Monday, June 15, 2009

Thom Loverro Hates Rob Dibble

Columnist Thom Loverrro has this column in today's Washington Times which is very critical of MASN's Washington Nationals telecast color commentator, Rob Dibble. Loverro's primary criticsm of Dibble is that Dibble is uninformed, especially when it comes to the Nationals pitching staff. This differs from other writers who have criticized Dibble for being too much of a homer, particularly when it comes to his use of "us" and "we" and encouraging words like "let's get two and get out of this" and "atta boy". Of course, as Loverro points out his column, Dibble's fan-like mentality has won over many Nationals fans.

For me personally, the jury is still out on Dibble as a commentator. I will readily admit I wasn't very enthused when I read during the offseason that he had been hired by MASN. And, during the first few weeks of the season I thought his criticism of rookie starting pitchers Sharon Martis and Jordan Zimmermann was a little too harsh. But, I will say Dibble's enthusiasm during the broadcasts is an improvement of the dull delivery of Don Sutton who seemed to talk about his playing days during game broadcasts as much, or more, than Dibble.

Speaking for myself, and I'm sure many longtime D.C. area residents will agree, the best local baseball television announcing team I've ever heard is Mel Proctor and John Lowenstein. They kept fans entertained and interested as they blended just the right mix of baseball knowledge and levity on Home Team Sports Orioles broadcasts from the mid-80s until the mid 90s . No one who saw it will ever forget the spring training game broadcast when Lowenstein yelled out the back window of the broadcast booth for the hot dog vendor on the ground outside the stadium to send two hot dogs up to the broadcast booth. Cameras stayed on the vendor as he bewilderdly looked around to see who was trying to get his attention. If I remember correctly, Lowenstein got his hot dogs a couple of innings later.

But, back to present and the Nationals. My friend and fellow blogger, Tadcranky, has a theory about the Nationals inability to sign upper level free agents. Tadcranky's theory is that as long as the Nationals appear as if they are going be awful the following year, no upper level free agent is going to sign with them. A premiere player is going to get the same the amount of money to play for a contender, or at least a team that will flirt with .500. So, why would the free agent sign with a team that may lose 100 games? I think the same theory holds true for broadcasters. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of studio analyst and color commentator jobs associated with Major League Baseball. So, why would a top tier TV analyst sign on to follow a losing team with a new and questionable fan base for the length of 162 game season?

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