Dempster makes new 'bold' prediction
Cubs starter jokes about last year's prophecy, but confidence remains
MESA, Ariz. -- It was a year ago, before pitchers and catchers had broken a sweat at Fitch Park, when Ryan Dempster predicted the Cubs would win the World Series.
Everyone knows that didn't happen. His bold prediction for this year?
"I boldly predict that we're going to have a breakfast spread tomorrow and peanut butter and jelly for lunch," Dempster said. "I'm pretty sure that's going to happen."
Dempster has no regrets that he made the comment then.
"It's one of the things we all think and feel, and I said it at the time and I stood by it," Dempster said. "I liked our team a lot, and I really like our team a lot this year."
The Cubs have a different look this year. Kerry Wood is gone, and Dempster now has his locker. That will take some adjusting.
"For me, we came to the big leagues the same year," Dempster said of Wood. "We were drafted the same year. My whole tenure in Chicago, up until now, he's been here. He's kind of, not Mr. Cub, but the Cub of our generation.
"He's been here so long and striking out 20 and hitting the three-run home run in Game 7 [of the National League Championship Series in 2003] and doing all the great things he did, and not just as a player but as a person. It'll always be hard. As unlucky as we are to not have him anymore, the Cleveland Indians are lucky to have a guy like that. I'm glad he's in another league and we don't have to face him that much."
Last season with Wood, Mark DeRosa and others, the Cubs won the most games in the National League with 97. Is the revamped '09 team better? Dempster sensed the players are motivated.
"It's always easy to sit back on Feb. 14 and see how we compare, but we haven't played a game yet," he said. "Let this team stand on its own merit as the 2009 Chicago Cubs, and hopefully we'll do a really good job this year and take it one game at a time and keep playing hard. With the talent we have, we can do some really good things again."
He's not going to lobby for the Opening Day assignment, saying he'll pitch fifth if Cubs manager Lou Piniella wants.
What about all the offseason rumors regarding the Cubs possibly acquiring San Diego pitcher Jake Peavy? Does the team need another starter?
"I don't want to replace anybody on our team, because they're all great," Dempster said, recognizing the business side of a deal. "Any time you talk about having a guy of his caliber, it's something that's exciting to everybody.
"If that's something that happens, great, but at the same time, I think we'll do just fine with what we have."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.