Dempster, Millar keep up playful ribbing
Former teammates continue talking smack to each other
CHICAGO -- When Kevin Millar is your trash-talking foil, you never get the last word.
Baltimore's first baseman continued his playful war of words with former teammate Ryan Dempster on Tuesday, when the Orioles arrived for the first act of a three-game set at Wrigley Field. Dempster, a starter whose rotation turn doesn't come up in this series, had playfully ribbed Millar in Tuesday's edition of the Chicago Sun-Times.
"It was a big disappointment when I found out they had moved him up," said Millar. "I don't want to blame the Cubs, because he'd have to face the American League East. He pitched in that big rivalry against the Chicago White Sox.
"Listen. He knows [and] I know that there would've been some damage. I know he's 9-2 and he's got like a 3.00 ERA, but there's nothing like a hanging 2-1 slider to take him deep. And I wanted to do the [San Diego Chargers linebacker] Shawne Merriman [dance] against him."
Millar and Dempster, who played together with the Florida Marlins, have been trading barbs since Spring Training. The discourse started when Dempster predicted that the Cubs would win the World Series, and Millar shot back that they'd have to go through the Orioles to do it. Four months later, both men have stuck to their word.
"Everybody thought we were crazy," said Millar. "He comes in week one and I come in a week after [and] everybody thought we were nuts. We're holding our ground. We're in a very tough division and we're battling.
"This is a series they have to come through and we'll see how good they are. Obviously, they did a great job against the White Sox and they swept them. But they've got to come through the East. This will be a fun little series."
Dempster chided Millar's ability as a defensive player, but the veteran took his criticism in a different direction. He admitted that Dempster has been pitching well and said that he may have to send a message with his bat.
"I'm sure he'll be on the top step," he said. "What I'm going to try to do my first day is hit a ball into the dugout. I'm going to try to pull something extremely hard into their dugout, make him and [manager] Lou Piniella scatter."
When asked for his take on the multimedia conversation, Baltimore manager Dave Trembley declined to comment. He did, however, allow that his team has outperformed expectations and could make Millar's prediction possible.
"Playful words, I have no take," said Trembley, an all-business manager who prefers to stay away from controversial sound bites. "That's strictly between Ryan Dempster and Kevin Millar. It's nice to have the amount of success that we've had at this point in time. There's a big part of our season to go yet, but I've been very pleased with what we've done so far."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.