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Washington Post columnist defends Rob Dibble using the Howard Stern argument

Aug 31, 2010, 1:16 PM EDT

Washington Post columnist Leonard Shapiro wrote about Rob Dibble today and more or less agreed that he’s a poor announcer and deserves criticism for his recent remarks about female baseball fans and Stephen Strasburg.
Despite that Shapiro also argues that Dibble shouldn’t be fired because … well, I’ll let you read his words for yourself:

Those who love him praise Dibble for his passion for the game and the team. Those who hate him wonder what sort of outrageous comment he might unload next. But they all tune in.

There’s a scene in Howard Stern’s movie Private Parts where his bosses at the radio station are going over the ratings and find that the average Stern fan listens for about an hour per day while the average Stern hater listens for about three hours per day. The idea in the movie and the idea in Shapiro’s column about Dibble is that being outrageous and controversial and often disliked can lead to big ratings.
And there’s really no arguing that, but here’s the problem with making the Stern argument for Dibble. Stern was merely one of several dozen morning shows available to someone with a radio, so the “if you don’t like it, turn it off” argument was perfectly reasonable. That is hardly the case with Dibble, because if a Nationals fan wants to watch the team on television he’s their only choice for an announcer. The alternative is muting the television or turning it off, not simply changing the station to a different broadcast of the same game.
I don’t think Dibble should be fired for his comments about female baseball fans or Strasburg. I think he should be fired because he’s not good at being a baseball announcer and without exception every Nationals fan I know dreads having to listen to him as part of watching their favorite team. Shapiro says “they all tune in” regardless of whether they love or hate Dibble. I say “they all tune in” because they don’t have a choice.

  1. El Bravo - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    “…without exception every Nationals fan I know dreads having to listen to [Dibble] as part of watching their favorite team.” Aaron, I assume you are a maven and know many baseball fans, but really, did ALL three of them say that?
    Post Script: Dibble is still totally a balls dibblin’ sonofabitch

  2. Utley's hair - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    Maybe Gnats fans should just tune out. That’ll send a message the organization will hear loud and clear. The deafening sound of lost ad revenue.

  3. Professor Longnose - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    I hate Howard Stern and I haven’t listened to him in 25 years.

  4. BleedGreen - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    Go you.

  5. Buccofan - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    When I turn on Reds games on TV, about one minute of Thom “Daddy Got Me All My Jobs” Brennaman is all I can take. Then I either turn off the sound, do that plus turn on the radio, or turn it off altogether.
    My point being that I feel the pain of Nationals fans.

  6. YANKEES1996 - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    Dibble is absolutely a poor announcer and therefore probably feels as if he has to say controversial things to be liked or respected. The Nats fans should just turn a deaf ear but not many fans are willing to do that, they like their team and want to see them play. The fans therefore tend to balance the good with the bad, the good of getting to see their team and the bad of listening to Dibble or another poor commentator, Tim McCarver immediaetly leaps to mind. Sooner or later his comments will get him fired or shown the door or whatever, but don’t stop supporting your team because of a loud mouth like Dibble.

  7. Gary - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Well, you don’t know me, because I actually like Dibble quite a bit. Here’s why:
    1. As a relatively new baseball fan (3 years) he has taught me a lot about the game. Sure, I take some things he says with a grain of salt: but he has imparted to me a great deal of knowledge. My first year watching baseball, when Don Sutton was doing color, I didn’t learn 1/4 as much as from Dibble. Maybe he doesn’t teach you experts much, but us novices appreciate him.
    2. Despite the fact that they are polar opposites (baseball nerd vs. nasty boy), Rob and Bob obviously get along really well. It’s a pleasure to listen to their interaction.
    3. Maybe you purists hate listening to homers, but personally I really enjoy hearing how much Dibs is into watching the game. I don’t want a mechanical “and there’s another home run for the Nationals” – I much prefer Dibble’s “Yeah! Big bad Dunn!” cries.
    In my opinion, Dibble is better than Sutton in all three areas. Ray Knight has been good when he’s done color – I’d also be OK with keeping the Fox in the box, though I’d miss ol’ Dibs.

  8. frank pepe - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    i don’t think anyone is watching for dibble: http://washington.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2010/07/26/daily1.html

  9. Gary - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Well, you don’t know me, because I actually like Dibble quite a bit. Here’s why:
    1. As a relatively new baseball fan (3 years) he has taught me a lot about the game. Sure, I take some things he says with a grain of salt: but he has imparted to me a great deal of knowledge. My first year watching baseball, when Don Sutton was doing color, I didn’t learn 1/4 as much as from Dibble. Maybe he doesn’t teach you experts much, but us novices appreciate him.
    2. Despite the fact that they are polar opposites (baseball nerd vs. nasty boy), Rob and Bob obviously get along really well. It’s a pleasure to listen to their interaction.
    3. Maybe you purists hate listening to homers, but personally I really enjoy hearing how much Dibs is into watching the game. I don’t want a mechanical “and there’s another home run for the Nationals” – I much prefer Dibble’s “Yeah! Big bad Dunn!” cries.
    In my opinion, Dibble is better than Sutton in all three areas. Ray Knight has been good when he’s done color – I’d also be OK with keeping the Fox in the box, though I’d miss ol’ Dibs.

  10. Erk877 - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    Don’t fire Dibble for making inflammatory, insensitive, or impolitic statements; give him the axe because he’s plainly awful, a holdover from the “hire a stupid ex-jock to appeal to the Everyman” school of broadcasting.
    I’ve subjected myself to far too much Dibbleism on XM Radio (where he was paired with the equally insufferable Kevin Kennedy) and on MASN.
    Dibble’s worst transgression isn’t picking on Steven Strasburg, it’s how unwatchable he renders any baseball broadcast he infects with his rockheaded presence.

  11. Lukehart80 - Aug 31, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    if this can somehow lead to the removal of hawk harrelson, cool. if not, then the struggle must continue.

  12. Coalregion - Aug 31, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    Was on vacation for a week in Va Beach. Was “treated” to Dibble and the Nats for the whole week. As somebody who listens to Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews with the Phils on a nightly basis, Dibble is on par with those two dumb asses..

  13. Utleyshairupyourass - Aug 31, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    Yeah that always works. Look around at the worst teams in sports and they have some of the most loyal fans who will show up whether the team wins or not. Can’t you come up with a better comment than that?

  14. Utley's hair - Sep 2, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    If you have such a problem with my comments, don’t read them. If you have a problem with me, either spell it out or STFU.

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