Red Sox right-hander Ryan Dempster has announced that he won’t pitch in 2014 due to an issue with his neck. Though he swears this is not a retirement, it seems highly unlikely that we will ever see Ryan Dempster on a major league mound again.
Former White Sox and Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is one guy who will be sad to see Dempster go, as evidenced by Ozzie’s tweet:
to bad ryan dempster cant pitch anymore awesome guy great pitcher fun to be around good luck buddy u was great for the game thanks
— Ozzie Guillen FND (@OzzieGuillen) February 16, 2014
Guillen and Dempster haven’t always been on such friendly terms. Back in their days in Chicago, Dempster as the fiery leader of the Cubs’ rotation and Guillen as the hot-headed manager for the White Sox, the two occasionally traded nasty barbs.
One notable incident saw Guillen trashing Dempster over the airwaves after some reported statements by the pitcher, including a truly bizarre allegation that had Guillen’s children somehow getting involved in a brawl during a game.
“Well, if my kids were on the field, [Dempster] was going to get his butt kicked. What’s Ozzie [Jr.] going to do? Eat somebody?” Ozzie shot back. “My other one is 20 pounds and the other one is only 14 [years old]. Ryan is stupid to make those comments. One is a baby, one is too little, another one [Ozzie Jr.], the only thing he can do is eat somebody or drink somebody.”
Dempster later denied ever making such outlandish accusations, and called Guillen personally to smooth over the mess. Guillen then apologized to Dempster for getting upset over the misquotes.
“I appreciate he did call me to clear the air,” Guillen said. “It takes a big man to do that. It was my mistake that the information wasn’t what I thought. So, I apologize to Ryan.”
The mutual respect forged between Guillen and Dempster in the heat of Chicago baseball battle clearly has carried over into their post-Windy City days. With Ozzie and Dempster both out of the league, baseball is down two colorful, entertaining, scrappy characters.