I hope Rob Dibble feels about as good as he announces right now.
Dibble, who serves as the Nationals’ television analyst, made headlines for saying during a radio interview that Stephen Strasburg should “suck it up” and pitch through the arm pain that knocked him out of Saturday’s start.
Dibble’s anti-Strasburg rant included all sorts of cringe-worthy statements–all of which were particularly absurd given his own lengthy injury history–but here are some of the “highlights”:
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. Stop crying. Go out there and pitch, period.
Turns out, that “little sore elbow” was a significantly torn UCL and requires Tommy John surgery. Of course, Dibble couldn’t have had any way of knowing that. Except he also claimed to know “exactly what the doctor who looked at Strasburg had said.”
Later, after he’d been criticized for his comments, Dibble lashed out at “bloggers”:
I’ve been playing baseball since I was six years old, so that’s 40 years I’ve been on a baseball field and around a baseball field, and so our opinions are formulated through facts, not fiction, not their little chat room jargon. And so they can try and twist it any way they want, and if a guy’s hurt, he’s hurt, he’s going to go on the disabled list, it’s a moot point, but if he’s not hurt get your butt out there and play. They’re two totally different scenarios, so, you know, stick to what you know, which is nothing, and stick to your little blogs.
To recap: Based on his 40 years of experience and opinions “formulated through facts, not fiction, not their little chat room jargon” Dibble concluded that a 21-year-old pitcher with a torn elbow ligament should “suck it up” and “stop crying” because “you can’t have the cavalry come in and save your butt every time you feel a little sore elbow.”
My hope for Strasburg, the Nationals, and their fans is first and foremost that he makes a full recovery and comes back stronger than ever in 2012. Beyond that, it sure would be nice if by the time Strasburg does return Dibble isn’t still spewing his special brand of macho garbage and grunt-filled commentary from the broadcast booth.
Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.
The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?
Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.
The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.
I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: