- Tim Wheaton
Episode 55, the final episode of 2018, features Ryan Dempster as my guest. I am not going to be presumptuous about your knowledge of who that is. So, here’s some details before we get too far.
Ryan is a former MLB pitcher. He came up through the Florida Marlins organization and eventually went on to play for the Red, Cubs, Rangers and Red Sox. His longest stint was that of 8 seasons with the Chicago Cubs and he finished his career with the Boston Red Sox.
Not just because of my ridiculous passion for the Red Sox, but let me tell you a little more about his grand finale as a major leaguer. His final season was in 2013. That’s the year of the Boston Marathon Bombings.
We covered a lot of ground in this episode. Ryan told about his Dad and Mom’s history, how they met and what kind of man his Dad was before Ryan and his brothers entered the world. His respect for the hard work his Dad put in to provide for their family was clear and obvious, and it sounded well-deserved. Currently, a retired fire chief, his Dad is the Executive Director of the Dempster Family Foundation of Canada.
The foundation was founded about a year after Ryan’s daughter Riley was born with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome during the 2009 baseball season. The genetic disease is the second most common genetic disorder in the world. The foundation has grown and evolved over the years and has now transferred over to the 22q Family Foundation.
If you’re no stranger to the podcast, you’ve heard me use the word "kindness" a lot. Even as part of bigger terms like human kindness or gentle kindness. Ryan and I really dove into this, heartily agreeing about how much people in this world could benefit from being nicer to one another. I mentioned in an email later to Ryan that, in relation to what we talked about, I should trademark "Outbreak of Kindness".
Ryan’s career path, like any other baseball player, is quite the journey. As we walked down memory lane, we paused for a bit to talk about his special final season as part of the 2013 World Champion Red Sox team. He talked about how much that championship meant for the city of Boston, so much more so than for even the players who won it. With everything that city went through in the month of April that year, even if you weren’t watching baseball at that time, or rooting for the Red Sox, you can easily recognize what that meant to the people who adopted the moniker Boston Strong.
The last pitch Ryan made in the major leagues was in that World Series. As a matter of fact, his final pitch was the final pitch of a strikeout that sealed the Game 1 win for the Red Sox. As remarkable as that is; as meaningful and important… Ryan looks back on how amazing his time was with the Cubs as the years that meant maybe the most to him.
Now, aside from work for the 22q Family Foundation, Ryan spends time working for the MLB Network as an analyst, works as a special assistant to Theo Epstein with the Cubs and holds something called "Off The Mound", similar to a late night talk show, where he sits and talks on a stage with other athletes. He is also very happily busy being a Dad… all the more so with the very recent birth of another daughter.
You can find more about the 22q Family Foundation on the web at https://22qfamilyfoundation.org/. On Twitter, you can follow Ryan at: @Dempster46. You can also check out Off the Mound on Twitter at: @OffTheMound.
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Intro and Outro music proudly provided with a partnership by Umphrey’s McGee.
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