By The Common Man
As most of you know, baseball’s resident troglodyte, Kenny “Effing” Powers…er, Rob Dibble, crawled out of his primordial ooze yesterday to criticize Stephen Strasburg for coming out of a game with elbow stiffness, saying
“I also look at this from the player’s standpoint, that this is your job. This is what you do. You’re never going to be 100 percent healthy, feel perfect. So you have to take accountability that you’re gonna throw sometimes, your arm’s gonna hurt. You’re gonna be out there on the mound sometimes, the mound is gonna be terrible and the dirt is gonna be a little loose and it might not be so great. You can’t constantly be complaining over every little thing.
“So for me, a little bit has to be put back on Strasburg here. 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.”
Dibble has walked back his comments today, claiming that his two paragraph statement above has been taken out of context,
“If you’re hurt, you can’t suck it up, so that’s a moot point, but if you’re not hurt, that’s what I was talking about. If you’re not hurt and your arm’s fine, then keep pitching….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.”
Obviously, Dibble’s become very familiar with spouting off on topics about which he knows very little, and then having to walk them back. Just last week he decided that two women talking behind home plate just had to be talking about shopping (no way they could be talking about baseball at a baseball game, right?), and that their husbands were probably terribly embarrassed and wondering why they even brought such ungrateful broads to manly sporting contest. For the record, The Common Man’s father buys the best tickets he can when our family goes to games together…and then promptly falls asleep in the 2nd inning or so.
It’s not surprising, at this point, that Dibble would say something dumb. He does not exactly demonstrate impulse control. There was last week’s incident. There was also the ridiculous argument he got into with Ray Knight on the air earlier this year. We can go back to 1991, when Dibble was suspended and fined for angrily throwing a baseball into the stands that injured a first-grade teacher, and appealed his suspension.
Or 1993, when Dibble said there was “no reason” to suspend Marge Schott from the Reds for her comments, among others, that Dave Parker and Eric Davis were “million-dollar niggers,” that Hitler wasn’t all bad, and that “Jap” shouldn’t be considered an offensive term. The MLB Executive Council announced it had “in excess of 10 people” who had heard Schott refer to African-Americans as “nigger, lazy nigger, damn nigger, and dumb, lazy nigger [we call that the trifecta!].”
Dibble told reporters, “We’ve got a lot more problems in society worse than just words….It’s a sick enough world without making such a big deal out of something as petty as words. And you’re even more of a petty person if words like that effect you. I think some of the black community leaders need to get together and get their priorities in order. That’s not a racially motivated statement, it’s just a reality statement. I do a lot of work with inner-city kids. I would just once like to see a black leader show up.” Gosh, TCM can’t imagine why they’d feel unwelcome.
That summer, in the midst of his worst season to date (in which he was walking more than a batter an inning and gave up 8 homers in 42 innings), Dibble complained he wasn’t getting the ball more often.
The next year, he was upset during Spring Training that manager Davey Johnson had questioned his arm strength. Dibble was soon diagnosed with tendonitis, which was soon amended to a rotator cuff tear, and Dibble was done for the year. Indeed, you’d think that if anyone would understand the importance of injury prevention, it’s Dibble. His surgery reportedly was successful, but Dibble kept trying to come back early, lobbying through the press (as was his habit) that he was good to go. So Dibble went on a rehab assignment…and came back with an 0-2 record in 6 appearances with 10 walks and 11 runs in 4 innings. He had a 22.85 ERA.
The next year, Dibble (who had been the Cincinnati Reds union representative) signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox while the rest of his brethren were on strike, though he could only throw in the mid-80s. By the time the season began, it was obvious he didn’t have it anymore. In 14 innings with the Sox, Dibble walked 27 and had a 6.28 ERA. After being waived by Chicago, Dibble was picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers (against whom he had ignited a brawl earlier in the season), where he continued to walk the ballpark (19 in 12 innings) and had an 8.25 ERA.
Invited to Spring Training with the Cubs in 1996, Dibble washed out, taking what he called “a leave of absence.” “I came in quietly,” he reported without a hint of irony, “and I just want to go out quietly…. I haven’t seen any improvement in my control since surgery. It’s embarrassing to me personally and the people who have to keep calling my number in the bullpen. I won’t keep embarrassing them and myself. The game is for gifted players, not for handicapped guys.” And with that, completely forgetting about Pete Gray, Dummy Hoy and countless other “handicapped” guys that have played and occasionally thrived in the game (including Jim Abbott WHO WAS DIBBLE’S TEAMMATE IN 1995!!! Why is this man allowed, nay encouraged, to say things for money again?), Dibble was gone.
Given his own personal history, and how his horrible post-op experience on the mound must have been for him, you’ve got to wonder just why Dibble’s so cavalier with the health of others. Injuries can alter the course of careers, as Dibble well knows, even if he’s chosen to forget.