MASN analyst Rob Dibble will not appear on Nationals broadcasts for at least the next two nights in the wake of controversial comments he made on the radio earlier this week about Stephen Strasburg.
According to MASN spokesman Todd Webster, Dibble requested the days off himself. Ray Knight will be filling in as the game analyst tonight and tomorrow alongside play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter.
"As a baseball fan, you know that the baseball season is a marathon, which starts in March and continues through October, as players, managers, and -- yes, broadcasters -- are on the job nearly every day for more than six months," Webster wrote in an email. "MASN's broadcasters may work anywhere from 35-150 games per season, while the alternate personality may be in the booth for the remaining games. From time to time, other commentators from MASN's deep bench of talent are brought into the broadcast, to offer their perspective and inform the game. At his request, Rob Dibble is taking a few days off, to which he -- or any MASN employee -- is entitled. Ray Knight will provide expert color analysis with Bob Carpenter for the next few days."
MASN announcers generally plan their days off months in advance, often knowing they will be attending family events such as weddings and graduations. Dibble, however, didn't request the time off until last night, according to MASN sources.
In addition to his work on Nationals broadcasts, Dibble also co-hosts a daily baseball show on Sirius XM radio. During a discussion Monday morning of Strasburg, Dibble was critical of the rookie coming out of Saturday night's game in Philadelphia after wincing in pain upon throwing a fifth-inning changeup.
"For me, a little bit has to be put back on Strasburg here," Dibble said. "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."
At the time, the results of Strasburg's MRI (revealing a strained flexor tendon in his right forearm) had not been revealed. Strasburg has since been placed on the 15-day disabled list and is scheduled to undergo an enhanced MRI tomorrow as doctors attempt to determine the extent of the injury.
This controversy came less than two weeks after Dibble came under criticism for comments he made during a MASN broadcast in which he chided two women sitting behind the plate for talking to each other and not paying attention to the game. Dibble later apologized for those remarks.