Welcome, Rob Dibble!

Hello again, Nats fans, and a belated Happy New Year! I think we’re in for a fun year on MASN with our new broadcast partner Rob Dibble.

Those of you who visit with us on a nightly basis will enjoy Rob’s insight into the game, his sense of humor and, yes, his penchant for “calling it like it is.” Rob won’t pull any punches, and I think as true baseball fans you will enjoy his view of the game from our booth.

My first experience with Rob was in the late ’90s when ESPN assigned me to a spring training game in Plant City, Fla. as a reporter. The Reds were playing the Cardinals, and one of my assignments was to go to the Cincinnati bullpen and interview “The Nasty Boys.”

Rob agreed to visit with me, and when Norm Charlton heard about it, he approached me and whispered, “During the interview, I’m going to give Dibbs a pie in the face, so be ready!” Sounded good to me; after all, it was spring training.

During the game, I’m interviewing Rob and I see Norm sneaking up behind him, and I’m ready for Dibble to get creamed.

Suddenly, both of us get it ... I was completely set up along with Dibble!

It took me a whole inning to clean that shaving cream mess out of hair and off my face and clothes. I wasn’t much good for anything else the rest of the night.

A few years later, Rob had retired and gotten into TV, and we were able to work a handful of games together. I found Rob very engaging, solid on the basics of broadcasting and baseball strategy, and brimming with tons or personality. We became fast friends.

It won’t take long for Nats fans to get a taste of Rob and the considerable contribution he’ll bring to the telecast.

So as Debbie Taylor and I welcome Rob to our team, we bid “so long” to Don Sutton and wish him well in Atlanta. Don will have a chance to do radio play-by-play with a classy young broadcaster, Jim Powell, most recently with the Milwaukee Brewers.

On a personal note, I learned a lot about the art of pitching from the Hall-of-Famer, and all of us at MASN are better at what we do for having worked with him these last two years.

Thanks to all of you who have communicated with me during the offseason, and we’ll be speaking to you from Viera very soon--then on to DC, Opening Day in Florida and into 2009. It should be very interesting and I’m glad you all will be along for the ride! Until then, “See ... you ... later!”