Rob Dibble ‘Serves’ a Dose of Reality


Rob Dibble will be forever etched into the minds of those that have been Reds fans since at least the late 1980’s. After all, Dibble was a cog in what was dubbed the “Nasty Boys”. Surely you’ve heard of them. He, Norm Charlton and Randy Myers formed quite possibly the most fearsome bullpen trio in history.

Former Major League Baseball pitcher, Rob Dibble, counts down the conclusion of George Dickel Tennessee Whisky’s Raising the Bar competition at the American Royal World Series of BBQ in Kansas City, Mo. (Photo Credit: George Dickel)

Earlier today, I had the extreme pleasure of chatting with Dibble. As some of you may know, Rob currently has a weeknight sports talk show along with Amy Van Dyken on Fox Sports Radio (the Nasty Boy and the Chlorine Queen, if you will). He’s also the head coach at Calabasas High School in California.

But what else is Dibble up to these days? Rob has taken a splash in the world of reality television as he serves as host for “Raising the Bar” which can be seen on Hulu. The show is a partnership between acclaimed reality television producer Thom Beers (“The Deadliest Catch”, “Storage Wars”) along with his team at Original Productions and Tennessee whisky brand, George Dickel.

The concept is simple one, yet not so simple. Teams of three individuals have eight hours in which to construct their own unique bar and that bar must also have the capability to pour a shot of George Dickel whisky.

It is on that note where I began the interview…
BRM: Let’s jump in here to “Raising the Bar”. How was it that you became involved in this project?

Rob: I became involved because the people that represent me also represent DIAGEO, who owns George Dickel whisky and once I heard that Thom Beers was involved in this and if you’ve heard the name Thom Beers, the mastermind behind “The Deadliest Catch” and “Storage Wars”, I was intrigued.

And then once we got out to Kansas City, just the whole thing to see how it was setup, how it was going to be, I was very, very lucky to be involved in the project.

BRM: Did you think you’d ever see the day where you could find someone do something with 4,000 washers like that?

(Note: You have to watch the first episode to get this question. I have a link at the end of the interview so you can head to Hulu and give it a view. It is pretty darn amazing.)

Rob: (Laughs) Yes and no. I’ve always wished I had the capability to be as skilled as these craftsmen were. To put pressure on these people that were amazing at what they do and have them try to build a bar in 8 hours and the one thing when you go to Hulu and check it out, is they’re under pressure the whole time. We were constantly telling them how much time they have and stuff like that and it’s funny because the people at George Dickel and having played at Tennessee is finding out how they make their whisky. It’s all the same thing. It’s all handmade. It’s amazing what these people can accomplish and it’s kind of a way I approach my baseball. That is, it’s all gonna be on your own. All my running. All my throwing. All that stuff, it’s all done by me and to see these people standing up on a stage from nothing…

I mean, the biggest thing about the whole “Raising the Bar” concept was it’s handmade the hard way like George Dickel whisky. They had their stuff laid out on the floor. And it’s like “Okay, now build us this amazing bar in 8 hours”. It was awesome.

BRM: That kind of leads me into my next question because of the fact that they have that certain time frame in which to construct their bar. Besides giving the time, a little behind the scenes info, please.

George Dickel Master of Whisky Gerry Graham, left, and former major league pitcher Rob Dibble shake hands George Dickel Tennessee Whisky’s Raising the Bar competition at the American Royal World Series of BBQ, on Saturday, October 6, 2012, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Jeff Tuttle/AP Images for George Dickel)

Rob: It was the whole thing was shot in October last year at the American Royal World Series of BBQ in Kansas City, so they had a live audience. They had another team was on the same stage, it was divided. The competition was basically you got 8 hours to build the most amazing bar you could possibly build. At the end, too, the kicker was it had to pour some George Dickel whisky.
For me, watching these people…they had to keep going back and forth. There’s a little booth in the back where everything was safety was the main concern. And they’re fabricating this stuff from nothing. The 4,000 washers, having to weld them together. Mechanical arms and things like that. There’s six episodes that’s gonna be up on Hulu and the first one is just the washers.

When you see some of the other bars being built by hand, I mean, they’re all master craftsmen, but they’re all different. Some work with metal. Some are like robotic-type…one guy made high-end furniture, between $25,000 to $50,000 pieces of furniture. At the end of the day when the bars were finished, you’re just like “that’s amazing” what these people do in that small amount of time.

BRM: Now you got a little bit more of a hectic schedule these days. Not only do you have your show on Fox Sports Radio with Amy Van Dyken, you’re also a baseball coach now, correct?

Rob: Yes, high school baseball. I’ve been doing it for three years. It’s been amazing because Tom Rouen, who is Amy Van Dyken’s husband, played 13 yeas in the NFL, he’s right there with me. We maintain the fields by hand.

Same concept here that everything we’ve done with “Raising the Bar”, I took over a program that was 8-19 and we’re trying to build that up from the ground as well.

BRM: I was noticing some pics. Kind of a little bit of familiarity on the uniforms that your players wear, the “C”? How did that ride with your players?

Rob: Oh they love it. Well, they are Calabasas and they had the “C” from 10 years ago. Bret Saberhagen was the head coach…that was one of the things. The last couple of years, I was out there at Oaks Christian, that’s their pitching coach.

One of my interns that worked on the radio show with me said the job became available, that’s when I jumped at the opportunity.

It’s varsity, JV, Freshmen. It’s 65 guys. Putting that “C” in there, yeah, it’s a little bit of Cincinnati Red, but it’s also, if you looked at some of the uniforms that we’ve created, too, it’s the Old English lettering. It’s all cool stuff.

BRM: They look really sharp. Came out really good.

Rob: Want the kids to look good.

BRM: Let’s jump into a little bit of baseball and the upcoming season if we could. Last year when the Reds acquired Jonathan Broxton, there was the moniker thrown around of “Nasty Boys 2.0” with the trio of Sen Marshall and Broxton and then Aroldis Chapman at the back end of games. Had to be a little bit of a stamp of what you, Norm Charlton and Randy Myers did in your days with the Reds?

Rob: Most definitely, yes. And if you look around the major leagues, that blueprint is built in almost everybody’s bullpen. I don’t know if I agree with 8 guys out of the bullpen. Still, the starters are the main guys. We’re just there to put out the fires. You can see more and more teams trying to get two and three closers to finish out the last innings of a game.

Marshall, who can start, relieve, very much reminds me of Norm Charlton. If you remember in 1990, Norm started some games, too, as well as throw in the bullpen. Randy Myers and myself.

As long as the guys understand that the main goal is to just win and whoever gets the credit doesn’t matter, and I think they all get that.

And the thing about Aroldis Chapman, too, like Norm Charlton, a guy that throws as hard as he does and now this year is going to be in the rotation, but at anytime is that [if it] doesn’t go the right way, he can easily go back to closing. I mean they just have so many great, available arms.

That was the key. It wasn’t so much the “Nasty Boys”, we had Tim Birtsas, who was a big left-handed guy we had acquired from the A’s. The late Tim Leyana. Guy had a great knuckle-curve. Throw multiple innings, day after day. It’s jsut a question of guys getting the job done.

BRM: Do you think it’s a good move the Reds are moving Chapman to the rotation?

Rob: If Aroldis Chapman and I always look at the player first. If he’s comfortable with it, then. it’s not up to me, it’s the Reds decision ultimately and how he can help the ballclub.

At then end of the day, look. Dusty Baker’s your boss and the Castellinis and Walt Jocketty. If that’s where they need you, then that’s what you do. Some teams have tried it, most recently a guy like Neftali Feliz with the Rangers, and he wasn’t capable of doing it.

I met Chapman last year when we retired Barry Larkin’s number. That kid is as big and strong and capable as anybody I’ve ever seen. If this kid can’t do it, I’d be totally surprised. This kid can be as good a starter as was a reliever.

BRM: What were your initial thoughts when you heard of the trade with the Indians for Shin-Soo Choo?

Rob: I love the guy. I though he was one of their best players. Not that I wanted to see [Drew] Stubbs leave the team, because I also think Stubbs is a fantastic player. But I also, under the impression just like a Dave Dombrowski or Walt Jocketty, if it’s not working and were not winning championships with certain guys, sometimes you gotta stir up the mix a little bit and bring in a guy like that. He’s [Choo] a talent. He’s got offensive ability that drove him in the middle of that lineup with a Jay Bruce and a Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips and Ludwick. This guy’s just gonna add. He’s probably gonna drive in 100 runs. He plays great defense.

The one thing about the Asian born players is fundamentally, they’re as good or better than American or Latin players, so you know the guy’s work ethic is going to be amazing. That, too, rubs off on everyone else. That’s all gravy. It’s all icing on the cake.

BRM: About the Reds for this season. Do they repeat as champions? How far do they go in the playoffs?

Rob: You know what. It’s two-fold. How far their pitching will carry them again. You need Johnny Cueto healthy. Homer Bailey continuing to evolve. And finishing off the games with Broxton instead of Chapman. But I watched him [Broxton] for many years. I live in LA, so I’ve seen what Jonathan can do. He can easily save you 50 games a year. He’s a great kid.

Of course I think the Reds are going to win.

BRM: Once a Red, always a Red, right?

Rob: Always.

BRM: Rob, I appreciate you for taking the time to chat with me today.

Rob: No problem, Steve. Any time.
I can never thank Rob enough for the time and the interview.

So, now you can head over to Hulu and enjoy “Raising the Bar” to see how at least one bar is able to pour some George Dickel whisky.