Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

Sitting here in the cheap seats it's sometimes difficult to ascertain a method to the madness around us. In the curious case of the Washington Nationals, we could be sitting on Ted Lerner's lap (and don't think Teejay hasn't thought about it) and still not catch a whiff of logic's gently sweet smell.

In the midst of an offseason of near-misses and false starts flavored with a generous dollop of public inactivity, the Nats topped themselves yesterday, tapping meathead extraordinaire Rob Dibble to do color on the team's television broadcasts. The outspoken (read: loud and frequently loud wrong) Dibble, who made his bones on the field as a meaner Nuke Laloosh, fills a glaring gap in the Nats' television profile. The team, admittedly, has gone years without an aggressive dick in the booth.

I have no objection whatsover to former athletes manning a broadcast post. They bring a distinct perspective - one that's impossible for a non-player to replicate. Legions of former pros in every sport do terrific work. Legions are boring cliche-spouters, too, but that's not really the point. Dibble, though, represents the worst of the modern athlete, his loud, bullying, close-minded and arrogant braying masking any particular insight earned during his playing career.

Nationals General Manager Stan Kasten embraced Dibble, saying, "We are thrilled to have a talent like Rob Dibble join our broadcast crew. His enthusiasm and knowledge will quickly make him very popular among Nationals viewers. Rob and I talked today about the three things we know he will be: honest, informative and fun." That, and an intemperate, loutish boor, so we've got that going for us. (For the record, loutish boor may be redundantly repetitive, but it's early, I'm only on my first cup of coffee, and Dibble's so overqualified in this area that it may still fit.)

We have to hand it to the Nats' brain trust, though. After weeks of public pummelling from the likes of The Washington Post's Thomas Boswell over the team's inability to meaningfully improve their on-field product, the Nats took a bold step in reframing their overall entertainment image. Not one we agree with, clearly, but a bold step nonetheless. The mind's eye wanders forward now to a hazy, sweat-soaked mid-August evening, when the 34-71 Nats host the 41-64 Pirates in front of 12,458 in the Nation's Capital. The ballpark isn't full, and the fans are restless, but the dozens of viewers on MASN are locked in, rapt in anticipation of Rob Dibble's insightfully nuanced offerings.

As a wiser scribe than I once said (way more than once, actually): What you're doing, Mr. Lerner, I'm not seeing it.

29 comments:

Mark said...

Even though I have absolutely no stake in the Nats it would be nice if they could do something (anything) to improve their team and make it interesting. I mean, this team hold's it spring training less than 15 miles from my house and (aside from St. Louis' trip here once a spring) I have no desire whatsoever to go and watch this horrible fucking team...even for $8 a ticket.

zoltan said...

John Updike, my favorite writer, died yesterday. He could be pretty Gheorghe at times. According to one obiturary, "He was, for my money, one of the greatest belletrists of all time — a master of the short, casual, elegant, whimsical, roving piece about absolutely anything."

rob said...

i confess that i haven't read enough updike, even as his tribute to ted williams ('hub fans bid kid adieu') is among the all-time great pieces of sportswriting. i'll have to rectify that wrong.

zoltan said...

You should start with either the Bech books or The Early Stories: 1953-1975. The Rabbit series is fanastic but depressing.

Rhymenocerous said...

Witches of Eastwick is a very good book. Many may disagree, but I liked the movie as well.

That's the only Updike I read. I can thank an awesome (and somewhat cougar-ish) AP English teacher for having us read that. She also had us reading Ionesco, Ralph Ellison and Joseph Heller. She even let us watch the movie Catch 22 if our parents signed a form b/c there was nudity.

So I got to see bare bush in a movie in my English class in high school. Very good times.

rob said...

soooo...there's a basketball game in winston-salem tonight?

TJ said...

I read Rabbit Run. And just as Zoltan said, it was very good but also pretty depressing.

TJ said...

Why didn't the Lerners just hire John Salley?

TJ said...

I'm not sure if anyone else noticed, but the #1 movie at the box office the last two weeks?

Paul Blart, Mall Cop. I believe it has made something asinine like 60 mil.

rob said...

i've overlooked the unintential comedy value of adding rob dibble to the mix with elijah dukes and lastings milledge.

rob said...

unitential, unintentional, whatever. doing my part to conserve energy by using fewer letters.

TJ said...

Don't forget the addition of Scott Olsen, who likes to punch out random dudes and teammates alike.

Rhymenocerous said...

You folks like to bash Kevin James, but he was pretty good in Hitch. If you watched that movie with little expectations, you came away pretty amused. You also came away with an enhanced appreciation for Eva Mendes.

That 2 week total suggests it isn't terrible. It also suggests James may be entering the Adam Sandler zone, where he can churn out crap geared towards 11 year-olds and their parents that will crack $100 MM at the box office.

Mark said...

Anyone who doubts the collective idiocy of much of America need only look at TJ's comment about Paul Blart for proof of how fucking pathetically stupid much of our population is. There's no excuse for a movie like that to be #1 at the box office, ever. The fact that there are a bunch of worthwhile films currently available to the general public makes it that much worse.

zoltan said...

If I were president I would issue an executive order requiring all movies made in America to feature Eva Mendes (did you see Training Day?) and/or Rosario Dawson (did you see 25th Hour?). That's just one plank in my platform, however.

All men should read Rabbit Run right when they start to consider getting engaged. That is just my advice, not a plank in my presidential platform.

TJ said...

Zoltan, extremely important question about your presidency - who is your house band?

rob said...

and garrett mock, teej, who asks opposing pitchers to hit his players in the ribs while coaching teenagers.

rob said...

the president gets a house band? i may have to reconsider my political aspirations.

Rhymenocerous said...

Who would President Barry's house band be?

zoltan said...

I would get Random Idiots but I understand they disbanded. Same problem with the Wu-Tang (but can you imagine having those guys knocking around the White House - it would be more ridiculous than having Bill Clinton as the first laddie).

My house band would have to be large, relatively young, musically flexible, and distinctly American. I want to enjoy the music, and I want to look forward to hanging out with the band members. So either the Roots or Drive-by Truckers.

Mark said...

Zoltan is Jimmy Fallon?

As for Barry, his house band is clearly Parliament Fuckadelic. No other answer is acceptable.

Finally, Kevin James is not funny. I will not argue this with anyone.

rob said...

that's funny, i was thinking the roots would be great. also, i'd enjoy they might be giants - prolific, capable of multiple styles.

barry could go anywhere from miles to jay-z to john legend to springsteen.

rob said...

p-funk - that's a killer choice.

Mark said...

Nobody asked me, but I'm chiming in with my house band too. It's either Medeski, Martin & Wood or Breakestra. And one day a week we'd have guests singers/mcs in the white house.

zoltan said...

I honestly considered P-Funk but those guys are getting pretty old and likely aren't as boisterous as they used to be. I do plan to see them next month when they come to town though.

zoltan said...

I don't get the Jimmy Fallon joke but I guess it could be worse. I could be Horatio Sanz, who is simply a fat Jimmy Fallon.

Mark said...

The Roots are going to be Jimmy Fallon's house band when he takes over Conan' spot.

P-Funk may have slowed down some but Clinton just got arrested for crack possession not too many years ago in Tallahassee so I imagine they can still get down from time to time. And it would be worth it so that they could perform "Paint the White House Black".

TJ said...

I'm bringing Steve Perry back via Executive Order and having Journey rock the Oval Office.

rob said...

i'd like to recreate the final party scene in pcu in the oval office.