From time to time I’ve taken a swing at the Washington Times, often disparinging DC’s no. 2 daily as “the Moonie Paper”.  These sad attempts on my part to distract from all the good work the Unification Church does selling flowers by our nation’s highway exits have not stopped The Times’ Thom Loverro from setting his sights on a most deserving target, Nationals color commentator Rob Dibble.  Suggesting that Dibble is unqualified and ill-prepared to critique the Nats’ coaching staff as he’s doing a radio show for XM when he could be observing workouts (“If this large and tattooed man is on the field and in the clubhouse ‘all the time,’ he should start offering disguise lessons at the Spy Museum”), Loverro wonders, “what the heck is MASN paying him for?” (link courtesy Capitol Punishment)

What we have heard  is tough criticism toward the manager and coaches and particularly at former Nationals pitching coach Randy St. Claire and the way he worked with the young pitching staff. It has been uninformed criticism, if we want to be as frank and honest as Dibble claims he is trying to be.

Dibble never spoke to St. Claire – who was fired June 2 – about anything to do with pitching, according to the former Washington coach.

“He has never talked to me about anything about pitching,” St. Claire said in a telephone interview. “He has never asked what we do for prep work. I’ve never talked to him about pitching.”

When I asked Dibble whether he ever spoke to St. Claire – who was Bobby Cox’s first choice in Atlanta to replace Leo Mazzone at the end of the 2005 season but couldn’t make a deal with the Nationals – about the pitching, he said yes and no. You figure out it:

“Why would I need to? … That’s not true because I had a discussion with almost every pitcher. If they were No. 1 in pitching, I don’t think I would need to have a conversation with him, either. But they weren’t. They were the worst pitching staff in baseball. I think this is a moot point. Steve McCatty is the pitching coach now. They moved in a different direction. He had been here seven years, and the fact that I am even involved in this discussion is kind of ridiculous. … Because I have an opinion, people think that I am critical. I am just stating the obvious.

“I’ve gone to Mark Lerner, and I’ve asked him, ‘Have I done anything to offend the organization?’ ” he said. “From the top, they said no.”

Well, as long as the owners of the team are not offended, then what’s the problem?

Earlier this year on his blog, he suggested the Nationals would win 92 games.

“The Rays went from 66 wins to 97 in one year and won the AL East; so why is it so hard to believe the Washington Nationals can’t go from 59 wins to 92?” Dibble wrote on his MASN blog April 7. “That’s how many wins the 2008 World Champion Phillies had when they won the NL East last season. If you still don’t believe me, believe this: nearly 20 years ago right around this time in April, I was on a team that was 400-1 odds in Vegas to win the World Series. Anytime you want me to show you my WS ring, let me know, I really won’t mind…”

Do you think anyone in the Nationals organization thought they could win 92 games this year? Did you?

What kind of credibility can any analyst have after such a suggestion?