The main takeaway I got after listening to multiple segments in which Rob Dibble slammed the stuffing out of Mike Rizzo, Stephen Strasburg, Stephen Strasburg’s father, Scott Boras and everyone else involved in Operation Shutdown, was this: Imagine if Dibble were still in the MASN booth this month. It would be must-mute television.
Here’s the back story: after Strasburg got hurt and before he was diagnosed in August of 2010, Dibble said this: “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.”
Soon, he got fired.
And he later implied that he was let go because Strasburg’s father sent an e-mail to ownership complaining about Dibble’s comments.
So if there were anyone who figured to be rational, dispassionate and rigorously fair when talking about StrasNoMas, it sure wasn’t Dibble. I’ll just give you some highlights from his Fox Sports Radio show over the past two nights; you can listen yourself here.
On Strasburg saying the decision is out of his hands
“That’s all you need to know. It’s out of my hands. I don’t want it in my hands, even though I’m a professional pitcher trying to — from spring training to the end of the season — win championships....He’s in a totally different world. Remember the Stepford Wives? He’s a Stepford Pitcher.”
On Mike Rizzo’s credentials
“The manager of the Nationals has a world championship ring, called the ’86 Mets, when he was managing Doc Gooden, who was like 20 years old. I think he knows how to handle young pitchers. He’s not gonna burn them out. And then you have a general manager who’s never won a championship. And he’s telling everybody, he knows more than orthopedic surgeons, pitching coaches, everybody. He knows the answer to how you can keep a guy from getting hurt. It’s a wonderful concept. I hope it works. And if you’re hurt, go on the disabled list. If you’re not, then pitch for your team and try to win a world championship. It’s that simple. It shouldn’t be a story. It really shouldn’t be a story. That’s the sad part, that it’s a story. It shouldn’t be. We shouldn’t know the GM’s name or this guy in Washington. Just go out and play.”
On the Lerners
“Then again, they’ve got an owner that is more like Arthur than George Steinbrenner.”
On Strasburg’s father talking to Mike Rizzo
“Do you need your dad to talk to the general manager? You know, that’s sad to me. Is Scott Boras gonna come out? If he talks about Stephen Strasburg, so help me God, I’m gonna go bananas tomorrow night, because this kid is a man. He’s 23 years old, he’s married, he’s making $4 million a year. Speak up for yourself....Nobody’s dad gets involved in their Major League kid’s career. It just doesn’t happen. But it shows you, Tony Gwynn pitched him once a week, every Friday at San Diego State. He goes to Washington, the PR people walk him to the bullpen, almost hold his hand to walk him out there. I mean, it’s just been one thing after another.”
On Strasburg not speaking up
“The one thing that is the resonating idea here is you only get one shot at that ring. And you either want to take it, or you just say, you know what, I’ll do what somebody tells me to do.”
On the J-Zimm comparisons
“What the Nationals are doing, they’re doing it on their own, and they don’t have any kind of data to back it up. And to keep on bringing up Jordan Zimmermann, I’ll bring up [this]: Jordan Zimmermann was rushed to the Major Leagues. Strasburg, rushed to the Major Leagues. Even Drew Storen, rushed to the Major Leagues. All three of them got hurt. So don’t tell me you were protecting them before they got hurt and needed Tommy John surgery. Now after the fact, oh, now we’re gonna hold them back and we’re gonna bring them along cautiously. It doesn’t hold water, the whole argument.”
On the other Nats
“It bothers me, because I could care less what Strasburg does. I care about the rest of the guys in the clubhouse. They’re busting their asses day in and day out. Guys are playing hurt, guys are playing with pain every day, there’s some guys that are probably holding off on surgery ‘til the end of the season, because they’re trying to win a championship....You don’t get second chances in life and/or professional sports. Once again, the arrogance of Mike Rizzo to think, oh, we’re gonna have this long run. Even if you have a long run of winning divisions and getting to the postseason, I’ll bring up from their own division, the Atlanta Braves.”
On Strasburg as a teammate
“If Stephen Strasburg is naive enough to think that he’s going out there by himself every fifth day, and the defense and the catcher and the pitching coach and the manager and everybody else isn’t out there pulling, trying to get this guy to win, and then he just goes out there and gets 18 outs and acts like this is the way it’s supposed to be? It’s kind of sad in a way. I feel sorry for someone that thinks that’s all it’s about, getting my 18 outs and going and taking a shower and doing it again in five days, and when I get to 160 innings then I’m just gonna sit on the bench and hope that they can do it without me. That’s sad. That’s what it really is.”
On Strasburg’s talent
“You still talk about Strasburg like he’s a phenom. He won his 14th game [Wednesday]. Look at his numbers: 225 innings pitched over three years, and he did have the Tommy John surgery, but he doesn’t have any type of numbers to back up the whole phenom thing. So for Mike Rizzo to be claiming that we’re protecting this guy? You’re getting paid to pitch, pitch the guy in the postseason if he’s not hurt. If he’s hurt, put him on the DL. I want to stop talking about it, because you know what, no one’s that special. And that got my ass canned when I was in DC, because I would just remind everybody, listen, nobody’s that special....A once in a generation pitcher that can’t even average six innings pitched a start? And now he’s gonna be shut down because he can’t pitch in the postseason?”
On Strasburg’s mindset
“You get to the point where you’re like I’m gonna go beyond my limits that I ever thought I could go and push myself, because that’s what the best athletes do. And Chris Carpenter admitted that, he said listen, if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it again, because he won his second world championship doing it. And that’s what we’re talking about here. It’s not about Stephen Strasburg. It’s about do you want to help your team win a championship? Do you want to help the guys that have been busting their ass day in and day out? Every time you make a start, every fifth day, they’re there for you. Do you want to help them out?”
On Strasburg’s recovery
“If you haven’t hurt it yet, it’s not gonna get hurt. And you’ve gotten past the threshold in your mind of ok, am I ever gonna get back to it, and Strasburg’s there. This kid’s phenomenal, he knows he can go out there and pitch. If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not broke. So to say that we’re saving you because your career’s gonna last another 15 years, it’s great wishing that and dreaming that, but it’s not realistic. Because nobody can say who’s going to last.”