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Dempster escalates 'war' of words with Baltimore first baseman
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff

Ryan Dempster on Kevin Millar's promise to take him "deep": "It's kind of hard to go deep off me if you're wearing one in the ribs every time up."


Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

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Published: 2/21/2008 10:46 AM | Updated: 2/22/2008 12:15 AM

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MESA, Ariz. -- With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster fired back Thursday morning in a war of friendly fire with Baltimore Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar. It's a war Millar kept going well into the afternoon.

"Who's Kevin Millar?" Dempster asked. "I mean, really. Know what I mean?"

Early this week, Millar reacted to Dempster's prediction that the Cubs would win the 2008 World Series with a little prediction of his own.

"I'm guaranteeing a 2008 World Series; everybody else is," Millar told reporters in Florida. "I'm going on the record right now. We're going to shock the world. I don't know who Dempster is in Chicago, but if he thinks he's going to win the World Series, he has to come through us first."

Millar went further.

"I'm going deep off Ryan Dempster," he said.

Dempster's response to that one: "It's kind of hard to go deep off me if you're wearing one in the ribs every time up. Who's he, the cowboy-up guy, ooh, the big cowboy-up, ride-that-pony or whatever he does in his cowboy boots and his 1.5 Hummers? Yeah. Pretty bold prediction, huh?

"If he wants to do that, you can tell him that I welcome the challenge, It'd be fun, mano-a-mano, facing each other. We play them this year, right?"

Yes, indeed. The Orioles come to Wrigley Field for interleague play June 24-26.

"I welcome that any day of the week," Dempster said. "Hopefully I'll be scheduled to start."

A helpful reporter even suggested the wind could be blowing out.

"Perfect," Dempster said. "Well, he's going to need it."

Millar and Dempster were teammates together with the Florida Marlins from 1998-2002. They are considered two of the freer spirits in the game.

In that vein, Millar kept things going when informed of Dempster's good-natured retort.

"If Dempster threw it at my ribs, that means he's trying to go down and away," Millar told the Baltimore media. "He has no command, no control, of any fastball he throws, so he can't tell anybody where he's going to throw the baseball.

"The young man made the (2000) all-star team with the Fighting Fish because they had to take somebody. The guy's lived off the 2000 all-star stuff for many, many, many years, and I'm tired of hearing about it."

Millar wasn't done.

"There's a Budweiser sign (outside) Wrigley Field," he said. "He'll try to throw the fastball down and away, and it might get away from him and hit me. The next at-bat, he's going to try to throw a hanging slider, and I'm going hit it off the Budweiser sign."

Stay tuned.