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Rob Dibble will not shut up about Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals

Aug 4, 2011, 10:47 AM EDT


Fired as the Nationals’ television analyst in the middle of last season after saying Stephen Strasburg should “stop crying” and “suck it up” to play through what proved to be a torn elbow ligament that required Tommy John surgery, Rob Dibble is now criticizing the Nationals for rushing Strasburg back “to sell tickets.”


Courtesy of Nationals Enquirer, here’s what Dibble said on his Sirius-XM radio show:

There’s absolutely no reason, other than to sell tickets and to put butts in the seats, to bring Stephen Strasburg back to make a few starts at the end of the season. He’s too valuable. He’s too talented to even think about stuff like that. But in their case, you know, having worked with those people, the only thing I can say is that there are some people there that think they invented the game of baseball. Which they did not.

And so they think they can do things differently than 29 other teams in the game. That’s the problem I had when I was working there, and now, even when I’ve been working on this channel for the last seven years. It’s pretty simple stuff. You want guys to play 15-20 years, you don’t need to rush a guy back just to get a couple starts in so you can sell out the stadium and stuff like that.


So when Strasburg initially injured his elbow Dibble mocked him for not pitching through the pain, but now that he’s missed nearly an entire year following surgery Dibble is ripping the Nationals for potentially calling him up to resume pitching in the majors after what’s been a pretty typically recovery timetable.

Wasn’t the best pitching prospect in baseball also “too valuable” and “too talented” to let pitch through an elbow injury last year, like Dibble so outspokenly advised? Where was his concern about wanting Strasburg “to play 15-20 years” back then?

What a hypocritical loudmouth.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 4, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    I’m sensing an acrimonious tone from our HBT writers this morning. Everyone be calm and take a deep breath. Okay? Good? Well, then, and now…f@ck Dibble…f@ck Davisdon…f@ck Bad Boy and their whole crew…f@ck Mobb Deep…and if you down with Bad Boy, then f@ck you too! Hit ’em up!

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      PS. Dibbs has been renamed a douchenozzle for 2011 (he was my first on last year’s first, and unwritten, list). This is not b/c of his statements above, but instead, b/c of his stupid, punchable face. Suck it Dibbs. I make the rules for the douchenozzle list.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:03 AM

        PPS. I just realized, I have two guys on the list for having a “punchable face”…awesome.

        1. Luke Scott (dumbass hillbilly; birther)

        2. Hank Steinbrenner (says team isn’t rich enough and poor teams whine too much)

        3. Lenny Dykstra (drunk rambler; racist; etc. etc. )

        4. Carlos Silva (thinks he can play good baseball)

        5. Richie Whitt – Dallas Observer (Texan; thinks baseball is more important than family)

        6. Jay Mariotti (abuses women, always wrong, punchable face, stalker)

        7. Willy Aybar (repeated wife beater)

        8. Frank McCourt (ruined a franchise and won’t go away)

        9. Roger Clemens (wasting my mothaf@ckin’ money and being a liar)

        10. Mike Quade (repeatedly calling out his best player on his team publicly and sucking ballz as a manager)

        11. Jamie McCourt (married Frank; helped ruin Dodgers)

        12. Jim Hendry (seriously? Wtf?)

        13. Rob Dibble (second year in a row; stupid, punchable face)

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:08 AM

        I thought I was #1 on your douchenozzle list for 2011. I feel slighted.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:11 AM

        Bicepts, don’t flatter yourself. This list takes effort to make and requires you to be involved with baseball in some tangential way. You sir, are tangential to the tangent. Plus, I believe you have a good heart, these guys and gal suck to the soul.

      • CJ - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:11 AM

        Thanks for publishing the list. I remember asking about it a while back. But from the posts above, it looks like you must’ve missed this week’s anger management class, lol.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:14 AM

        Just joking, El Bravo. I never give myself that much credit.

        Remember years ago when Dibble walked a guy and threw the baseball into the player’s back as he walked to first? I never liked him after that. He’s always been a headcase.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:18 AM

        Sorry, I totally did get angry there, but I was also referencing 2Pac. Anyhow, I have been M.I.A. for a bit b/c work has been crazy, and I prefer to comment on here while being paid for it. I almost feel like Craig when I do. Call me an escapist…but I digress. Consider these rants above as a hello to the HBT folk with a big wake-up slap to the face!

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 4, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        If your list does not also include Tony LaRussa. Well it just isn’t a very good douchenozzle list then. Git er done!!!

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 4, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        I told you about TLR. He is not a douchenozzle yet b/c he doesn’t annoy me like he does most folks. Plus he didn’t get the DUI in 2011 so he can’t make it on that count.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 4, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        Yeah but…

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 4, 2011 at 3:41 PM

        Yeah but…

        2011: La Russa gets upset when Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman called Carpenter a “whiner and excuse-maker,” after Carpenter complained about the mound in Cincinnati and smoke that apparently lingered too long on the field following home run fireworks.

        …this the only portion that’s relevant b/c it’s 2011 and it’s just not nozzle worthy. The year is only half over. TLR has time to get up on the list.

    • romosexualtendencies - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:01 AM


    • kopy - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:04 AM

      At first it was just about Biggie, but then everybody had to go and open they f@cking mouths.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:08 AM

        I counted the f-bombs in that last section of angry ranting in “Hit ’em up”once and found like 34 in less than 90 seconds. I do miss me some Pac, especially when he’s angry.

    • aaronp2098 - Aug 5, 2011 at 9:24 AM

      Wow, now I know why I wanted to catch up on what I didn’t read yesterday…Not sure if I should have started cracking up at work but they r really not going to be happy after I d/l some old school 2pac

  2. southpaw2k - Aug 4, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    I certainly agree that Dibble is a major hypocrite for making those statements, but I would also agree with his opinion on having Strasburg pitch this season. Really, what’s the point? It’s not like the Nationals are in a pennant race or anything like that. Why not wait to bring him back until the start of next season when he’s 100% healthy and ready to go?

    • ditto65 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:27 AM

      I do believe that, pennant race or not, you play to win. Should we just cancel games once a team is mathematically eliminated?

      And if the team is out of a pennant race, what better time to evaluate a young stud pitcher coming back from major elbow surgery than in ACTUAL games that reflect ACTUAL performance.

    • jimbo1949 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:36 AM

      Minor leagues shut down after Labor Day, leaving DC as the only option for a live game. If he’s OK, go for it. If they only wanted to sell tickets they’d bring up Harper too.

  3. mattintoledo - Aug 4, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    “…the only thing I can say is that there are some people there that think they invented the game of baseball. Which they did not.”

    I love that he added the, “which they did not.” Well he has them there. There are extensive records proving no current employees of the Washington National invented baseball. Score one for Dibs.

    • bigxrob - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:20 AM

      I thought the inventor of baseball worked for the cardinals?

      • jimbo1949 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:23 AM

        A Legend, in his own mind.

      • ditto65 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:28 AM

        Bud Selig told me it was Abner Doubleday.

    • natstowngreg - Aug 4, 2011 at 1:08 PM

      well played

  4. Maxa - Aug 4, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    Dibble is generally a buffoon, but I’m not sure I see the problem here. Is it really fair to criticize Dibble for denigrating Strasburg, only to accuse him of hypocrisy when he changes his stance?

    • aaronmoreno - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:20 AM


    • ditto65 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:34 AM

      I think you missed the point.

      Dibble-de-Douchenozzle called a guy a crybaby when he was seriously injured.

      Then he criticized the team for “rushing” a soon to be perfectly healthy guy (the same guy) back into service with no other reason than to sell tickets.

      Never mind that the main goal in a baseball game is to win, and Strasburg is a pretty talented kid.

      Never mind that selling tickets is a perfectly legitimate reason to play that pretty talented kid.

      Selling tickets and winning games go hand in hand, strolling down the MLB road.

      • The Science Guy - Aug 4, 2011 at 12:18 PM

        I disagree. I don’t think Maxa missed the point at all. In fact, the point was well made. Changing your stance on something doesn’t necessarily make you a hypocrite.

        I’m no Dibble fanboy, but this article was a total hatchet job with a controversial headline written to entice readers to click. I’m not sure what Gleeman has against Dibble. Probably some long-standing animosity that none of us are aware of.

        I listen to Memelo and Dibble’s show on XM Radio and it’s usually pretty tame. They get paid to speak their opinions on what’s going on in the game. And bringing Strasburg up in September? Is that something they should have an opinion on? Yeah, it is. So what if their opinion is different from what it was last year. The criticism of Gleeman’s article is unwarranted.

      • FC - Aug 4, 2011 at 12:58 PM

        I guess it would have better if Dibble had a “mea culpa” moment and said: “I was wrong on the nature of his injury and shouldn’t have said those things at the time. I’m fully on the get 100% healthy camp…”

      • ditto65 - Aug 4, 2011 at 1:06 PM

        Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have beliefs, opinions, virtues, ideals, thoughts, feelings, qualities, or standards that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie. (

        Dibble, speaking of Strasburg injury:

        2010: “stop crying” and “suck it up”.

        2011: “There’s absolutely no reason, other than to sell tickets and to put butts in the seats, to bring Stephen Strasburg back to make a few starts at the end of the season. He’s too valuable. He’s too talented to even think about stuff like that.”

        So in 2010 he WASN’T too valuable, but in 2011 he IS too valuable?

        Which is it? And if it is one or the other – or neither – Dibble-de-Douchenozzle is a hypocrite.

      • The Science Guy - Aug 4, 2011 at 9:15 PM

        I see your point, Ditto. And I’ll concede that’s exactly what Dibble said both times. But he claims he said the “suck it up” comment last year before he knew Strasburg was really injured. A stupid thing to say, sure, but I don’t think even Dibble would have said that if he knew he needed TJ surgery.

        So he speaks his mind, many times when he should just shut up, but I don’t think we can call him a hypocrite for this last insensitive statement. Just another knucklehead who said something stupid.

      • ditto65 - Aug 5, 2011 at 9:59 AM

        Fair point, Science Guy. They don’t hand out microphones based on IQ or common sense. Or looks.

  5. psousa1 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Alright Dibble we get it – you’re a badass, blah, blah, blah. You know how you got to the major leagues and you know you wouldn’t be able to get there today………………..

  6. shea801 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    The title of this article is 6 words to long…

  7. catsmeat - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    I agree with Dibble to the extent of “there’s no point in rushing Strasburg back at the end of this season when the Nats will be totally out of it.” If, however, Strasburg is 100% healthy and cleared to pitch by the medical staff, what else should they do with him: continue rehab? Pitch in the minors? Bake cookies?

    • IdahoMariner - Aug 4, 2011 at 12:15 PM

      mmmmm…cookies. yes, bake cookies.

    • natstowngreg - Aug 4, 2011 at 1:19 PM

      All Mike Rizzo has said is, Strasburg will return when they’re positive he’s ready. It appears that point may come sooner than expected. Dibble is not only being hypocritical, his claim about rushing Strasburg back is just plain wrong.

  8. dailyrev - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    There’s a broader issue here: when I was a kid, ex-players as broadcasters were rare. Today, they predominate in broadcast booths. Usually what networks look for is name-recognition (a fairly recent name that fans can identify with) and a trainable voice. What they do not look for is journalistic training, ability, or disposition. This, I argue, is a big loss, in the same way that having Washington Beltway insiders doing political commentary on Sunday morning TV shoutfests is a loss in that arena.

    Journalism was marked out by our founders as a separate and distinct entity, the proverbial “4th estate” for a good reason. It’s supposed to be a check and a watchdog on power, cult-ism, and its insiders, to allow the public untainted knowledge about what’s happening in the games the powerful play.

    These former players aren’t journalists because they weren’t trained to be journalists; they were trained to be ballplayers. The few who are able to successfully learn a complex new trade are the exceptions that prove the rule. Dibble is not unique among those who imagine that sound and fury equal discernment and fairness. They do not, and that’s journalism 101 right there.

    But again, it’s a lesson that our culture at large, and not merely sports, has failed at again and again.

    • jimbo1949 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:30 AM

      Off the top of my head: Dizzy Dean, Phil Rizzuto, Bill White, Jerry Coleman, Ralph Kiner, Joe Garagiola, Bob Eucker. All vintage ’50s & ’60s.

      • ditto65 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:36 AM

        Yeah, but they played the game different, so they broadcast different.

        *sarcasm deployed

      • natstowngreg - Aug 4, 2011 at 1:13 PM

        Also, Tony Kubek, Joe Nuxhall, Richie Ashburn, Mike Shannon

    • bigleagues - Aug 4, 2011 at 12:31 PM

      I’m with you on the importance of journalism and its seeming decline in its role as the 4th Estate. There is a well founded, well researched study that was recently released that showed plenty of evidence that profit motive gutted journalistic integrity over a couple of decades once deregulation allowed for the market monopolies that we have today.

      However, you completely lost me on the tie between being a journalist and being a color commentator for a sporting event.

      Being a journalist is not the same, nor is it a prerequisite, to be a color commentator for a baseball game. Never was – never will be.

    • skids003 - Aug 4, 2011 at 12:54 PM

      Are you saying journalists’ have the ability and the right to lie? They sure seem to more than the athletes in the booth, and love to blast former players when they speak their minds.

  9. b7p19 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    Look at him. LOOK AT HIM.

    • ditto65 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:38 AM

      Looking at him makes me angry.

  10. a125125125 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Rob Dibble’s headshot and the headshot of every hard rock disc jockey in history.

    • ditto65 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:41 AM

      He looks like a discount Val Kilmer impersonator.

  11. jaysfan64 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    Ha ha Dib Rubble’s stupid punchable face goes back decades….just ask Lou Piniella…..

  12. ditto65 - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    It must be pretty bright in that radio studio.

    • saltmanz - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:38 AM

      I’ll assume you’re referring to the lighting, and not the I.Q.

  13. seanmk - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    did dibble critize the braves for “rushing” tim hudson as well? or any other tommy john guy that comes back towards the end of the season because they can? better to come back now and pitch then to not pitch and wait an entire offseason and not know if a guy is ready

    • Joe - Aug 4, 2011 at 12:15 PM

      Exactly. Hypocrisy aside, Dibble’s argument falls apart because it is based on the presumption that the Nationals are “rushing Strasburg back.” Which they are not.

    • natstowngreg - Aug 4, 2011 at 6:39 PM

      Not to mention the Nats’ plan to shut down Jordan Zimmermann, to limit his innings in his first season after TJS.

  14. ss - Aug 4, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Hang on a second – can we talk about the size of Dibble’s head in that picture? Not even his head so much as his face, actually. It’s massive and expansive. Like Alexander the Great took over and started conquering other, lesser faces to add to Dibble’s Face Realm. It’s really distracting me from this story.

    Carry on.

  15. bigleagues - Aug 4, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    1) The Nats should have never fired him for a such a trivial incident as that which occurred last year. And its not as if the Nats were forthcoming about the injury either. They were heavy on the spin machine – leading people to believe it was everything BUT a ligament that required TJS. If Strasberg were a Pitcher with a history of injury problems rather than the hot new phenom of the decade (Prior, Wood, et al) then it’s likely no one would have said boo. But don’t worry – there’s still time.

    2) The fact that Dibs happened to be fired last year for his comments about Strasberg (where he, as the Nats color man, apparently had no more info on the injury than any other beat reporter schmoe) doesn’t make his criticism of the Nats now any less valid. He’s right. WHY would any organization be promoting – in late July – that their star Pitcher is already hitting 95 MPH on the gun – approximately 9 months following TJS? It takes most – if not all – Pitchers up to 18 months to fully recover.

    3) This could blow up very very badly on the Nats. Not only could Strasburg come back and get lit up – but this could re-aggravate the injury before it has time to fully heal and the arm fully strengthen.

    • Joe - Aug 4, 2011 at 12:27 PM

      1) Dibble was fired for being a terrible broadcaster. His Strasburg comments were just the final straw.

      2) Reference Will Carroll:

      “While most still quote the 12-18 month time frame after reconstruction, the fact is that using modern techniques and rehab has the real recovery period down to 9-12 months.”

      3) See #2. Your argument also is based on the presumption that the Nats are rushing Stasburg. Which they are not.

      • Joe - Aug 4, 2011 at 12:32 PM

        Also in the Carroll article, from expert (Reds physician) Dr. Tim Kremchek:

        “with a player like Steven Strasburg, where every move is watched, it might look like throwing like he is at six months is unusual. It’s not.”

      • bigleagues - Aug 4, 2011 at 3:25 PM

        1) If Dibble was fired for being a terrible broadcaster – then they could have let him go before the Strasburg comments. The fact that the Nationals let him go “because” of the Strasburg comments – but tried to spin it as overall dissatisfaction in his work – is transparent and obnoxious. You can disagree with Dibble. You can dislike Dibble – but to believe the Nats spin is comical at best.

        2) Funny you should point to Will Carroll’s article – that features a nice big photo of Edinson Volquez as an example of someone who came back earlier than expected from TJS and had what? Had success?

        Year   Age  W L W-L%  ERA GS    IP   H  R ER HR BB  SO ERA+  WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
        2008    24 17 6 .739 3.21 32 196.0 167 82 70 14 93 206  138 1.327 7.7  0.6  4.3  9.5  2.22
        2009    25  4 2 .667 4.35  9  49.2  34 25 24  6 32  47   97 1.329 6.2  1.1  5.8  8.5  1.47
        2010    26  4 3 .571 4.31 12  62.2  59 30 30  6 35  67   97 1.500 8.5  0.9  5.0  9.6  1.91
        2011    27  5 4 .556 5.93 16  85.0  84 59 56 15 55  85   67 1.635 8.9  1.6  5.8  9.0  1.55

        Provided by
        Generated 8/4/2011.

        But even if we fully buy into Carroll’s quoted 9-12 months as modern day standard recovery time for TJS – then Strasburg began his comeback at virtually the bare minimum recovery time. If he is the greatest pitching talent of our time, and he is the Nats future, and the Nat’s are no where near contending this year – WHY, WHY, WHY bring him back at all this season?

        “It wasn’t rushing him (Volquez), but where the team is at matters,” said Dr. Kremchek. If the Reds hadn’t been in the lead at the All-Star break, we would have looked at the situation differently. I’m sure with Strasburg, it will be the same thing, magnified by the media.”

        Carroll is a sports injury writer, and while, from a medical perspective, what the Doctors he quotes in the article are saying is most probably correct – putting the post-surgical Pitcher back into action – and having him be effective in the manner he was previous to the surgery is another matter altogether.

        So it is not the open and shut case you attempted to make. For every Josh Johnson, John Smoltz, Chris Carpenter and Tim Hudson – there is a Pat Hentgen, Kerry Wood, and Bill Pulsipher.

      • ditto65 - Aug 5, 2011 at 10:06 AM

        “So it is not the open and shut case you attempted to make. For every Josh Johnson, John Smoltz, Chris Carpenter and Tim Hudson – there is a Pat Hentgen, Kerry Wood, and Bill Pulsipher.”

        So you concede that each player is different, and maybe Strasburg’s recovery time is on the short end of the recovery window?

      • Joe - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:17 PM

        @ bigleagues

        1) Point being, if he was a good and popular broadcaster and said what he did about Strasburg, he probably keeps his job.

        2) It’s your assertion, then, that the only reason Edison Volquez has failed to live up to his 2008 success is because he came back too soon from TJ surgery? Has that ever been suggested by anyone, anywhere? There’s no other possible explanation? Such as, I dunno, players sometimes perform better than expected or worse than expected from year to year, and perhaps 2008 was the anomoly? Correlation does not equal causation, that’s logic 101.

        Dibble’s comments are that THE ONLY REASON for Strasburg to pitch in the majors this year is for the Nats to make money, and that they aren’t even paying attention to his actual health. That’s ludicrous on several levels, not the least of which is the fact that they stand to make a ton more money in future years if Strasburg is healthy than if he stays on the DL.

        Keep in mind also that you and I, along with Rob Dibble, aren’t with Strasburg every day like his doctors and Nats personnel are. For any of us to say that the Nats are “taking a risk” is simply conjecture on our part. Have there been any reports of Strasburg having a setback in his recovery? No, everything is going swimmingly. So maybe he’s pitching in games at the front end of his recovery time because he’s ready for it.

        The way Dibble (and you) are presenting it, it’s like the Nats are saying, “well, we could try having him pitch in DC in September. There’s more than a slight chance we’d lose him for 2011 by doing so, but we’d probably sell another 20,000 tickets this year.” “I’d say that’s worth the risk. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!” And to believe they are doing that is just stupid, in my opinion.

  16. sparkycon - Aug 4, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    The amazing thing to me is that Rob Dibble has a show on Sirius/XM….no wonder they are so hard up for subscribers….

    • bigleagues - Aug 4, 2011 at 3:30 PM

      I wouldn’t call 20 Million subscribers being hard up.

  17. 1943mrmojorsin1971 - Aug 4, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Some of these TV guys are not exactly the brightest guys out there. He’s not he’s definitely not the first to make ridiculous and/or hypocritical statements with the hopes of getting more attention. Too bad it got him fired instead…..

  18. mf44srq - Aug 4, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    Dribble is an idiot… Just look at his career transgressions. Either he’s a moron or a roid’ freak.

  19. schmedley69 - Aug 4, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    I kind of miss Dibble doing Nats games. It was a complete trainwreck. The guy is a certified loon.

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