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Dibble: "I'm Never Going To Be a Homer"

New Nationals television commentator Rob Dibble just finished up a conference call with local media members and bloggers, and, well... this is going to be an interesting ride.

Dibble, who has been in broadcasting for 12 years but has never worked as a full-time team commentator, vowed he won't attempt to tame himself. That tattooed, goateed, outspoken and sometimes outrageous persona you either loved or hated on The Dan Patrick Show (ESPN Radio) and Best Damn Sports Show Period (Fox Sports)? That's who you're going to get on your Nats telecasts on a nightly basis from April to September, according to Dibble.

"I'll always be as outspoken and honest as I've been for the past 12 years," said Dibble, who will be paired with play-by-play man Bob Carpenter. "... What I bring is a fairness, openness. And I will never hold back on a player. The players aren't paying me. I won't assassinate a guy's character. I won't be critical of a guy who doesn't deserve it. I won't rip on a guy because he's making $20 million.

"[But] I'm never going to be a homer. I didn't like that when I played."

And so, the Nationals, a five-year-old franchise, has its fourth different television color commentator, following Ron Darling, Tom Paciorek and the recently departed Don Sutton. Sutton is the only one who lasted more than one year, and it was his abrupt and unexpected departure -- halfway through a four-year contract -- that created the opening for Dibble.

"It was unusual," conceded MASN spokesman Todd Webster about Sutton's request to get out of his deal in Washington in order to return to a radio job with the Atlanta Braves. "MASN agreed to this request to get out of a contract."

The Braves announced Sutton's addition to their radio broadcast team hours after the Nationals announced the Dibble move.

After plowing through a list of 10 or more candidates and interviewing several of them -- including Buck Martinez, who calls Orioles games for MASN -- the Nationals and MASN first offered Dibble a two-year contract last week, according to a source familiar with those discussions. But Dibble, who lives outside Los Angeles, wanted a longer commitment in order to relocate across the country, and the Nationals agreed to an additional year.

The Nationals and MASN are also allowing Dibble to maintain his presence on Sirius/XM Radio, where he hosts a five-days-a-week afternoon-drive talk show on the all-baseball channel. Dibble's three-hour daily stint will be reduced to two hours during the baseball season, but those two hours will be from 4-6 p.m. -- time that television broadcasters typically spend preparing for that night's game.

Dibble assured everyone his commitment to the Nationals. "I'm here to grow with this ballclub," he said, equating the Nationals to the pre-dynasty Atlanta Braves whom he competed against in the late 1980s and early 1990s. "If I didn't believe in the Nationals and MASN, I wouldn't be here."

The Nationals apparently have no reservations about employing the former charter member of the "Nasty Boys" Reds teams of the early 1990s. In fact, in a statement released through the team tonight, Nationals President Stan Kasten seemed to take some delight in Dibble's unpredictability:

"Rob and I talked today," Kasten said, "about the three things we know he will be: honest, informative and fun."

By Dave Sheinin  |  January 27, 2009; 7:36 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Dibble Replaces Sutton In Booth
Next: Wrapping Up the Dibble Hire


". . . but those two hours will be from 4-6 p.m. -- time that television broadcasters typically spend preparing for that night's game."


Posted by: Ted_Striker | January 27, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, those two hours Sutton spent preparing before the game were instrumental in pushing his telecasts to record ratings, weren't they? Record bad ratings, that is. I can't really blame the Nationals and MASN for bringing in a controversial guy to take Sutton's place. Shake things up. Controversy often pulls in more viewers, and those ratings have nowhere to go but up.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 27, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Bowden brings in yet another Cincy guy. Here comes Dunn!

Posted by: bmorenate | January 27, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I'll give the guy this. Combined in 1989 and 1990, he had 247 K's in 197 IPs and a WHIP of 1.00.

Of all the former color commentators, Paciorek was my favorite. He was also easily the least prepared and most outrageous/interesting. Maybe this guy will add a little life. I like Carpy, and it'll be an interesting show to see a milk toast Midwesterner like him mix it up with the tattoo laden Dibble.


Posted by: db423 | January 27, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Four color guys in five seasons! Wow, this is a higher-risk job than Nats' third base coach. This is how I see it: we're replacing a condescending, pompous, I-know-better-than-you Hall of Famer with a condescending, pompous, I-know-better-than-you journeyman. Sure, it might offend the hundreds of people who actually watch Nats' telecasts on MASN. But it's probably the best ratings boost for Charlie and Dave on the radio since...well, since MASN hired Don Sutton!

Posted by: jdschulz50 | January 27, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

The Nats have a great radio broadcast team. That, along with the dismal play of the team, makes watching baseball on television fairly pointless. Are the radio and television broadcasts synced so that you can watch in tv but turn down the volume and listen on the radio?

I would absolutely question Dibble's commitment if he's going to be on the radio from 4p-6p over at the Sirius studios in NE. Unless he is able to broadcast the show from a studio in the stadium, I can't see how he arrives at the stadium very long before first pitch.

Dibs is comical, opinionated, and fairly knowledgeable. Like many former players, he spends too much time recalling his glory days at the expense of analyzing what's happening on the field, but he'll make the broadcast more entertaining.

Maybe I'll tune in. If my radio is broken.

Posted by: chrisduckworth | January 27, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

A lot of people are saying that the Nats (and Bowden) are the ones responsible for bringing in Dibble. Not true. Dibble is an employee of MASN (owned by Peter Angelos), not the Nats. While the Nats have a stake in MASN, they do not have a role in the personnel decisions. As much as a lot of people would like to, you can't blame this move on Bowden and the team. Personally, I like listening to Dibble on XM and I'll certainly give him a try on the tube. I think this will end up being a good move. It certainly could be worse...remember when Don Baylor worked for MASN and did some of the pre-game and post-game shows? That was bad.

Posted by: BGinVA | January 27, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I'll be watching the games in HD (High Dibble?) whenever possible. Hopefully he understands that his new job is telling the story of the game instead of being controversial or outrageous.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 27, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Sheinen's article certainly implies otherwise: "The Nationals and MASN first offered Dibble a two-year contract..."

Posted by: mike8 | January 27, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Uh...the Nationals are a 40-year-old franchise. Moved from Montreal to DC in 2005. Yes, they're new to us, but this is not an original franchise.

The current story of the Nationals is the story of trying to right the wrongs committed against the Expos in the early years of this decade.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | January 27, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I guess I was at least partially wrong. From the Braves' site on

"Because Sutton had two years remaining on a four-year contract with the Nationals and Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, the Braves had to wait patiently until both parties released him from his obligation.

While Nationals president Stan Kasten provided an early blessing, MASN delayed the process until late Tuesday morning, when they announced Rob Dibble as Sutton's

So I guess the Nationals did indeed have a role in allowing Sutton to depart, though it sounds like MASN made the decision to hire Dibble. Apparently, they had 10 candidates, including Buck Martinez.

Posted by: BGinVA | January 27, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

"While the Nats have a stake in MASN, they do not have a role in the personnel decisions. As much as a lot of people would like to, you can't blame this move on Bowden and the team."

Although the TV announcers work for MASN, I'm pretty sure the Nationals have veto authority over them and are allowed to suggest who they want to be hired. The real villain in all this is Sutton. None of this would have happened if he didn't bail out in the middle of a four year contract.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 27, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Well, at least you sounded definitive about it. The condescension was nice, too.

Posted by: mike8 | January 27, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

BOOOO Buck Martinez is the man

Posted by: theredskin | January 27, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Who cares. Quite frankly I found Sutton an arrogant bore. I am glad he is gone. And that ridiculous white curly perm he wore, it was something out of the seventies. Well I will leave the hair comment for the post on sartorial styles which I hear is coming out on Friday. I think it will follow the post where we hear what the color the visitors' bathrooms will be at the Potomac Nationals ballpark.

Posted by: mjames0 | January 27, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

As an XM/Sirius subscriber, I applaud the hiring of the Nasty Boy to the booth. I look forward to his honest (not homerism) additon to the broadcasts. I've enjoyed his shows on XM, especially when he was paired with Kevin Kennedy.

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 28, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

"Wow, section 505203, no offense, but you are the poster child for why this blog is almost unreadable now"....

"Just my opinion, I could be wrong...but i'm not."

Posted by: estuartj | January 27, 2009 4:23 PM

I didn't post all the bloviating you did between these two statements but, there were a lot of "if's."

Look, this isn't North Korea if I want to post some snark and be a little negative then that is my right.

I have been plenty positive for this team since day 1 and I have given the Lerners/Kasten the benefit of the doubt. That is, until this offseason. They made a run at Tex, great. But, where are the signings after we lost the Tex sweepstakes to help this team that lost 102 games?

The Nats payroll in 2008 was ranked 26th at about 55 million. That's ridiculous, this isn't Pittsburgh.

No International signings, no signing of Crow. Where is the money going? What happened to their talk of taking no profits for the first several years of owning this team?

They need to take some damn risks and sign a couple of FA's.

Enough is enough. I'm tired of drinking Kool Aid.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 28, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't see how you do XM 4-6 and Nats games at 7 for an announcer who has yet to learn the team. Talk about phoning it in.

Posted by: AshburnVA | January 28, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Love him or hate him, he'll be good for the team strictly through his honesty.

Just got back from seeing Scott Weiland at Rams Head Live at the Power plant at the inner harbor. Good god. It's nice when you're 20 feet from a major rock star who's playing almost all original music. Things like that just don't happen every day. Played a Robin Trower influenced opener, followed up with two original ballads, then went back to Vasoline to get the crowd back in the game. Did an updated version of Fame, we went all Bowie in the crowd and pretended to take our frock off at the same time >

Posted by: Brue | January 28, 2009 2:26 AM | Report abuse

I don't know how Dibble will be in the different role of analyzing the games daily, but nothing makes me breath a sigh of relief than to hear that he's not going to be a homer.

Now, hopefully he calls Carpenter out on being a homer and maybe threatens to beat the bile inducing homer-ism out of him.

Posted by: ryaneades | January 28, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

"Learn the team" - he hosts a baseball radio show and has been in the industry his whole adult life (playing then in radio/tv). I'm sure that he knows more than enough to announce the Nats. He'll have spring training.

Maybe he'll spend the 2 hours on XM pumping up the Nats.

Now, how does he do his XM show when the Nats are on the road?

Posted by: comish4lif | January 28, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Wow; it took the team only four years to bring me to my knees.

I thought giving up my season tickets would be the end of my disappointment with the franchise [which I extend to include MASN; anyone who doesn't understand that the television production is a collaborative effort with it broadcast network -- even a shotgun-wedding collaboration -- should just quit reading]. I was wrong.

Dibble can take his tough-guy, headhunting BS, and his "outrageous" outspoken character and peddle it on someone else's tube. And I'll gladly forego stray games at the park, thank you.

I'm not cutting off my nose to spite my face; I'll still catch the P-Nats, and enjoy baseball. But I won't take part in the bush-league, badly-promoted, badly-PACKAGED team. The contents suck, but the packaging is an insult.

Posted by: muleboy | January 28, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

The proofreading pixies must have been at work overnight, because the missing "s" is in "assassinate" in the dead-tree edition.

I don't listen to sports talk radio so I'm not familiar with Dibble's work there, but I don't mind an announcer telling it like it is. That's one (of many) thing that I really appreciate about Charlie and Dave. They don't mince words when there's an awful play (or game).

Last, I don't recall who posted it but thanks for the link to the Steinberg chat. Will have to tune in for the next one as I'd not realized that it would cover baseball as well as other sports (duh). Looks like he took lots of questions. I noticed his fingers flying over the keyboard of his laptop at the Nats Fest the other day, so he should be able to cover lots of territory in chats.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 28, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Also, just noticed that Nats320 has a transcript of the conference call.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 28, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

"Now, how does he do his XM show when the Nats are on the road?"

Simple. He sits in the XM studio watching the game on a monitor and phones it in. When it's time for the standup shot of the two announcers, Carpenter stands next to a lifesize Dibble cardboard cutout that has someone else behind it moving their lips through a mouth hole like on Conan O'Brien. The only disadvantage to this setup is that you know going in that there's no chance Dibble will punch out Carpenter during a road game broadcast. Ratings may suffer on that account.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 28, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Wow - Sutton was a pompous bore, and his contempt for Carpy was palpable. If Dibs promises to tell it like it is, is he going to call out Carpy on his homerism? Hard to imagine 2 more different announcing styles.

Dibs can certainly overstay his welcome on XM when the "I know what's really going on because I'm a former player and you're not" routine runs on too long, but I am optimistic that he'll have interesting things to say. The beauty of baseball is that there's a new situation with every pitch, so he'll have something to comment on beyond his own opinions.

And yeah, I sort of liked Wimpy Paciorek too, so take this FWIW.


Posted by: utec | January 28, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

And in search of a new topic today ... I would like to nominate the subject of minor league outfielders:

It is quite possible that the starting outfields at Syracuse will be Padilla, Bernadina, and Davis. That leaves Maxwell at Harrisburg and at some point this year probably Hood, Burgess, and maybe Ramirez at Potomac. For that to happen Patterson, Langerhans, and Pena would likely have to be a) make the 25 man roster; b) accept backup status in Syracuse; c) get released; or d) spend time on the disabled list.

I suppose Davis, Pena, Langerhans, Patterson, and Bernadina are all competing for the same 25th slot on the roster. Davis has position flexibility and bats left-handed, but has the least experience. Bernadina and Patterson are the both good fielders and fast. Pena offers the most power.

Who gets cut, who makes the team, and who starts in Syracuse?

Posted by: natbisquit | January 28, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

"I'll never be a homer..."

Nope. His specialty was giving them up.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 28, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

@bisquit: Good topic - here's my two cents worth.

I think Pena will start the year on the DL, Bernadina will go SYR after he's finished with the WBC. Either Patterson or Langerhans would need a very good spring, since neither is currently on the 40-man, and I don't think they want to keep Davis up as a 25th man. In short, the answer is none, but Bernadina probably gets first callup.

Posted by: BinM | January 28, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Youse guys could talk about this in the new post, of course.

Posted by: Scooter_ | January 28, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"I won't assassinate a guy's character. I won't be critical of a guy who doesn't deserve it. I won't rip on a guy because he's making $20 million."

No worries here- Nationals won't be paying anybody that much for a long, long time.

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | January 28, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

You're never going to be a homer? Don't you realize that the Lerners are to baseball what Montgomery Burns is to nuclear power?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 28, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Release the hounds...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 28, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

News flash to the Nats and MASN - adding a "controversial" color commentator to your broadcast will not have an impact on your ratings. Adam Dunn will.

Posted by: ajtrue78 | January 28, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see don go, now it's bob's turn.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 28, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Garland signs with the D-Backs for 6.25. We could add that much to the plan, couldn't we? Jim? Jim? You awake?

Posted by: 1of9000 | January 28, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

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