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Dibble revisited, and my brilliant f***ing idea

September 2, 2010

Rob Dibble will have to ply his trade someplace other than Washington, DC, as he’s been given his unconditional release by the Nats after calling Stephen Strasburg a sissy-boy.

Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports foreshadowed the move with a mildly pious post arguing that Dibble should be fired not for the specific crimes of dissing Stephen Strasburg and the female of the species, but for the general offense of being a lousy announcer. In today’s update, he ends with a preachy flourish: “I’m sure he’ll land on his feet with another prominent gig, because ‘loud’ and ‘controversial’ can generate ratings, but for now at least he’s no longer in the same profession as Vin Scully.”

And thus I find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to make a terrible, terrible confession.

Except for the sexism and the jerkiness, I’d rather listen to Dibble call a game than Scully.

Let me immediately begin backtracking and rationalizing the heresy I’ve just printed. I recognize, firstly, that that’s rather like saying “Except for the steroids and the attitude, I’d rather have Barry Bonds on my team than Roberto Clemente.” I want to be clear that sexism and jerkiness are generally qualities that I find inseparable from, not ancillary to, a person’s character. I know that by every objective standard, Dibs is a lousy announcer and not exactly a shining human being; by contrast, I have the utmost respect for Vin Scully—for his knowledge, his longevity, his integrity, his significance to the Dodgers and their fans nationwide.

Scully and Dibble represent polar-opposite ends of the spectrum of what I appreciate and (as a de facto outsider) envy about baseball. The Scully end of the spectrum is the one that’s easy to admit to and write about, the one with the gravitas of history and the magic of mythology, the corporeal manifestation of The Great American Sport As It Ought To Be Played. Dibble’s end? It’s the one with the grime and the foul language and the fastballs in the ribs. Neither image of the game is complete or honest without the other; neither, frankly, is the sort of cultural construct that my progressive feminist self would find compelling in practically any other context. But this is baseball.

And, heaven help me, Dibble, with all his coarse homerism and back-in-my-day self-indulgence, was one of my occasional guilty pleasures until he started flying his misogynist flag too plainly to miss. (I want desperately to believe that that sort of grittiness doesn’t have to walk hand-in-knuckle-dragging-hand with sexism, but alas, not in Dibs’ case.) As for Scully? I love and honor the guy, but when I listen to the Dodgers on the radio, I count the innings until he’s off duty. I’m not going to defend that position, or even attempt to explain it. It’s just proof that there’s no accounting for taste, and there’s room in baseball for all of us.

So perhaps the real problem, as Gleeman notes, is that in an age of endless media options, most of us still only get a couple of choices when it comes to our team’s play-by-play and color commentary. Sure, you can switch to the Spanish-language station, or log on to MLB.com if you want to hear the opposing team’s broadcast, but otherwise your choice is between whoever’s on the radio and whoever’s on the TV.

Which leads to the promised brilliant idea, developed some years back in collaboration with one of my oldest and dearest friends, who, like me, is a passionate Cardinal fan. While I think there’s room for all sorts of different broadcast options—women announcers, analysis for kids, Fantasy Baseball-themed commentary, etc.—what we decided we really need is an all-profanity broadcast. Can you just imagine the catharsis factor?

“Aaaaand Kyle Lohse has just walked another ****ing batter. What genius bought into the bull**** that he was ready to come back and pitch at the ****ing big-league level yet when he couldn’t even get the Triple-A *******s out?”

I think there’d be a big market for this, and I know I’d have tuned in during, say, the Cardinals’ most recent road-trip, during which they managed to lose eight games out of…..Hey, what do you know? Rob Dibble’s résumé just arrived in the mail.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt permalink
    September 2, 2010 10:24 am

    I formally nominate you for the female-profane announcer position!

  2. Erin permalink
    September 4, 2010 7:58 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with Matt. And you know I am polar opposite of you where Scully is concerned. And I wholeheartedly agree that there’s room for us all. (even Padres fans) ❤

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