Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki fashions himself as something of an increasingly knowledgeable baseball fan. After all, the 7-foot German tossed out the first pitch before Game 3 of the World Series, and he's taken over the reins from ex-Stars star Mike Modano as point man for the Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game in Frisco coming up on June 30.
So surely Nowitzki, who dons a blue Rangers cap and blue jersey with the No. 41 and "Nowitzki" stitched on the back when he takes in games at the Rangers Ballpark, has every right to express an opinion -- just as every other Texas Rangers fan has -- regarding manager Ron Washington's strategy to rest key starters during last week's home stand. It didn't work out so well for the skipper as his team dropped three of four to the Royals and A's.
"We'll be OK, you know we already started resting people left and right. It's a little early in the season for that," Nowitzki told ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Galloway & Co.," on Tuesday, sounding off presumably with tongue planted firmly in cheek. "We'll be OK. It's early."
Look, Nowitzki is a guy that hates to take any time off during the grind of an 82-game NBA season. It killed him to miss four games early this season to get his troublesome right knee into game shape and he even scoffs at taking time off during meaningless games at the end of the season. So, yeah, sure, maybe Dirk would have thought twice about giving big-league ball players a day off in mid-May.
"Yeah, I thought it was a little bit aggressive," Nowitzki said of Wash's rest strategy as uproarious laughter erupted in the studio. "I think Ron knows what he's doing. Obviously he led this team to the World Series back-to-back, so you know he's got experience and he knows his players best. Like I said, they've got so many games, then it gets rained out, then you got doubleheaders, so I mean it's a crazy sport and a crazy schedule, so I guess he knows what he's doing."
"Hey, it's so many games in baseball, it's tough to bring it every night," Nowitzki said. "It's the same in really every sport. I mean, some nights, I mean, I can't even make a damn layup one foot away. It happens and you know you come back and work hard that week. I don't know what they're training involves, but he'll be back."
Overall, Dirk is liking what he's seeing from the ball club in Arlington.
"We've got a great pitching rotation, I think we're deep at the hitters," Nowitzki said. "So I think when it's all said and done at the end of the year, I think we're going to be there again if we stay injury-free."