Results tagged ‘ Dempster ’

Cactus Notes: Sveum edges Wood in bunting competition

MESA, Ariz.–It was like a heavyweight fight: two evenly matched competitors slugging away at each other. But when the final round of Monday’s bunting competition was over, only new manager Dale Sveum was left standing.

In a back-and-forth battle between Sveum and right-hander Kerry Wood, Sveum advanced through the first round only after Wood’s final bunt edged into the 20-point box, instead of the 40-point box Wood needed for the victory.

“I got lucky by the way the grass was growing to the east,” Sveum said. “The ball kind of fell off the white line. I thought I was done, and I was going to shake his hand, and the ball just trickled off the white line at the end.”

This spring, Sveum created a NCAA tourney-style bracket, pitting 62 Cubs players and two coaches against each other in a bunting competition. Chalk lines have been drawn on one of the infields at Fitch Park, and different point totals are awarded depending on where the ball lands. Each competitor gets 24 pitches over three rounds and is required to bunt 12 to the first base side and 12 to the third base side.

This was the final first-round draw, with the exception of the matchup between Paul Maholm and Rodrigo Lopez. Their contest has been postponed while Maholm recovers from the flu. Carlos Marmol, Marlon Byrd, Ryan Dempster, Geovany Soto, David Dejesus and Jeff Baker also advanced on Monday.

“It’s a fun thing, but also a lot of people really want to get better and care about it,” Sveum said. “Sacrifice bunting is something that’s very important to the game, and it’s kind of been lost a little over the years.

“You get a feeling of guys who are bearing down and competing, and some guys who aren’t competing as well. You get to know somebody a little bit through this tournament.”

Now Playing: 2012 Cubs Convention

From Jan. 13-15, Cubs fans of all ages gathered at the Hilton Chicago to warm up the winter and mingle with more than 70 Cubs players, coaches and front office personnel at the sold-out 27th annual Cubs Convention. Vine Line was there the whole weekend to document all the happenings, including Kerry Wood’s triumphant return, the Ron Santo Hall of Fame Panel and all the new Wrigley Field news. Get ready for the season and check out the sights and sounds of the 2012 Cubs Convention.

A night to do something good

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On July 21, Ryan Dempster’s coaches and teammates, along with members of the Cubs front office and about 700 fans, family and friends, circled the wagons around his foundation during a fun casino night and concert fund-raiser at the House of Blues.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgMore than $225,000 was raised during the night, which was dedicated to “striking out” DiGeorge syndrome, which affects a child’s ability to swallow and digest food. Dempster’s daughter, Riley, was diagnosed with DiGeorge just days after her birth but has progressed marvelously in the 14 months since.

DiGeorge syndrome, also known as the 22q11.2 deletion or Velo-cardiofacial syndrome (VCFS), is caused by a very small missing piece (microdeletion) of chromosome 22. The deletion is present from the time a child is conceived and is generally found in every cell of the body. But with the potential for 186 different symptoms, it is often hard to diagnose.

For the Ryan and Jenny Dempster Family Foundation, Riley’s progress is proof enough that there is hope to beat DiGeorge and help other families dealing with the genetic disorder.

dempster video w text.jpg“We want to be able to help other parents and, most important, their children as much as we possibly can, because it’s a terrible thing to go through,” Ryan said.

Ryan’s wife, Jenny, concurred.

“It’s amazing to see how far she’s come. I wouldn’t have thought it a year ago, but we had faith and she’s a tough little girl. We just want to share her story so that other parents, when they get the diagnosis, they know there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

The night featured players and coaches taking turns at dealing blackjack, roulette and craps. Also helping out to raise money were the many people and companies that donated auction items, including a bass-fishing boat, and autographed jerseys, photographs and other sports and music memorabilia.

MARMOL C DEMPSTER CASINO 6.jpg“It’s a great cause,” Ryan said. “It creates incredible awareness, and it’s a lot of fun. It really is. And it’s a great party, as everybody will leave here with a smile on their face I’m sure and realize that they can be a part of what we’re trying to do.”

The night was capped off with a concert featuring Jaron and The Long Road to Love and the country-western chords of Gary Allan.

Visit the Vine Line site on to read our cover story on the Dempster family’s goal to strike out DiGeorge syndrome and to subscribe today.

–Michael Huang


Homestand happenings

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgThere’s so much that our players do for the community that goes unnoticed — just fine with them, of course, but also truly deserving of mention.

Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly both hosted charitable ticket programs this weekend, packing the terrace with groups of kids.

On Saturday, Lilly invited 50 members of Maryville Academy and spoke with them during batting practice. The three programs included young men and women ages 13-21 and help offer residential care and training for those with intellectual disabilities, mental illness and emotional problems.

Dempster kicked off the fourth year of “Dempster’s Dugout” with a group of 40 from Camp of Dreams, a Chicago non-profit devoted to enriching the lives of underserved youth ages 9-18. He met with the “Dreamers” during batting practice and treated them to lunch at the ballpark.

Kudos for their work supporting the community and cherishing their influence as Cubs players.

Other observations

? Cubs players enjoyed having Henry Blanco back in the “Friendly Confines.” It was a nice touch when Alfonso Soriano flashed a smile and gave a gentle tap on Blanco’s shin guard at the plate last Tuesday.


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Randy Wells threw a dirty change-up to strike out Michael Bourn in the fifth inning Saturday. Wells gave up just four hits and three walks over six shutout innings, striking out four. In our June “In the Dugout” Q&A, Lou Piniella told Vine Line that he has been impressed with Wells since his cup of coffee last year and that the strike-thrower figures to fit in somewhere in the rotation or bullpen.


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Kosuke Fukudome’s former hitting coach in Japan, Kyosuke Sasaki, watched Sunday’s game from the seats near the Cubs’ on-deck circle. Sasaki has worked with Kosuke this season, as you can read in this story.


— Sean Ahmed

Welcome back, Demp

Jim Hendry just spoke to the media to announce that the Cubs have re-signed right-hander Ryan Dempster to a four-year contract. We’ll be talking to Demp around 3 p.m. today.

Some of the things that Hendry talked about:

  • Making this deal was a priority both for the Cubs and for Ryan. Jim said that there was “No doubt in any of our minds that Ryan would have exceeded this deal on the streets three or four weeks from now.”


  • Jim explained that the organization doesn’t feel that 2008 was a fluke: “One year didn’t get him four [years]. Five years being around Ryan Dempster got him four….He’s still got five or six good years in him, there’s no doubt in my mind.” Hendry said that Demp was underrated as a closer and healthy — being in the training room only “one time for a rub down.”


  • Looking forward, Jim said that this deal and the trade for Gregg knocked out priorities to maintain a high level in the rotation and bullpen. But he added that it’s no secret the team is still trying to get more left-handed in the lineup.


  • He also expressed that the ownership situation has not impacted him negatively, that he has never felt hamstrung by payroll. He added that he doesn’t have the final payroll number for this year but that it will increase slightly.

In need of a W

The clubhouse was packed this afternoon with media covering a range of topics: from the impact of Hurricane Gustav on the Louisiana-based families of Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot to the need to get back on track from a three-game losing streak.

Theriot said his family wasn’t hurt, despite severe damage to their house. Best wishes to all those who were displaced or hurt in the Southeast.

Tonight’s lineup

Soriano, LF
Fontenot, 2B
Lee, 1B
Ramirez, 3B
DeRosa, RF
Edmonds, CF
Soto, C
Theriot, SS
Zambrano, RHP

Right-hander Brandon Backe (9-12, 5.42) pitches for the Astros.

Cubs caring


Funny story from today’s school and hospital visits: WGN-Radio’s Cory Provus was asked if anyone went crazy over him by assistant director of media relations Jason Carr. Cory replied that one gentleman at Northwestern Memorial Hospital went down the line, shaking hands and greeting by name Rich Harden, Jon Lieber, Daryle Ward and Larry Rothschild. When he got to Cory, he simply looked at him and said, “Hello, Broadcaster.”

I’m pretty sure that’s not much worse than when I called Pat Hughes “Phil” this spring. You can tune in to AM 720 for more from Phil and Broadcaster tonight.

The morning went great by all accounts. Mike Quade stood out for his enthusiasm and connection to the kids at Children’s Memorial Hospital. Quade offered a lot of support and nudged them to be Cubs fans. Ringing the school bell at 7:55 a.m., Demp gave a great speech to the kids at Blaine Elementary School (Lakeview), stressing that they take school seriously and work hard.

Big thanks to all the guys for their time and support this morning.

More than a pitcher

Demp also was named the team’s Roberto Clemente Award recipient, combining “outstanding skills on the baseball field with devoted work in the community.”

One of the Cubs’ greatest personalities, Demp and his wife, Jenny, regularly invite groups to games and participate in charitable efforts. Just this year, Dempster has purchased 500 tickets for disadvantaged children and met them during batting practice. This Mother’s Day, he invited children with moms who were serving in the military as well as those women who have returned from service in the Middle East.

His sponsorship of a Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities (RBI) team and participation in various Cubs Care programs have benefited several hundred more children and victims of domestic violence.

Dempster elected to donate his $7,500 grant to Chicago Canine Rescue.

In so many words

Cubs team photographer Stephen Green was all over Yankee Stadium during the All-Star Game festivities and sends along these pictures:

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On to the Astros

Everybody around the office was relieved that we got our first win yesterday. Nobody was truly panicking, but we all were looking for a win to really set the bar for this season. Yesterday, the Cubs hit, pitched and ran like they’ve been looking to do since returning from Mesa, Ariz.

Soriano, LF

Theriot, SS

Lee, 1B

Ramirez, 3B

Fukudome, RF

DeRosa, 2B

Soto, C

Pie, CF

Hill, LHP

The Astros will start with right-hander Chris Sampson on the mound.

Walk hard

There’s no question that Fukudome is a patient hitter. Already in his first three major-league games, he’s walked four times and several times taken at-bats deep into the count. Oh, he can hit, too: He’s 4-for-8 with two doubles and that three-run home run from Opening Day. That homer came on the first pitch.

Rewind and reverse

Kerry Wood looked good closing the ninth-inning of Ryan Dempster’s excellent start yesterday. It was just a few years ago that Dempster was sealing Wood’s games.

Back to basics

Lou Piniella announced in yesterday’s post-game press conference that he would be returning Alfonso Soriano to the leadoff spot. That lineup debuts today, with the hopes that it sticks:

Soriano, LF

Theriot, SS

Lee, 1B

Ramirez, 3B

Fukudome, RF

DeRosa, 2B

Soto, C

Pie, CF

Dempster, RHP

The Brewers will throw out right-hander Dave Bush.

Rotation rewind

Ryan Dempster makes his first start since May 4, 2005, when he took a no-decision against the Brewers. Ryan has been training since the end of last season for this switch to a starting role, and he made seven spring starts, going 3-1 with a 4.74 ERA, 22 strikeouts and 11 walks in 24.2 innings. Lou rewarded him with the No. 3 slot between the team’s two left-handers.

Dempster career as a starter went 51-58 with a 4.99 ERA from 1998-2005. There’s a good opportunity for him and the rest of the team to step up today.