7/21 It’s Dempster’s call
Ryan Dempster’s scoreless inning streak ended Friday while the countdown continued for how long he will remain with the Cubs. Dempster, who was being aggressively pursued by several teams prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline, served up four runs on seven hits and two walks over six innings in the Cubs’ 4-1 loss to the Cardinals. His ERA rose to 2.11, but it’s still best in the National League. He’s aware of the rumors.
“I’m not naive,” Dempster said. “I realize everything that’s going on. I’m well aware [a trade] can happen at any minute. I’m not going to walk on eggshells or worry about that. I can only focus on what I can focus on, and that’s going out there today and trying to pitch and do my job. Now my focus is to work hard tomorrow and get ready five days from now.”
Perhaps the reason he can be so calm is that Dempster is calling the shots. As a player with 10 years in the big leagues and five with the same team, he can veto any deal.
“It’s awesome being the hammer and not the nail,” Dempster said.
He didn’t take the mound at Busch Stadium thinking it might be his last start for the Cubs.
“Maybe that’s why I’m not so uneasy about it because at the end of the day, it’s my decision,” he said.
Was it his last start for the Cubs? Dempster most likely didn’t follow the rumors on Twitter on Friday, which ranged from him being dealt hours before his start, to talks dragging out for a few days.
“[The media] has a job to do and I understand that,” Dempster said of the rumors. “For me, it’s just business as usual and I have to do what I have to do. Nothing has changed for me. I have to go out and get ready for my next start. I’m sure if they have something of any substance to it, they’ll come up and ask me, but until then, I just worry about what I can do.”
He doesn’t hesitate when his phone rings.
“I’m hoping its Publisher’s Clearing House — Ed McMahon maybe,” he said.
Here’s the real shocker — despite all the rumors, Dempster could end up staying with the Cubs.
“If I’m going to go, I want to go win,” Dempster said. “For right now, I’m a member of this team and I want to do the best I can to be a good teammate and go out there and do my job when I’m asked to do my job.”
— Carrie Muskat