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June 5, 2009 at 6:01 am ET
Rob Dibble: “You can’t just call strikes because a guy is going for his 300th victory.”

You remember Rob, right?  One of the “Nasty Boys” in Cincinnati.  Co-hosted The Dan Partrick Radio Show and Best Damn Sports Show Period.  Well, apparently Rob has fallen on hard times recently, because now he’s the color analyst on Washington Nationals TV broadcasts.

I can only imagine how frustrating calling Nationals games must be for Dibble and his partner Bob Carpenter, guys who have enjoyed great successes at other stops in their careers.  Actually, I don’t need to imagine it.  It shines through each and every day… like yesterday for example.

The Situation

  • Randy Johnson is in line for his 300th win.
  • Giants lead 2-1, bottom 8th.
  • Bases loaded, two outs.
  • Adam Dunn at the plate with a full count.
  • Game #1 of doubleheader, and it’s raining.

The Pitch

dunndibbleThe Commentary (After the break the pitch is shown again with the MASN Strike Track.)

Rob Dibble: Below the knees. Below our Pitch Track.  And (Umpire) Tim Timmons now in line to save Randy Johnson’s 300th victory.

Bob Carpenter: Yeah… they’ll give it to Brian Wilson.

Dibble: They have not called that strike all year.  Joe Kerrigan, pitching coach for Pittsburgh, talked about it — they don’t give that knee strike anymore.  You can’t just call strikes because a guy is going for his 300th victory.

Carpenter: That’s a ten-year veteran sitting back there.  And the Nationals have just found out in the last two weeks that they can’t fight City Hall.

Dibble: Nope.

Carpenter: I think everyone in the ballpark, with the exception of the 25 guys wearing grey uniforms — and some coaches, clubhouse guys, maybe a couple of Giants broadcasters — thought that was ball four.  That would have been a horrible way for Johnson to lose 300 but, if it’s a ball, it’s a ball.

Dibble: Do you want that?  Do you want that 300th win if it’s just given to you by the home plate umpire?  There’s a guy (Adam Dunn on screen) who leads the National League in walks — one of the best batter’s eye in the game.  Below his knees and he’s 6’6″.

Carpenter: I guess we’ll never know what might have been.

I notice it from time to time as well.  There is no consistency with the strike zone from game to game, inning to inning, sometimes even pitch to pitch.  It’s frustrating, and it’s something baseball needs to make an effort to address with their umpires.

That said, I think Dibble and Carpenter were out of line on this one.

At game speed it certainly looked like a strike to me. With the stills it looks perfectly borderline. It certainly wasn’t definitively enough a ball to begin accusing an umpire of handing Johnson his coveted 300th win. If anything, the Pitch Track shows it nicked the very bottom of the zone.

I know Dunn has a fantastic eye, but hitters also have to know the situation and not allow an umpire to make a call on them.  If it’s nicking the zone on Pitch Track, it’s too close to take.  Never once were they critical of Dunn for taking a borderline pitch, and that’s something I consistently hear home broadcasters point out about their players.

The Bottom Line

Borderline pitch + 300th win on the line + Raining + First game of doubleheader = SWING batter

And I congratulate Johnson on his historic win, and his fantastic career.  A career that appears to be just getting started.

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13 Responses to “Rob Dibble: “You can’t just call strikes because a guy is going for his 300th victory.””
  1. Eric says:

    I was sitting about 150 feet away from home plate. It was a ball, plain and simple.

  2. letter18 says:

    perfectly boderline? it almost touches the zone, it dosent nick it, otherwise you would see part of the pitch track covered…

    a ball is a ball.

    not that this is a big deal, it isnt. But stop making excuses.

    Blown call.

    move on.

  3. letter18 says:

    also, the fact that it’s raining outside has nothing to do with anything.

  4. Aaron says:

    I’ve seen the video many times. It was definitely too close a pitch to take under any circumstance, but especially this one. That’s the point. It’s too close of a pitch to take, and it’s too close of a pitch for the home announcers to act like they were robbed.

    letter18: You know damn well the zone expands when it’s raining. Hitters know that too. You can’t stand there with the bat on your shoulder in that situation.

  5. greg says:

    Looked like it was “on the line” which of course, is a strike.. in any sport. There should be consistency–how about calling strikes which are within the rules; you RARELY see strikes called at the armpits.Ought to move the mound back to 15″ like it was for 70? years too. While we’re at it, get rid of the American Leage DH. Then let the pitchers get in on the chin music again too.

  6. Detroit Jay says:

    Are you kidding? That wasn’t even close to a strike in stills OR full speed. As an arbitrary observer (I hate both teams equally, go Tigers) I have to say that was a really bad call. Wilson had walked the previous two batters, had absolutely no control, and the Umpire “gifts” him a low stike on a 6’6″ batter? Terrible call. In the grand scheme, Johnson will get well above 300 wins, but this terrible call cost Washington a good chance of winning the game – and they need every chance they can get.

  7. Steve says:

    Move on, get over it. Things happen. Bad calls happen every day, whether it’s a speeding ticket or the OJ trial. It’s hard to tell if the ball crossed the front of the plate and broke down towards the back of it. Who knows, it’s over, Randy has #300…

    Thanks for playing.

  8. fletch says:

    The call was wrong, ok, but these guys are homers of the worst kind. A couple of years back, before mlb.tv added choice of video feed and you were stuck watching the home team’s broadcast, I’d watch with the sound off when my team was in Washington. (And my team is in the NL east, so that was fairly often.) I just can stand these rubes.

    For them to imply that everyone associated with the Giants had done something wrong just because a blown call went that team’s way is worse than the ump getting it wrong in the first place. It’s not as though Bruce Bochy could run out there and tell the ump to reverse the call even if he wanted to. It’s the ump’s mistake (I hope), don’t put that on anyone else.

    Just because you idiots think your team is always right doesn’t mean that’s everyone else’s attitude.

  9. danny says:

    the call was actually correct…from the normal television angle they show in the pictures it looked low and as a giants fan when it happend i said out loud “wow…we got lucky with THAT call” but after the break, the giants broadcast showed the pitch from the side. and it actually crossed the plate above Dunn’s front knee in the strike zone sinking below by the time it was received, thus making it a strike. and from the side it wasnt even a borderline as the base of the strike zone by rule is below the knee cap. So really Dunn was looking for a walk and looked at strike 3. aside from being at the base of the strike zone, it was right down the middle. When you are signed as a power bat, generally a pitch that close with the bases loaded in the 8th you don’t watch.

  10. Rich says:

    Well I am glad that we are all in agreement that our officials all have slow motion vision, and auto playback instantly.Guys are going to make great calls and bad calls its the nature of the human race. We are not perfect! Maybe we should replace all the umpires with a computer and cameras to call balls and strikes! Would we all be happy then? I say No. Who would we have to blame then? Get over it, move on and keep loving the game for what it is. Randy would have got his 300th and the Nationals will win another game!

  11. Chet says:

    How did this even get to a full count? According to pitch track on the screen every pitch was horrible. Either Dunn was swinging at garbage or the ump wanted the game over. And if Dunn was swinging at garbage, he’s a fool because he let the best of 6 pitches go right by him. If he wasn’t swinging during this at bat then he should have known that a pitch of that calibre would be a called strike. Dunn is a srikeout/walk/homer machine. He knows all about which pitches to swing at and should have sent this sucker to the outfield. Running halfway to first base before hearing ball or strike from the ump didn’t do him any favors either.

  12. john says:

    What a bunch of Whiney Bitches. That wasn’t a strike waaaaaaaaaaa. Yeah umpires never call bordeline pitches the wrong way. Go ahead say that not a borderline pitch. I need a good laugh. WAAAAA WHAAAA

  13. RampantRedsFan says:

    I love Dibble. The man just calls it like it is. I would love to replace two of our TV clowns in Cinci with a guy who can just straight call it like it is like Dibble.

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