06.15.09

Loverro : Dibble’s A Disaster

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 5:18 pm by

From time to time I’ve taken a swing at the Washington Times, often disparinging DC’s no. 2 daily as “the Moonie Paper”.  These sad attempts on my part to distract from all the good work the Unification Church does selling flowers by our nation’s highway exits have not stopped The Times’ Thom Loverro from setting his sights on a most deserving target, Nationals color commentator Rob Dibble.  Suggesting that Dibble is unqualified and ill-prepared to critique the Nats’ coaching staff as he’s doing a radio show for XM when he could be observing workouts (“If this large and tattooed man is on the field and in the clubhouse ‘all the time,’ he should start offering disguise lessons at the Spy Museum”), Loverro wonders, “what the heck is MASN paying him for?” (link courtesy Capitol Punishment)

What we have heard  is tough criticism toward the manager and coaches and particularly at former Nationals pitching coach Randy St. Claire and the way he worked with the young pitching staff. It has been uninformed criticism, if we want to be as frank and honest as Dibble claims he is trying to be.

Dibble never spoke to St. Claire – who was fired June 2 – about anything to do with pitching, according to the former Washington coach.

“He has never talked to me about anything about pitching,” St. Claire said in a telephone interview. “He has never asked what we do for prep work. I’ve never talked to him about pitching.”

When I asked Dibble whether he ever spoke to St. Claire – who was Bobby Cox’s first choice in Atlanta to replace Leo Mazzone at the end of the 2005 season but couldn’t make a deal with the Nationals – about the pitching, he said yes and no. You figure out it:

“Why would I need to? … That’s not true because I had a discussion with almost every pitcher. If they were No. 1 in pitching, I don’t think I would need to have a conversation with him, either. But they weren’t. They were the worst pitching staff in baseball. I think this is a moot point. Steve McCatty is the pitching coach now. They moved in a different direction. He had been here seven years, and the fact that I am even involved in this discussion is kind of ridiculous. … Because I have an opinion, people think that I am critical. I am just stating the obvious.

“I’ve gone to Mark Lerner, and I’ve asked him, ‘Have I done anything to offend the organization?’ ” he said. “From the top, they said no.”

Well, as long as the owners of the team are not offended, then what’s the problem?

Earlier this year on his blog, he suggested the Nationals would win 92 games.

“The Rays went from 66 wins to 97 in one year and won the AL East; so why is it so hard to believe the Washington Nationals can’t go from 59 wins to 92?” Dibble wrote on his MASN blog April 7. “That’s how many wins the 2008 World Champion Phillies had when they won the NL East last season. If you still don’t believe me, believe this: nearly 20 years ago right around this time in April, I was on a team that was 400-1 odds in Vegas to win the World Series. Anytime you want me to show you my WS ring, let me know, I really won’t mind…”

Do you think anyone in the Nationals organization thought they could win 92 games this year? Did you?

What kind of credibility can any analyst have after such a suggestion?

4 Responses to “Loverro : Dibble’s A Disaster”

  1. John Hurley says:

    I like Dibble. I met him once very briefly. He’s a nice guy and, during games, offers candid observances, critiques and explanations of what is going on DURING THE GAME. That’s what he’s hired to do. He was not hired as an investigative reporter who’s supposed to creep around the locker room trying to drum up juicy tid-bits of gossip, speculation and back-stabbing a la Thom Loverro and the rest of the print or TV press. His job is to A N A L Y Z E the game during the broadcast. I think he does a great job and doesn’t come off as an apologist for the players or coaches. Quite frankly, if you want to know the truth, the more personal distance he keeps from players and coaches probably enhances his ability to remain objective. It’s hard to criticize friends on TV and there have been too many analysts and commentators who have allowed their personal opinions of players or coaches to affect their analyses. If Dibble sticks to what’s going on during the game, Loverro and his colleagues can keep us informed of the soap-opera happenings in the clubhouse. We don’t need Dibble to do that for us.

    John Hurley

  2. GC says:

    John,

    I’d agree with you that Dibble was probably not hired to be an investigative reporter. However, there is probably some middle ground between being buddies with players and coaches and actually having an informed opinion about the working relationship between the two. Dibble singling Randy St. Claire out for criticism — and specifically questioning the pitching coach’s handling of the staff — goes beyond simply talking about what’s happening during the game.

    And that’s fine — on the surface, it’s to Dibble’s credit that he’s unafraid to speak his mind. If there’s nothing in his skull, however, besides baseless opinions and constant reminders he was once a famous reliever — he’s not exactly elevating the level of conversation. Surely it wouldn’t be out of line or any sort of conflict of interest for a TV color guy to spend 5 minutes conversing with a pitching coach, especially one he took time to critique. There’s no shortage of guys working on TV and radio who do exactly that — prepare for their broadcasts with regular or occasional conversations with the players and coaches they cover.

  3. Tom says:

    I don’t know about criticism and investigative reporting. Hes new at this and learning. He’ll figure that out. But what I do know is he is fantastic as a color guy. As a Dodger fan. I live for Vin Scully. Vinny works the booth by himself. And one day he will be gone, and I will have to live with, not only a new play-by-play guy, but with the addition of a second guy as well. I would LOVE to see that guy be Rob Dibble. I would love to hear him call the Dodgers “WE”

  4. GC says:

    “Hes new at this and learning.”

    DIbble has been a professional broadcaster (allegedly) for 11 years.

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