Being Rob Dibble
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.