Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010
By Patrick MooneyCSNChicago.com
SAN DIEGO Ryan Dempster is nearing the end of his seventh season with the Cubs, so he fully understands what it takes to play every day in the Wrigley Field fishbowl.
His voice carries weight with the young pitchers in the clubhouse and he is well-liked within the organization. He can be insightful and good for a one-liner or two, but overall he measures his words carefully in public.
All that made Dempsters endorsement of Mike Quade resonate. He gave it late Tuesday night after a 5-2 victory at PETCO Park. This late surge might keep the San Diego Padres out of the playoffs and cement Quades candidacy.
Hes been very upfront and very honest with all of us, Dempster said. Hes been tremendously supportive. Hes given us a lot of confidence to go out there. What hes done for the bullpen those guys have really stepped up with his belief in them.
Hes done a great job and I hope that hes here longer than just this year (and) managing for us next year because he deserves it. Hes done everything theyve asked.
While the 87-70 Padres fell two games back in the National League West and 1.5 behind in the wild-card race the Cubs were in a very good mood.
Dempster lobbied for Marlon Byrd to win a Gold Glove after the center fielder made another great diving catch. They were buzzing about the 100 mph fastball Andrew Cashner blew by Adrian Gonzalez to end the eighth inning.
They yelled out High definition! to make fun of Welington Castillos bright orange polo shirt. One staffer put on his sunglasses and walked up to the rookie catcher to get a better look and draw laughter from around the room.
It wasnt quiet because Dempster (15-11) allowed two runs across seven innings, finishing strong by getting three consecutive strikeouts with two runners on in the seventh. And because Alfonso Soriano hit his 23rd and 24th home runs of the season.
The 72-85 Cubs are now 21-11 since Quade took over and beating teams that are fighting to get into the playoffs.
Unbelievable, Byrd said of the job Quades done. The record speaks for itself the way were playing, the way were executing (and) the moves hes making. Hes showing us (that) he has the qualifications (and) can get a team to play for him.
So far, that includes everyone from the rookies out of the bullpen to Carlos Zambrano. Everyone tries to read Zambranos moods and interpret his postgame quotes for a deeper meaning. He stared down a reporter Monday night for describing him in print as a former ace.
Those kind of descriptions I have no time for whatsoever, Quade said. Does an ace mean this moment? Does it mean the entire year (or) body of work? I dont know. You guys sell papers and do what you do names like that mean nothing to me.
Quade isnt into labels though the Cubs purposely didnt name him their interim manager for the final 37 games of the season. He went from the third-base coach who always seemed to be walking quickly through the clubhouse with his head down to meeting with the media before and after every game.
Everybodys different, Quade said. Some people read a lot of stuff, some people dont. I happen to be a guy that pays attention, but doesnt get locked in to 58 articles a day. Other guys are more sensitive to that stuff (but) this is a grow-ups game.
Yes, its a business and Quade understands that. Other candidates will be interviewed. There are only five more games remaining. But hes already won over several key players.
If hes not here (next season), hes had an unbelievable audition, Byrd said. We feel like we owe it to him to play hard. I think everyone (respects) him.
Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.