City Desk

Being Rob Dibble


Rob Dibble via Can't Stop the Bleeding

For the One Armed Bandit that is the print platform of Washington City Paper, I wrote this week about Rob Dibble. Pick up a copy, read the column, drink at every bar that advertises with us, feed the beast.

I visited with Dibble a few weeks ago at Nationals Park, hours before Stephen Strasburg faced the San Francisco Giants. I really wanted to like Dibble. And I really liked him.

He's been getting the ground-and-pound from writers lately about his broadcasting style, which some typists find overly homerish and meatheady. But, he was the same guy off the air as he is on it. I like that guy.

The anti-Dibble faction likes to say that he never lets viewers forget he was once a major leaguer. And, in the middle of an on-air dustup he had with partner Ray Knight, Dibble did give the critics credence by blurting out something about his winning an NLCS MVP back in the day. But, hell, he really did win an NLCS MVP back in the day. Who among us wouldn't let that slip now and then, especially during a squabble? And on the night I met him, Dibble was wearing a lot of jewelry, but not the World Series ring he won as a player.

Dibble told me he wore his World Series ring on Opening Day and for some team-organized meet-and-greets, then put it away.

“B.J. Surhoff taught me something real valuable when we were in Milwaukee, ‘You can’t live out of your scrapbook,’" Dibble said. "So I don’t. I think the ring’s in California.”

Instead, his fingers were bejeweled with assorted gargoyle-looking rings from M Frederic, a boutique in Los Angeles, where Dibble lives in the offseason. The rings go well with the tattoos, all 30-plus of them. Dibble's look isn't contrived, either; he really is a metalhead – “I listened to Rob Zombie back when he was in White Zombie,” he says when asked to name his favorite bands. “Iron Maiden. I love Pantera and Slipknot.” He plays the drums, too, well enough to have sat in on some soundchecks with the Scorpions and Megadeth. During his playing days in Cincinnati, he’d wake up early on weekends to deejay a rock and roll show on a local station. He insists the tattoos he put all over his body were his way of dealing with the breakup of his first marriage.

“That was painful,” he told me, pointing to a large tattoo that took up the whole inner forearm of his left arm. “But my first marriage was brutal. So the pain of the tattoos was welcomed. My [second] wife understands why I got them.”

As much ink as he already has on his person, if I were Dibble, I'd have more. I'd have "NLCS MVP" tattooed on my forehead, above "I CAN THROW 100 MILES AN HOUR AND YOU CAN'T!" in comic sans. They'd go well with the World Series ring I'd run through my pierced nose. It's gotta be fun being Rob Dibble.

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  • andrew

    I think Dibble rules. I hope they keep him around, he's hilarious and knowledgeable and has personality, which is nice to see.

  • Randy_Hawkins

    I think he's pretty knowledgeable, and he really gets into the games. I bet that is hard sometimes, going to 140+ games a year to see a below average team. I really don't get the hate for this guy, either. There aren't that many old school color guys anymore, and the ones that aren't are usually doing national broadcasts. Most of them are homers. I think he's the same level of homerism as Craig Laughlin, which isn't a bad thing.

    It's not like Dibble is getting paid by the Nats to do this. He's getting paid by MASN, which is mostly an Orioles regime. It's not like he's towing the company line out there (ahem..Larry Michael). He's genuinely enthusiastic.

  • Mistr Knucklz

    Rob Drivel, shut up, you peckerhead!

  • Alex B.

    I love Dibble.

    Bob Carpenter drives me nuts, though. Ditch Bob, keep Rob.

  • Embarrasing

    I want to like Dibs, I really do. I don't mind having homerish announcers or the use of "we." I do, however, want a color man that will give some insight into the game. Dibble doesn't do that. He says the exact same thing every game, "our pitchers need to pound the zone with fastball and stop throwing offspeed so much." Literaly, he says this every game. Also, the gutteral
    yells and grunts need to go. It's really amateurish.

    I fully believe that if you paired Dibble with a strong
    play by play man who would call him out when he says something dumb, instead of Bob "hey,
    were you aware that I used to work the Cardinals?" Carpenter, he could be entertaining and enjoyable. As is though, they're an unlistenable
    combo. Much better to use the DVR to sync the TV to Charlie and Dave on the radio.

  • cass

    Dibble would rock as a professional wrestling commentator.

    For baseball, not so much.

    The machismo? A bit tiresome. Homerism and lack of any real insight? Kinda sad. Grunting all over beautiful plays? Unforgiveable.

  • Jamnew

    Some fans treat baseball like it's the Holy Grail, to be worshiped. Baseball is supposed to be fun and Dibble makes it fun. I like all the inside stories and the off beat humor. Baseball is losing fans at the park and on tv because people want to make it like church. Laugh, yell, give the umpire hell, it's suppused to be fun!

  • The Riddler

    As a lifelong Orioles fan I was shocked when I tuned into a few national telecasts to hear how critical they are of the players. It felt more like a few disgruntled fans rather than.a typical telecast. However, I am good with it.

    McKenna rocks

  • Fred

    I prefer the Nats radio announcers, but Rob and Bob are okay. Embarrasing's comment is right on about Dibble's continual "pound it inside" comments - he has to match those thoughts with the skills of the pitcher and the batter to give it more insight/texture. Still, as the team improves, they will as well.

  • Hondo Howard

    He does tend to repeat himself, but homer-ish announcers seem to be accepted now, and we could do worse.
    But when he starts making snide remarks about Obama, which he has done in the past, he loses me. (I think he's been told to stop that. He's obviously a right-wing dunderhead.)