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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Two Good-Bys: One Good, One Not Good

Well, that game got out of control in a hurry. With the game securely in hand by the third inning, the Marlins can pick their spot to drill Nyjer Morgan. Only reason I still have it on here.

But the butt-whippin' in progress and eventual retatiation against Morgan aren't the news of the day for us weary citizens of Nats Town.

Nope. We're saying good-by to two people. One is more good riddance. The other almost brings a tear to my eye.

We'll do the sad good-by first. Brian Oliver, the outstanding owner/editor of Nationals Farm Authority, is giving it up. Brian is about to embark on a new career as a high school math teacher, a very admirable calling and one he will do exceptionally well. Something had to give and the labor of love over his paying job was a clear call - though not an easy one.

Those who follow the Natmosphere as it has come to be known are aware there's all kinds of blogs out there. You can find things to read on the Nats pretty much all day long. We come in all shapes, styles and sizes. I'm more of the stereotypical "Mom's Basement" blogger. Just someone who throws his thoughts out there and welcomes all to read, agree or disagree. If someone enjoys what I write, so much the better. But let's be honest. There's no real value here beyond the pleasure anyone may get from reading.

Brian? He found a niche and became damn good at it. Exceptionally good. Authority-level good! He knew the system and its people inside and out. His site provided tons of value, probably more than any other Nats blog out there including those done by the media pros (and that's not a knock on them at all). Brian did what no one else was doing.

To do it as well as he did is incredibly time-consuming, so Brian's decision is understandable.

On top of all that, I had the pleasure of getting to know Brian over the past couple of years. I've been to Bloggers Days with him (even though he's now credentialed, he'll always be one of us). I've watched games like a regular Joe with him. I've tipped one or two with him. Just a supremely nice man and I trust he'll still be around the park so we can continue to enjoy his company.

His future students are lucky people. Best wishes to you, Mr. Oliver.

As for that other good by, uh, good riddance. Everyone has heard by now. Rob Dibble is done. He finally spewed some venom - suck it up, kid - that poisoned his standing with the team. His "requested vacation" has turned into a permanent absence.

Did anyone really believe that requested vacation stuff? That's some knee-deep bullshit right there, folks.

Here's the thing: I'm glad he's gone from the booth. He'd become a caricature up there. Listening to him grunt, groan and cheer over Bob Carpenter's calls made listening to the broadcasts painful rather than pleasurable. It's disappointing because he was quite capable of quality analysis. In between the horsecrap, he would come up with some good insight. And, for all his cheering, he'd bring the heat when necessary.

I don't think Rob's a bad guy. Truly. One of the nights I spent with the aforementioned Brian was at a restaurant in Crystal City with Rob and some other bloggers (I love you all but you're not leaving so only Brian gets a by-name shoutout). MASN set it up and it was like two games into Rob's tenure. So of course he's going to schmooze and make nice with us. But it didn't seem forced. He seemed to be enjoying himself. If not, he's one hell of an actor.

What he couldn't hide forever, though, was a case of insufferable arrogance. Lord. You saw it in so many places. How dare anybody challenge the great Rob Dibble - did you know he used to play the game?

He got into it with a blogging colleague at one of the blogger days. He got into it with Ray Knight - ON THE AIR - one night. Differences of opinion are fine and they can spice up a broadcast. Dismissive gesutres, eye rolls and being genuinely disrespectful are not fine and Rob was all three in that debate (besides being wrong).

After his Strasburg cracks, he later made some snide comments about Knight on his radio show. That may have been just as egregious as the Strasburg stuff. Hey, Rob, you PLAYED THE GAME. You don't rip teammates in public.

(And I still say Ray could kick his ass 10 ways to Sunday and not have to roll up his sleeves. Don't let Ray's southern charm fool you - I get in a row, he's who I want on my side)

Rob also didn't like to be criticized. Who does? So I get that. But it is part of the turf for broadcasters (and writers and, heck, even us bloggers). For such a tough guy, he had really, really thin skin. You could hear the blood boiling under that thin skin every time he said the word "bloggers." I kept thinking of Yosemite Sam and his "ooooh, I hates rabbits" every time Dibble said "bloggers."

Again, I don't think he's a bad guy at heart. I wish him no ill will at all. I'm just glad he's off "my" broadcasts. For all my kvetching and whining, I still love this team. I still love few things more than sitting down to watch and I'm glad I will be able to do that in relative quiet.

So good luck to you both, Brian and Rob. One of you, I'd welcome back in a heartbeat.

(and let me add right here that if things happen in threes, is a good-bye for Scott Olsen coming soon? Have we seen his last start? Will the Marlins score 50 tonight?)


Alan said...

Thanks Mike, well said. Your take on Dibble is dead on. And you write from direct experience. Glad you get out of the basement once in a while. I like to learn things, and by now Dibble has become repetitive and boring as well as arrogant.

MikeHarris said...

Thanks Alan, appreciate you reading.

Anonymous said...

Nice, best take on Dibble I've seen on the Net or in hard copy.

MikeHarris said...

Wow. Thanks much. My head swells (and it is big to begin with). Appreciate you reading.

bdrube said...

Totally agree with you about Dibble. Two main points that stick out for me:

1). If you're gonna dish it out you HAVE to be able to take it. Otherwise you're not controversial but just a loudmouthed jerk.

2). There are only 30 MLB TV color announcer positions available (all right 29, forgot about Vin Scully's solo act). I imagine that they are HIGHLY coveted. Let's get someone in here who is a first rate announcer who adds rather than subtracts from the broadcasts. That should be so darn difficult.

ckstevenson said...

What happens to Brian's media credential with the Nats? If he's not blogging anymore, doesn't he have to give it back? And if so, who could possibly get it?

MikeHarris said...

I suspect Brian will return his credential. He's not the type to use it just to get in the stadium.

It will be the Nats call who, if anyone, gets it. Of all the bloggers, he had to be No. 1 on the list of those who deserved one (Zuckerman doesn't count - technically a blogger but really a beat writer online. Plus, he has his BWAA lifetime pass now).

I have no business with one so I know it won't be me. I wouldn't even ask. With Brian gone, there are now four credentialed bloggers (NatsNewsNetwork, Nats320, the one Hendo works with and, I believe, Federal Baseball)

Cathy said...

Wishing Brian all the best and your words on Dibble were so much more eloquent than mine!

MikeHarris said...

Thanks, Cathy, and I doubt that.