Update: During the August 15 game against the Diamondbacks, Rob Dibble offered the following on-air statement to MASN viewers:
"...To anybody that does not know me that was offended, or took offense with what I said in my weak attempt to be humorous during a down time during the game, I truly apologize. That's not truly how I feel about any baseball fan -- men, women, or children. And so I wrote a blog, in my own words, not the words of other people who'd like you to think differently, on MASNSports.com. So, my humble and sincere apology if I offended anybody last week."
My mother was and continues to be my biggest fan. She has been there since I was eight years old playing Little League in Southington, Connecticut, shouting encouragement from the stands.
I'll never forget 20 years ago during the NCLS; I thought I was on the top of my game, having played in my first All-Star Game earlier that summer. But my mom said to me, "Rob you've got a good arsenal, but you still need a strikeout pitch."
Mom was right, of course, and she remains as insightful a student of the game as I have ever known.
Likewise, my wife not only comes to every Nats game, but also scores every pitch, and genuinely feels it when her team makes an error or loses the game.
My 21-year-old daughter, who against my wishes, wears her Coco Crisp Red Sox Jersey to Yankee Stadium, does it to show pride and respect for her team.
That's the great thing about baseball. No matter who you are or where you're from, you can - and should - have a passion for the game and for the celebration of the game by its legions of fans in the stands. Those are the values I learned in Southington, and they are part of who I am today.
The game of baseball transcends race, sex, ethnicity, and economic status. Everyone can be a fan of this game and that's why it remains our national pastime.
As a former player and a current broadcaster, I love baseball. Encouraging new fans and building upon our audience is essential to the future of the game. That's why I host a national baseball radio show five days a week.
And it's why I volunteer my time at various clinics and seminars throughout the year, to help bring baseball into the lives of new fans.
The other night I made an off-handed comment, the meaning of which may have been misconstrued beyond what was said. If any fan of this great game took offense, then he or she should know that this was neither my intention nor my history in the game.
I have had the privilege of knowing a great many fans of all backgrounds who are students of the game. Many of baseball's most insightful fans, television viewers, and callers to my radio show are women.
And just like my mom in 1990, they know what they're talking about.