Rob Dibble tells Stephen Strasburg to "suck it up"

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Don’t act so surprised. We all knew this was coming. During an appearance on Sirius XM’s MLB Network Radio this afternoon, Rob Dibble essentially called out Stephen Strasburg for being a wimp.

I didn’t hear it as it happened, but Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post was nice enough to transcribe it all for us. I recommend you read the whole thing for the full context of Dibble’s remarks, but here’s just a taste.

“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.”

He continued:

“What Mike Rizzo and Jim Riggleman do, that’s totally different,” Dibble said. “They have to think of the long-term ramifications of what they’re doing right now with this kid’s career. As far as this kid? Stop crying, go out there and pitch. Period.”

“This is the major leagues. This is not college any more. You’re not on scholarship. You’re being paid to do the job and guys depend on you, and I think it’s unfortunate that the Nationals and the team are in a situation here where this kid now, he feels any kind of arm pain, he’s gonna call you out? That’s scary to me.”

“You give these guys $15 million bucks, please,” he said. “Get your butt out there and play every fifth day.”

Yes, this from a guy, who as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post points out, never threw more than 99 innings in a season. Between the minors and majors this season, Strasburg has thrown 123 innings.

The funny part about this whole thing is that I’m watching the MASN broadcast of the Nats-Cubs game right now and Dibble hasn’t said one harsh word in regards to Strasburg. Of course, he was already on thin ice for the knuckle-dragging comments he recently made about some women “talking” behind home plate, so his restraint is almost certainly calculated.

Frankly, I couldn’t be any happier that he continues to put his foot in his mouth, whether on MASN or Sirius XM. Living in the D.C. area, I’m forced to watch him anytime I want to watch a Nationals game. Call me an eternal optimist, but hopefully a few more moronic comments will eventually put him out of a job. At this rate, he’s probably due by the ninth inning tonight.   

Must-Click Link: Do the players even care about money anymore?

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Yesterday I wrote about how the union has come to find itself in the extraordinarily weak position it’s in. The upshot: their leadership and their membership, happily wealthy by virtue of gains realized in the 1970s-1990s, has chosen to focus on small, day-to-day, quality of life issues rather than big-picture financial issues. As a result, ownership has cleaned their clock in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. If the union is to ever get back the considerable amount of ground it has lost over the past 15 years, it’ll require a ton of hard work and perhaps drastic measures.

A few hours later, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan dropped an absolute must-read that expands on that topic. Through weeks of interviews with league officials, agents and players, he explains why the free agent market is as bad as it is for players right now and why so many of them and so many fans seem not to understand just how bad a spot the players are in, business wise.

Passan keys on the media’s credulousness regarding teams’ stated rationales for not spending in free agency. About how, with even a little bit of scrutiny, the “[Team] wants to get below the luxury tax” argument makes no sense. About how the claim that this is a weak free agent class, however true that may be, does not explain why so few players are being signed.  About how so few teams seem interested in actually competing and how fans, somehow, seem totally OK with it.

Passan makes a compelling argument, backed by multiple sources, that, even if there is a lot of money flowing around, the fundamental financial model of the game is broken. The young players are the most valuable but are paid pennies while players with 6-10 years service time are the least valuable yet are the ones, theoretically anyway, positioned to make the most money. The owners have figured it out. The union has dropped the ball as it has worried about, well, whatever the heck it is worried about. The killer passage on all of this is damning in this regard:

During the negotiations leading to the 2016 basic agreement that governs baseball, officials at MLB left bargaining stupefied almost on a daily basis. Something had changed at the MLBPA, and the league couldn’t help but beam at its good fortune: The core principle that for decades guided the union no longer seemed a priority.

“It was like they didn’t care about money anymore,” one league official said.

Personally, I don’t believe that they don’t care about money anymore. I think the union has simply dropped the ball on educating its membership about the business structure of the game and the stakes involved with any given rule in the CBA. I think that they either so not understand the financial implications of that to which they have agreed or are indifferent to them because they do not understand their scope and long term impact.

It’s a union’s job to educate its membership about the big issues that may escape any one member’s notice — like the long term effects of a decision about the luxury tax or amateur and international salary caps — and convince them that it’s worth fighting for. Does the MLBPA do that? Does it even try? If it hasn’t tried for the past couple of cycles and it suddenly starts to now, will there be a player civil war, with some not caring to jeopardize their short term well-being for the long term gain of the players who follow them?

If you care at all about the business and financial aspects of the game, Passan’s article is essential.