Results tagged ‘ Rob Dibble ’

Inside Pitch Live with Manager Jim Riggleman

Riggleman inside pitch 3.JPGJim Riggleman spent 20 minutes on Saturday in the PNC Diamond Club fielding questions from MASN Commentator Rob Dibble as well as fans for the third installment of Inside Pitch Live.

Are you surprised at how well the Nationals are playing?

“Two things. I can’t say I’m totally surprised, but I guess I’m pleased with the play of our three middle infielders–Guzman, Kennedy, and Desmond. The unselfishness of Kennedy and Guzman to accept their roles on the ballclub–they’re playing a lot, but they’re not playing every day because Desi is at shortstop. Their attitude has been a real key for our ballclub.

The other thing, and I kind of knock on wood as I say it, is our pitching. Coming out of Spring Training, I was very concerned with Olsen, we signed Hernandez very late in the spring, we had a couple of young starters that we weren’t sure about–but we’ve pitched pretty good. We’ve pitched good enough to win more ballgames than we’ve won. That’s been something I’ve been very happy about. We hope that it continues and we know that it can. But it was a little bit of a concern coming out of spring.”

Are you surprised to see [Matt] Capps pitching so well ?

“Yeah. Matt in Spring Training, really was throwing okay. He was just okay. He threw the ball 90 mph, he threw strikes, he got hit around a little bit, but it’s not that often that you see a guy really turn it on when the lights come on. I know yourself and Randy Myers were much better pitchers once the bell rang, but I didn’t have any history with Matt Capps, so I didn’t know. So when the bell rang, he turned it up a few miles per hour, great strikes, great impressiveness. 15-for-15–that doesn’t happen very often.”

Is coming back to this area like coming full circle for you?

“It really is. I grew up here, you know, the TV’s got Frank Robinson running around the bases. I grew up watching Frank Howard and Frank Robinson and went away to play ball for years. I was disappointed that baseball got away from Washington. When it came back, by then, I had been pretty deep in the ballgame in several different locations, and I thought in the back of my mind, that would be a nice place to work and hopefully my last job in baseball.”

Riggleman inside pitch 2.JPGHow did you make the decision to transition from being a player and having aspirations of being a Major Leaguer to then go into coaching?

“When you play in the Minor Leagues for a long time, you get to the point where they make the decision for you. They say, ‘Look. If you want to keep playing, you can keep playing, but we don’t see a future for you in the Big Leagues as a player. Would you like to stay in the organization as a coach, a potential manager in the Minor Leagues?’ So for me it was just the opportunity to have a career in baseball, rather than getting a job doing something else. I loved the game, I thought I could continue playing, but I had played seven years. It got a little stagnant. It didn’t look like I was going to move up any higher so I took the opportunity to stay in the organization and had no aspirations, at that point, to manage. I just wanted a career in the game and once you get in it, you don’t put limits on yourself and I ended up, as you said, coming full cycle.”

As far as mentors, besides Tony La Russa, any other mentors in the game?

“Two guys. The late George Kissell. I always speak about George. Most people are probably not familiar with who he is. In a nutshell, he never played in the Big Leagues, but out of Tony La Russa’s mouth, Tony said ‘he’s probably the greatest Cardinal ever’–which can kind of go in one ear and out the other, but you figure there’s been Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, and all this, but George Kissell had an impact on everybody who came through there. He taught everybody. He taught players. He taught coaches and managers. He taught you how to manage players. He was just a tremendous influence over there.

The other person is Whitey Herzog. Whitey is probably the best pure baseball man I’ve ever been around. To be able to sit around and watch him work was a great treat for me.”

How has the running game helped the Nationals?

“Well, the running game has really slowed down lately, but earlier in the year, as we went around our division the first time, I think we created some opportunities for ourselves with Kennedy and Willingham and a couple other guys who the other clubs were not, maybe, in tune with them running as much. So we created some action that way. But with scouting now, everybody knows what you’re going to do. Willingham and Kennedy and Desmond, people that there was no history of running there, that’s [now] gone. Everyone’s got the information. They’re going to try to stop you from running. Nyjer is a guy who is trying to run all the time, but the other clubs are so in tune to him, the pitchers aren’t letting him go anywhere. But the running game helped us early and we’ve got to get back to that. But we’re going to have to keep pushing the envelope a little bit to get that going again.”

How has Pudge Rodriguez helped the ballclub?

“He’s just such a good player. When the pitchers are throwing to catchers, you know, you catch it and you throw it back, and you just take that for granted. But last year, due to some injuries to our catchers, we were chasing that ball back to the screen a lot. A lot of balls were getting by. That just hasn’t happened this year. If a guy goes to second on it, it’s because he earned it. He stole the base or whatever. But last year too often I think our pitchers were concerned about pitches they could throw because they were going to get by the catcher. Last year, Josh Bard gave us everything he had, but he played hurt for us and Nieves’ leg was hurt. So just having a healthy Pudge back there, blocking the ball–he has been huge. He’s worked great with our pitching staff and he’s a good hitter.”

How do you come to decisions during the game about who to use and when to use pinch hitters?

“In today’s world, we carry so many pitchers. We carry 12 pitchers. That’s a lot. It used to be ten, it went to 11, now it’s up to 12. So you have less bench players. So early in the game, unless you have men on base, you hate to waste one of your pinch hitters in a situation with a couple outs or basically with nobody on base period, you hate to use a guy and not have him available later. It was very early in the game, so we decided to do that [put Livan in as a pinch hitter]. We actually did it again later with Batista, let him hit for himself and continue pitching, with no intention that he would get a hit. He was hitting for himself so he could continue pitching, although he did get a hit.”

Riggleman inside pitch 4.JPGAre you a fan of Interleague Play or does it disrupt the flow of the season, trying to catch the Phillies, trying to catch the Marlins and worry about the NL East?

“I’m not a real big fan of it, but I’m okay with it. I like the Baltimore series. I like it–you’re the Mets you play the Yankees, Cubs play the White Sox. I think those are important. I like that. I’m not crazy about Oakland playing Washington or Oakland playing the Mets or something. If it draws interest, if fans want to see it, then it is great. If there are some indications, and I think there are some indications that fans do want to see those other players, so that’s always a good thing for the fans.”

What goes into the process of picking lineup?

“A lot goes into it. A lot of times, you’re thinking two or three days ahead of time–who you are going to be facing, what pitchers you’re going to be facing. Maybe some guys have some history against particular pitchers. Maybe your pitcher that day is a groundball pitcher so you want to make sure you’ve got a particular infielder in the game to cover ground for you because you think he’s going to get a lot of action. I knew that I was going to give Desmond a day off here in the next day or two, but with Scott Olsen pitching yesterday, I wanted Desmond at short, thinking right-handed hitters will be hitting some groundballs. As it turned it, he was tender, the ball was up, and it was a nonfactor. But those things go into it. You want to play guys while they’re hot, but also day game after night game, that goes into it. Left- or right-handed pitcher. We’re like everybody else. You want to get to the point where you’re the Phillies. You just play them all every day. You play Utley every day, you play Ibanez every day, you play Howard every day, it doesn’t matter who the other pitcher is, you just play them all every day. But those players have earned that. Those players are in there every day because they hit everybody. That’s where we want to get to, but we’re not quite there yet.”

Nats Caravan Day 2: Blogging from the Bus

Notes from NatsTown is blogging from the bus throughout the Nationals’ 2010 Winter Caravan.

It is day two of the Nats Caravan and for a complete rundown of day one you can scroll down or click here.

Day two will be just as busy as yesterday. We will begin with a lunchtime appearance at the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl. The bus will then travel to Fort Belvoir, Va., site of the USO of Metropolitan Washington. The group will spend two hours assembling care packages for troops overseas, and meeting with wounded warriors and those stationed at the base. The final stop of the day will be an autograph and photograph session at Pfitzner Stadium, home of the Potomac Nationals–the Nat’s Single-A affiliate.

11:24 a.m.–We have officially got the wheels turning on the bus.

We have the same crew on the bus today: Manager Jim Riggleman, reliever Ryan Speier, 2009 first round draft pick Drew Storen, shortstop Danny Espinosa and broadcaster Rob Dibble

Nationals President Stan Kasten and GM Mike Rizzo aren’t on the bus but they will be a Ben’s.

11:35 a.m.–In preparation for Ben’s Chili Bowl, the guys are signing player cards to hand out.  Dibble is trying to master the science of signing on a bus–the slightest bump feels like the biggest pothole–he has decided just to sign when the bus is stopped.  

11:49 a.m–We just passed One Fitness on the corner of S St. NW and 14 St. NW. Their motto is “Change your body… Change your world.” We couldn’t help but think about Globo Gym from the movie Dodgeball… “We are better than you and we know it.”

11:52 a.m.–There is a long line of people waiting outside BCB. Someone suggests that the players go through the back door. “We will go through the front door,” Dibble said. “I will lead the way.”

11:57 a.m.–It turns out that the line of people were students waiting for a school bus.

BCB 1 walking.jpg12:15–The players ordered their food and then handed out player cards. Let’s just say Ben’s makes the batter’s box look big.

BCB 2 picture taking.jpg12:18–Everyone was trying to get a photo with the players.

12:19–A minute after the photo was taken, the lady dropped her phone. It sounded like it shattered into a million pieces… maybe the case just broke but it looked rough. “It’s fine,” she said. “I drop my phone all the time. The photo is safe.”

12:25–The players were asked to take their jerseys off while they eat. They are professional baseball players… not professional eaters.

BCB photo on the wall.jpg12:47–The Nats will soon have a photo on the wall to join the likes of Bill Crosby, Dr. Dre, Chris Rock, President Obama and Dave Chappelle just to name a few. Don’t mind Jamie from Myth Busters in the back of the photo.

12:53–Party in the kitchen.

BCB 5 Kitchen.jpg12:56–It was the guys first stop at Ben’s Chili Bowl. There is a good chance they will be back. “Food was pretty good. It was good Chili,” Espinosa said. “I wasn’t going to eat a lot of it because we are going on the bus.” Thank you.

12:59–We are off to Fort Belvoir.

1:53–We are here.

USO meet the troops 2.jpg
USO Mark Lerner.jpg1:59–The players are getting a tour of the warehouse and then they are going to help put together care packages. Owners Mark Lerner and Judy Lenkin Lerner are here too.

USO life saves.jpg2:06–The care package process has begun. The packages have everything: pens, shaving cream, razors, trail mix, beef jerky, books, magazines and much more. You name it and it’s probably in there. The assembly line they have going on right now would have impressed the late Henry Ford.

USO Assmbly line shot 3.jpgThe USO warehouse has four parties like this a month at Fort Belvoir and they travel all around the States to make care packages too.

“It is such a morale boost for the troops to have the Nationals players come here,” Director of Operation USO Care Package Ron Wise said. “I really hope they get to see and understand the impact they are making. They are so important. The troops will talk about this for months and it really speaks volume for the Nationals organization.”

2:20–The stuffing party is in full force. The first bell rang. They ring the bell every time 500 care packages have been made. When the bell rings everyone starts screaming and dancing so the troops know we care.

USO Drew Storen 1.jpg2:44–Second bell rings.

3:09–Third bell rings.

3:15–Fourth bell rings. I told you Henry Ford would be proud of this assembly line. Ok… so it might have been premature.

USO Assmbly line shot 4.jpg3:33–The crew just finished packing the bags. Total count: 2,025 packages. Not a bad day at all but we didn’t quite set the record. They most packages they have made in one day… 15,000 with the help of 300 people. “It was pure insanity,” Wise said. “I don’t think we will ever match that.”

4:00–We are off to Woodbridge.

4:45–We are here at the P-Nats stadium. I don’t think Storen or Espinosa could be happier to return.

P-Nats signing 1.jpg
P-Nats Signing.jpg5:30–The pens and hands are ready for 2 hours and 30 minutes of autographs. Screech has been stretching his fingers and practicing his signature all day.

6:11–Screech is putting on a mascot clinic–making fans laugh, posing for pictures and signing autographs.

P-Nats screech.jpgIt may have been a loaded question when I asked the crowd if they have ever seen a mascot as funny…but they answered it correctly and that’s all that mattered. “I haven’t,” one person said. “Not even close,” said another person, “he is hilarious.”

30 seconds later… A season ticket holder for just about every sports team in Washington asked Screech if he was going to be skating at the Caps game tomorrow night. He whistled yes and then she reminded him that SlapShot (the Caps Mascot) took him down last season.

“The Caps mascot has bulked up my friend, bulked up,” she said. “You better watch out tomorrow night. We are going to have to see how many times you end up on the ice Screech.”        

Game on SlapShot.

7:25–I just met Robert Probst from Dover, Del. He drove 122 miles to attend tonight’s event. I told him he unofficially drove the most miles to come here.

“What do I get for that,” he asked.

I told him I could probably hook him up with a pocket schedule.

“I can’t contain my excitement,” he responded with a bright smile.

8:00–Day two is in the books and the USO event was the most memorable.

“The USO stuff was great,” Dibble said. “I have a new appreciation for the care packages they send out.”

“It was a great time,” Storen said. “It is always good to give back to the Military since they do so much for us.”


2009 Washington Nationals Blood Drive

The Nationals hosted their fifth annual blood drive in conjunction with the American Red Cross. Nats fans from far and wide, as well as, members of the Nats front office rolled up their sleeves to donate blood. In all, the blood drive collected an amazing 252 pints of blood!


rob dibble.jpgMASN Color commentator Rob Dibble went with the sleeveless method for an easy donation. We can tell he’s done this before.


 pat listach2.jpgThird base coach Pat Listach showed up in uniform to donate blood. Hope it won’t affect him later as he waves Nationals runners home.


pat listach.jpgAlways willing to help out the fans, Listach signed autographs to pass the time.


zimm blood drive1.jpgStarter Jordan Zimmermann even stopped by to sign autographs and meet with the donors.


zimm blood drive2.jpg
zimm blood drive3.jpg
zimm blood drive4.jpgOverall, it was a very successful day. Thank you to everyone who showed up to donate as well as the Red Cross for all of their help today.