By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) I’m weird. You probably assumed that a while ago, though.
In a few ways I am extremely selfish. Probably the most common scenario is when I’m driving. I will cut you off, curse at you, flip you the bird, tailgate, and do anything else demonstrative if you’re impeding me from getting to my destination thirty seconds quicker. This is tenfold if I’m delivering food.
For my attitude behind the wheel I take a lot of flack. Dirty looks and obscene language and gestures toward me are very common. But acquiescing to others on the road means I’m making less money, and I refuse to do that. That’s mine. That’s personal.
But off the road I have a strange obsession with not inconveniencing others. It’s borderline pathological. I will go out of my way to make sure that something I am doing isn’t hindering or bothering another person to the point that it will likely make the task more difficult or inconvenient for me.
For example, I got an e-mail the other day from a commissioner of one of my fantasy football leagues trying to coordinate a date and place for the draft. I replied that I’m basically open to whatever works for everyone else. That’s a very standard response to such things from me.
Or let’s say I have a kitchen plumbing problem. I will tinker with the pipes, fail, and then wash dishes in the bathroom for ten days until my dad happens to stop by on an unrelated matter, shakes his head at his incompetent child scrubbing a baking pan near the toilet, and then fixes the kitchen sink for me.
So it’s not just because I’m a Ginger who is painfully not funny yet tries to be that I can empathize with Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster.
Dempster will likely be out of Chicago by MLB’s Tuesday trade deadline. Every Cub fan and Dempster himself knew he would not finish 2012 in blue pinstripes and doing a lame impression of Will Ferrell’s bad impression of Harry Caray having a stroke for any loser that would ask.
What has been quite unexpected in the Cubs quest to get as much in return for Dempster as possible is the Cubs starter going from affable in the process (he said a ways back that he’d try to do whatever he could to improve the Cubs’ future) to difficult to downright sabotaging. A week ago the Cubs stood to benefit handsomely in swapping him, and today whichever team deals with the Cubs will be giving the equivalent of the fat friend with the lazy eye instead of the hubba hubba a-ooga names that were bandied about prior to Dempster deciding to crap all over everyone’s good time.
Dempster is a 10-and-5 guy, so he’s earned the right to be pissy in all this. Getting traded, while part of the business, turns a guy’s life upside down. It’s also fairly well-known that Dempster’s daughter suffers from a condition that requires specific medical attention, and he certainly isn’t too keen on moving her to a new city or having to be away from her for an extended period of time. It’s also come to light that he’s going through a divorce.
So I get it, and I respect him having to deal with all that’s on his plate. Actually I’m not even mad at Dempster, even though I want to be like many Cubs fans already irrationally are. I want to be mad at someone in this fiasco, but there isn’t an appropriate target. You could say this is a literal example of “Don’t hate the player. Hate the game.” And then 2002 would call and demand that you apologize for using that expression.
It’s a shame that Dempster, for years one of the most popular and recognizable Cubs, has had his name turned to mud in a matter of days and not for anything criminal as we’re so used to with athletes. Logistically, it’s a bigger shame that the future of a team Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are trying build will take a major hit because the Cubs likely will not get much value coming back for Dempster now that he exercised his no-trade rights in a potential deal with the Braves that had the Cubs getting back way more than expected, and that he’s given the upper hand other teams like the Dodgers—the likely trade partner now—who now know that the Cubs hold no good cards in this game.
Sure, I think Dempster’s comedy act off the field is tired, but the guy has been a good soldier for most of his Cubs tenure, a solid player, and a positive mentor to younger guys like Jeff Samardzija. And his bad jokes, while easy fodder for snarky guys like me, are harmless overall.
It sucks to watch a guy have to take heat for not putting a team he will no longer be with ahead of himself. And that Ryan Dempster isn’t going out of his way to accommodate others instead of just looking out for number one. And that the Cubs probably can’t get better by trading him now. And that he’s generally hated by Cub Nation and likely will continue to be.
But this isn’t a mere kitchen sink problem.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget, but please don’t follow him in real life. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.