During the baseball season, there is one place to catch a Nats game if you're not at the Park, and that's on MASN, or its affiliate network MASN2. (According to Mac, this is one of the things he is thankful for, but I digress.) If you're committed to watching it on TV, you're stuck with MASN.
Starting in 2009, MASN signed an interesting guy to be Bob Carpenter's partner on the Nationals TV broadcasts: Rob Dibble. I have to admit, I loved it from the beginning. To me, the two were a great duo. Carpenter was the soft-spoken voice of logic and reason; Dibble was the loud-mouth, cocky former player. They're both clearly homers. As offensive and in-your-face as Dibble can be, he truly cared about the success of the Nationals and its players. What's more, I think the few weeks where fans had to listen to Ray Knight toward the end of the 2010 season showed just what the viewers lost when Dibble was fired from MASN.
You have to admit, there were some interesting events toward the end of the year, namely the Nyjer Morgan vs. Chris Volstad fight, where many people were left saying, "Man, I wonder what Dibble would be saying right now?" I was one of them. That's what made him great. People tuned in just because of the hype: "What will Dibble say next?"
I know many of you that read this blog, and many other Nats bloggers, take a very different tone than I do on Dibs. I was one who found Dibble charming in his lack of tact and blatant cheering for the Nats. Maybe that's because I'm the same way, a no-tact Nats fan. Let's be honest, when it's as quiet as it was on a weekday at the Park, someone had to get excited.
Rob Dibble undoubtedly said things that were offensive during his tenure, and dramatic steps needed to be taken to rectify them. A suspension was not out of line for his comments about the women behind home plate. An on-air apology to Stephen Strasburg after telling him to "suck it up" would have been warranted. But to be canned for that? I understand that it was a snowballing situation that finally reached its limits with the Strasburg comments, but it seems like there were many just looking for an excuse to can Dibs at that point.
We don't yet know who Bob Carpenter's partner will be to start the 2011 season on MASN. One thing I do know: They'll have one heck of a time getting a guy that was as passionate about the success of the Nationals and that knows as much about pitching as Rob Dibble. I'm going to keep listening to MLB Network Radio every morning on the way to work to get my Dibble fix.