into on-air comments as well as being entertaining and opinionated. Too bad this happened.

Posted by: elibaratzeli | September 6, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

With a couple of rare exceptions (yesterday and Strasmus) Dibble was one of the only reasons to tune into the Nats. Phil wood is about as exciting as ben stein in Ferris Bueller's day off.

I hope we get someone else with some excitement, but I'm not holding my breath. The lerner's seem like they want a boring announcing crew. Who knows maybe they bring charley sloes & his team over from radio. That would be an improvement.

Posted by: Natstural | September 7, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

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