When I was a kid, I was a big fan of Rob Dibble. Even though he played for the Reds, a team I disliked for some reason (I think it had something to do with Chris Sabo's goggles, though looking back I'm not quite sure), I still really liked him. I liked all three of Cincinnati's relievers, in fact; all three of the Nasty Boys. Dibble was my favourite, though, because he could throw harder than literally anyone I had ever seen. It was just amazing. He had a huge leg kick and a sidearm delivery and the ball just exploded out of his hand in a way no other pitcher could match. For ten-year-old Aaron, Rob Dibble was the coolest thing in the world.
Which is why it hurts me more than you'll ever know to admit Rob Dibble is even dumber, and even more of a douchebag, than I had previously realized.
"I'm not a doctor, and I haven't read the MRI yet, but I'm pretty sure he's gonna come back fine. And for me, if you can throw the next day, then you probably could have continued out there on the baseball field."
"I mean, excuse me. There's guys I played with that had screws holding their elbows together. Chris Sabo played two weeks on a broken ankle. I put a steel plate in my wrist so I could be back in five weeks instead of three months. So, this is your choice. You can either suck it up and be a man at 22 making $2 million a year with a $15 million contract, or every time you get an ache and pain you can go out of the game and say I'm gonna let down the other 24 guys right here and possibly forfeit the game."
There's plenty more, of course, most of it revolving around Dibble recounting how his arm hurt constantly when he was twelve and couldn't pick up a water glass as a teenager because of the pain. Oh, and by the way, he loved it that way. So, you know. All very rational, intelligent stuff.
I really find this whole line of thinking fascinating. There's plenty of jealousy in here, of course; it seems an awful lot of players just like Dibble are pissed they missed out on the big paydays, and take every chance they get to vent their spleen about the salaries of the spoiled modern athlete. But even beyond that, the thought process of, "We're paying this guy so-and-so dollars, so he needs to man up and earn that money." Never mind the investment the team made, and the risk the player, in 'manning up', will essentially ruin that whole investment. It's analogous to going out and paying $800 for a Ralph Lauren cashmere sweater, then refusing to get it dry-cleaned because, for that price, "That shit better be machine-washable! Hell, for what I paid it oughtta wash it own damn self!" Or buying a Porsche and refusing to change the oil because a car that expensive shouldn't need oil changes, damn it.
There's also a pretty remarkable level of reactionary thinking here, too; much like Al Hrabosky and his continuous line of BS about why things should be done the way they were in the old days, Dibble is completely missing the point that there are reasons we do things differently now. Sure, injuries were handled differently way back when, but there wasn't nearly as much understanding then of how things like pitching arms actually worked. We know more now, and treat things differently because we understand them better. I mean, back when Rob Dibble was a kid, there was still lead paint all over the place, too; that doesn't mean we should still be slathering it on our walls now that we know better. (Then again, without all that lead paint Dibble wouldn't have the same broadcasting career he has currently, so maybe he would argue more lead is just what we need.)
What I really find most interesting of all, though, is the seeming inability of Rob Dibble to conceive of a possible cause-and-effect relationship here. He talks about how badly his arm hurt all the time when he was young, and how he got a plate put in his wrist to come back early, and all this stuff, and never once seems to consider that maybe, juuuust maybe, those things are the reason why he was washed up at 28 and completely out of baseball at 31. He got about four really good years out of his arm, and then just blew his arm out. And you don't think there just might be some correlation between the way you treated your arm and the fact you had approximately the same career arc as an NFL running back, Rob?
Oh, well. I suppose things like this happen mostly to make the rest of us appreciate our blessings in life. Blessings like the fact Rob Dibble isn't a doctor, even though he plays one on the radio. I'm sure after he gets a good look at those MRIs he'll be able to tell us all about what's really wrong with the modern athlete.
Oh, and just for shits and giggles, here's some footage of Rob Dibble telling us all about Stephen Strasburg before he realised the kid was, you know, a pussy.