The Toy Department recently talked with Rob Dibble, who's in his first season as MASN's color commentator on Washington Nationals telecasts. Dibble, who was the Most Valuable Player of the 1990 National League Championship Series during the Cincinnati Reds' World Series-winning season, discusses his new broadcasting role, what needs to happen to ignite a true Orioles-Nationals rivalry and more.
QUESTION: : For viewers who have watched you for years on any number of sports shows, the Rob Dibble on MASN Nationals' telecasts seems - dare I say it - more mature. At 45, is the Nasty Boy becoming a nice man?
ANSWER: : It depends on what role I'm in. If I'm doing semi-comedy, sports news show, then they want me to be looser and more open. One of the things they always used to say to me was, 'You really always have this serious look on your face.' I'm, like, 'I'm really not that serious. It's just a look I have. That's maybe a deception on my part, but I can't change the way I look.' Anybody who knows me knows I'm nonstop cracking jokes. I know how my bosses want me to be and how I'm supposed to be in this role and I act accordingly.
QUESTION: : On the Junkies radio show a few weeks back I heard you say the Nationals are capable of winning 90 games. Would you care, as they say in Congress, to revise and extend your remarks?
ANSWER: : I didn't say what year they would win 90 games (laughs), so I was politically correct. I've seen a lot of teams over the last 20 years, not only as a player but as an analyst, and this is an excellent team. They have some huge holes that they need to fill and one of them is defense. This team has all the makings of a 90-win team. They just don't know it.
QUESTION: : We have the Orioles and Nationals playing each other six times this season. It's not much of a rivalry now. Will that ever change and will we have ourselves a honest-to-goodness regional rivalry?
ANSWER: : Absolutely and very soon. I know my team and I've seen the Orioles an awful lot. Dave Trembley is trying to turn things around, but that's the toughest division in the league and kind of an uphill battle. I think that with some of the younger players coming up and some of the talent I'm seeing on the field, once they settle in and start thinking about getting the bragging rights of the area, that's when you're going to get your rivalry. They don't have to be right next door, like the Cubs and the White Sox. Having grown up in Connecticut between the Red Sox and the Yankees or the Bruins and Rangers and Islanders or the Celtics and the Knicks, you know they want to be the best in the area. When they rise and become competitive in their leagues, then you'll see a Nationals-Orioles rivalry.
QUESTION: : Which two teams do you see in this year's World Series?
ANSWER: : I'm picking the Cubs and the Red Sox because I'm all about history and I'd like to see the Cubs put this 100-year deal behind them. I love Lou (Piniella) and I love some of the guys on that team. Cubs-Red Sox, I think that would be great for baseball.
QUESTION: : One last question, Rob. Who was the nastiest Nasty Boy?
ANSWER: : By far, me (laughs). Being mean and nasty was just part of my nature... I was never well-liked on a baseball field. My thing was, you're going to get a battle. That's what my dad taught me, to be the best at whatever I do or try to be the best. In a battle out there, you're going to get the best of me and I'm going to get the best of you. That's the thing I loved about my career. We could be getting blown out and because of my reputation, benches would stand up and they'd start heckling, but they would still give me their best at-bats.