The Washington Nationals announced today that Rob Dibble was no longer part of the club’s announcing team. The Nationals offered no further comment and did not name a permanent replacement.
(Dibble’s (l) Nationals career survived by former partner Bob Carpenter)
Dibble originally departed Nationals broadcasts on August 25 after questioning Nationals Pitcher Stephen Strasburg’s willingness to pitch through pain. The timing couldn’t be worse for Dibble, as Strasburg was ruled out for the season by team doctors with a pitching arm injury shortly after the analyst’s comments.
At the time of Dibble’s apparent leave of absence, club president Stan Kasten said, “Rob asked for some time off. Perhaps he’s not feeling well. But I’m not a doctor, nor have I seen his records. So I shouldn’t say anything more about it.”
Kasten’s comment was reportedly a veiled shot at Dibble for his criticism of Strasburg.
Former MLB player Ray Knight has been filling in as analyst on Nationals TV broadcasts on MASN since Dibble’s initial departure but the club has not made clear if Knight’s position is permanent.
Dibble’s original criticism of Strasburg came on the former Reds pitcher’s radio show on August 23. During the show, Dibble questioned Strasburg for coming out of a game against Philadelphia two nights earlier:
“For me, a little bit has to be put back on Strasburg here. OK, you throw a pitch, it bothers your arm, and you immediately call out the manager and the trainer? Suck it up, kid. This is your profession. You chose to be a baseball player. You can’t have the cavalry come in and save your butt every time you feel a little stiff shoulder, sore elbow.”
Shortly after Dibble’s comments, MRI results revealed that Strasburg’s pitching arm had suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Strasburg is now facing Tommy John surgery and rehab that could take up to 18 months.
What’s ironic about Dibble’s criticism and subsequent firing is that he, like Strasburg, was once a power pitcher in the major leagues who later suffered catastrophic arm problems. If anyone knew how far a pitcher could push himself, you would think it would be Dibble.
One could also argue that Strasburg’s injury after Dibble’s criticism was more coincidence than anything else, but apparently the timing of the two events was too much for Nationals management to take. And Dibble having reportedly already worn out his welcome with the club for other on-air shenanigans.
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