Getting to know new Sox pitcher Dempster
Ben Cherington knew that he needed to focus on the starting rotation. When your leading pitcher in wins on the season only has 11, there is something wrong with the team.
Many thought Cherington would go after a big name pitcher, like James Shields or even (do I dare say it?) David Price. Cherington did something entirely the opposite though; he signed Ryan Dempster to a two-year deal. Dempster flourished in the National League but floundered when he was in the American League. However, Dempster may have been signed for his gritty determination and upbeat attitude instead of his pitching prowess.
Off the field, Dempster provides a great deal of leadership, something the Sox clubhouse desperately needs. He founded the Dempster Family Foundation to provide aid to families with children with DiGeorge Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder resulting in heart defects, cleft palates, behavioral problems and other issues, after he found out his daughter had the same affliction. Dempster did a great deal of work to help families in the Chicago area, and hopefully he can continue his charitable success and provide aid to families in Boston.
Another aspect of Dempster’s life off the field is his love for the fans and entertaining them when he’s not pitching. In 2004, the Sox dubbed themselves “the idiots.” Dempster certainly has a little “idiot” in him, and it could benefit the team. Dempster is one of the well-known “funny guy” personalities in professional baseball. For example: while playing for the Chicago Cubs, he famously impersonated former announcer Harry Caray.
Dempster seemed to enjoy his time in Chicago and the fans certainly enjoyed his pitching success and off-field antics.
In getting Ryan Dempster, the Red Sox did not just acquire a pitcher for the back end of their rotation. They acquired a presence in the clubhouse and a figure that can command respect both on and off the field. The Red Sox may not look like a cast of All Stars, but they certainly are much more likable than they were at the beginning of the 2012 season. Hopefully Dempster can prove to be a team leader and maybe even rack up 10-15 wins in the 2013 season.