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Big League Stew

Cubs’ Dempster growls at Quade after being pulled from game

Ian Casselberry
Big League Stew

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Maybe Ryan Dempster wanted to show he was healthy. Maybe he didn't want to come out of a game while he was pitching well and had a lead. Or maybe he just needs the three days off that will come with the All-Star break.

Whatever the reason, Dempster did not like being pulled at the end of the fifth inning, with the Chicago Cubs holding a 5-3 lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates. And he let manager Mike Quade know exactly how he felt about the decision on his way back into the dugout.

The Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan describes the scene:

Dempster could be seen yelling "No way, no way" after being told of the decision as he entered the dugout, and walked away from Quade after the manager tried to talk to him. He slammed down his glove and cap, and some Cubs players went into the tunnel after him.

Watch the exchange here

Dempster had thrown only 87 pitches by the time he was pulled, and was coming off nine days' rest after missing his start last Monday due to a stomach virus and stiff back.{YSP:MORE}

Given the Cubs' recent history with dugout altercations, it's probably natural to speculate that Dempster's outburst revealed some sort of dissatisfaction with Quade or simmering tensions among the team. But as Sullivan points out, Dempster was one of the most vocal lobbyists for Quade to become the Cubs' manager after Lou Piniella retired.

Following the game, Dempster said the argument was no big deal and that in older days, he would've been celebrated for being "fiery." Quade said this sort of thing happens all the time, except it's usually taken to the clubhouse and not played out for everyone to see. And Dempster's teammates downplayed any talk of team mutiny.

''No,'' catcher Koyie Hill said. ''We've had plenty of opportunities to do that. I don't see that this one's going to be the piece of the puzzle that makes the whole Jenga [tower] fall down.''

It's not like the move didn't work out for the Cubs. Jeff Samardzija, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol pitched four innings of scoreless relief, holding the Pirates to only one hit on the way to a 6-3 win. And Dempster was the winning pitcher, improving his record to 6-6.

So move on, nothing to see here? It looks that way. Except we do love that Jenga reference. If and when the Cubs experience another dugout blowup, maybe Hill can revisit that analogy. Just walk up to the media horde in the clubhouse and shout, "Jenga!"

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