This one's for the Cubs Coven - BK and all his alter egos, Hawk, Forklift, Stew and Kurt, the young, idealistic rose colored glasses wearing Cub fan who we managed to educate, and turn to the dark side...
See, harken back to the exciting days July 2001, when the Tampa Bay Rays were actually Devil Rays and sucked as a matter of principle, and it was WE who were the contenders, needing only a hard-hitting first sacker to push our Sammy Sosa/Jon Lieber/three headed bullpen monster over the top in the NL Central. The (Devil) Rays were the country club of the league, where old guys went to put in their time, swing from their keesters, and got paid one last time before making miserable Miller Lite commericals, writing paranoia-laced memoirs that didn't turn out to be so paranoid after all, and whatever else old stars do with the rest of their lives.
The Cubs were able to swing a trade to bring Fred McGriff to the North Side, just in time to give Sosa some lineup protection and most assuredly be the last piece in a surprising contender. Only one problem, one little Cubbie Occurrence. McStiff didn't want to go! He had no-trade protection, which he insisted be part of his contract because Tampa was his home, he didn't have a competitive bone in his body, and all he wanted to do with the rest of his life was to plow his way to 500 jacks and spend as much time as possible taking his kids to Busch Gardens or whatever it is rich, lethargic Florida (people) do.
McGriff blocked the trade. For weeks, he because the poster child for the uncaring athlete who was only in it for the buck. Me and my friends, before Blogspot, were banished by the rest of the Kool Aid drinking Cub Fandom to this pitiful little Yahoo! Groups site where we were free to bitch, gripe, vent, rant, swear, dabble in extreme political incorrectness and borderline bigotry, and it was simply the best time I ever had out here on the interwebs. Oh, we went absolutely batshit that a so-called competitor would NOT want to join into a pennant race, and would rather stay tethered in Tampa on his wife's apron strings. He didn't want to come play in the greatest stadium in the world, for the best fans? We instantly came to the conclusion that, if McStiff didn't want to come here the instant they offered it to him, then he had no heart and they should just take the trade off the table.
Well, they didn't. Eventually, he came to Chicago, and for the next two months and the following year, Fred McGriff went through the motions of posting some of the hollowest stats anyone has ever posted. He managed to hit 30 the next year; but his act was so listless and the heart of the ballclub was so damaged that manager Don Baylor's last act, leaving McGriff in the lineup instead of prospect Hee Seop Choi because "he wanted Fred to get his 100 RBIs" was the act that probably got him fired.
For that long year plus that McStiff just KILLED us, because as you know we collapsed like a full diaper in 2001 and could not play dead the next year, because the players in the clubhouse took their cues from Fred McGriff because he was a longtime professional, we in the Coven had one simple, effective phrase that summarized everything that was wrong with that team.
McStiff Eats Ass.
Now, tell me how Ryan Dempster differs from McStiff? Sure, he "earned" his 10-and-5 rights. He has a young family, which we've gone over. He seems to be a sensitive guy; he loves Chicago, has a large charitable organization. He seems to be a decent human being. So was Fred McGriff, actually. If I was placed in the same situation, I would also opt for family over what my team wanted.
That's why I am nearly 48 years old, with three freaking college degrees, and not a millionaire. I do not portray myself as a competitor.
However: I have not placed myself in a position in a competitive enterprise as Ryan Dempster has. I am not making 14 million dollars this year, as Ryan Dempster is. I don't hold a great deal of the Chicago Cubs' future in my hands, as Dempster does. And, it appears. I have not cost the Cubs the rights to Randall Delgado, a Top 50 prospect, as Ryan Dempster has.
The whole "10-and-5" protection concept is really a farce. It legally allows a player to block a trade, but if the player has any kind of competitive fire whatsoever, he isn't going to turn down a trade to a contender. Furthermore, and this is just the nature of the game, but Ryan Dempster is SEVERLY hurting the Cubs right now. Regardless of what they might tell him and his agent, they do not want him anymore. Randall Delgado, with his unmet potential and his 1990 birthday, is far more valuable to the Cubs, me and you than Ryan Dempster is. He owes it to us to go to Atlanta, and he didn't. So three years from now, when Delgado is one of the best starters in the game, only not with us, remember this week when Ryan Dempster stuck us in the gut because he rather spend his mornings body boarding with Ted Lilly in Malibu.
You WERE one of my favorite Cubs, Ryan, but by effing with the Epstein Plan, depriving us of a honest-to-God future star, and by putting yourself above us?
Ryan Dempster? You eat ass. Go away and have your dugout temper tantrums somewhere else. Jerk.