August 25, 2010

Dibble To Strasburg: Stop Whining, Pitch In Pain

Rob Dibble is one of the dumbest baseball analysts [sic] on the planet. Among the bits of information I have heard him pass on to fans is that the most important thing a successful closer needs is not pitching talent, but "attitude".

On his radio show recently, Dibble had some thoughts on Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg, who left Saturday's game against the Phillies in the fifth inning after grimacing in pain and talking with his manager, pitching coach, and trainer.

FanHouse notes that Dibble (naturally) first "regaled the audience with stories about how tough players were in his day" (which ignorant players have been doing for 130+ years; you could look it up) and then said:
I'm not a doctor, and I haven't read the MRI yet, but I'm pretty sure he's gonna come back fine. ... You can't constantly be complaining over every little thing. So for me, a little bit has to be put back on Strasbug 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.
(Dan Steinberg at the Washington Post has much more.)

FanHouse's Josh Alper comments:
You know what we call guys who keep throwing when they feel unusual pain and don't make it a point to tell the trainer and manager that there's a problem? Mark Prior.
Prior is just one of the more recent additions to a long list of men who had their shot at a successful baseball career ruined. Tom Boswell adds a couple more examples that happened to turn out okay:
After beating Sandy Koufax, 1-0, in the World Series in '66, [Jim] Palmer missed almost two full seasons at 21 and 22. [Roger] Clemens had season-ending shoulder surgery in his second year as New England wept.
Alper reports that when the Nats gave Strasburg an MRI, "something was amiss in his forearm" and ends with this:
Anyone who thinks that you shouldn't trust an athlete who says that he thinks something is wrong with his body should spend some time reading up on J.R. Richard and less time slamming them on the radio before the results of medical tests have even been revealed.
I blogged about Richard in mid-July.

Some will say the Nats are babying Strasburg. Others will say he's not tough enough, or shouldn't show pain ... Some are stupid; others are even dumber.
Last night, Strasburg was placed on the disabled list with a strained flexor tendon in his right forearm.


Anonymous said...

It would be nice if people paid to sit on their behinds and discuss sports would cease questioning the intestinal fortitude of athletes who could run circles around them in every category of physical perseverance. It's a joke. Isn't there some other, slightly less idiotic theme that could be harped on?

Every time one of these guys makes some statement about playing in pain, I think of this --,6894/

laura k said...

I'm not a doctor, and I haven't read the MRI yet

...and I'm not in Strasburg's body and have no idea how much pain he's in, and I won't suffer if Strasburg's career falls in the crapper because he exacerbated an injury by continuing to play, and in fact there are no consequences to anything I say, so I can and will continue to malign players and accuse them of not being tough enough, because all I do for a living is run my mouth with ignorant crap, contribute nothing whatsoever to the game and pick up a large paycheque.

laura k said...

Beth's post from the Onion is excellent, I recommend everyone check it out.

Tom DePlonty said...

It's the same as in politics. Many have learned how to make a living by appealing to the lizard brain. Riling the audience up against "cheaters" (here, spoiled athletes) is one useful meme. "Everything was better in the old days" pops up an awful lot too.

Dan C. said...

Not to mention Dibble himself had a career full of stints on the DL and only played in seven years before his injuries lead him to retirement. Deadspin did a nice job of listing how "playing through injuries" made Dibble a forgettable part of baseball:

johngoldfine said...

As always, Joe Posnanski has some very good things to say:

laura k said...

Riling the audience up against "cheaters" (here, spoiled athletes) is one useful meme. "Everything was better in the old days" pops up an awful lot too.

Good point! The cheater theme, usually built on lies and distortions, is popular on many fronts.

Good to see Dibble's DL time making the rounds, too.

Kathryn said...

Rob Dibble is the worst analyst [sic] out there. He is the reason I no longer listen to the MLB channel on XM. It has been a nice two years.

allan said...

Can anyone doubt that the Tigers flat-out ruined Mark Fidrych's career? Look at his game log as a 21-year-old rookie in 1976 (29 starts, 24 CG, including 5 of 10+ innings). Well, at least the team made a hell of a profit on him for one season!

I also believe the Cubs ruined Kerry Wood's career as a starter by overusing him in 1998. Half of his 26 starts were 115+ pitches as a 21-year-old. He missed all of 1999.

FenFan said...

The Sox ruined several young arms during the early sixties (Don Schwall, anyone?).

I would assume that these are the same people questioning Ellsbury's rib injuries?

allan said...

Every team must have a list a mile long. Many of the arms were probably ruined in the minors and we have no idea who they are. How much anger would you have if you knew a team had absolutely ruined your shot at a MLB career and $$$?

Three good comments on the Deadspin piece:

Rob Dibble thinks that Dave Dravecky retired too early.


Innings Strasburg has thrown this year: 123
Dibble's career high for innings pitched in a season: 99


I understand where Rob is coming from. That career high 99 IP in 74 games in '89 was just murder on his arm. What a fucking workhorse.

tim said...

We wouldn't have this problem if Dusty Baker was managing the Nats.

Michael Holloway said...

Tom DePlonty, nicely said.

It's what I wanted to say as I read.

The 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps' crap.

On the one side we all want to be independent and indestructible; on the other we're human beings - we need each other.

But some turn that social imperative towards guilt and fear. The timid skulker, the child hiding from responsibility, their manhood, their destiny, is used by military propagandists for example, who take it to the extreme. Young people convinced to go to war, only to learn (if they're lucky) that they've spent their human spirit on a pack of lies - sold them by snake oil salesmen who knew exactly what buttons they were pushing.

While baseball is not war, war is messy and it can blow back along many vectors. Sometimes the victim internalize their abuse, and spread it unconsciously, to the next children... Rob?

FenFan said...

Now this...

Strasburg vows strong return from Tommy John op

Pitch through it, you pussy. Right, Mr. Dibble? :)