You have a guy like Ryan Dempster, who’s your bulldog when he comes in. It’s his day to pitch and you’re excited to see him on the mound. When he has to come out of the game, there’s that fire in him that he wants to stay out there and he wants to keep going strong. You have two strong-minded guys, Q and Demp. Q believed in one thing, going with his bullpen. Demp believed he could keep going strong. At the same time, people have to understand you need that. You don’t want a passive manager, you don’t want a passive starting pitcher. Sometimes you bump heads. We have 7 1/2 months together. It’s not all love. Sometimes it’s war, even in the locker room. We treat it like a family. What happened yesterday happened, and today you move on and go from there. Maybe Ramon throws six, seven innings and doesn’t want to come out and the bullpen is ready and it happens again. At the same time, that’s something that will always happen in the game of baseball just because of the competitiveness and the fire between players and staff.
If it had been Zambrano, it would’ve been blown up and blown out of proportion. The camera stays on Carlos. They’re waiting for him to have his next blow up. Dempster’s had blow ups, but you just haven’t seen them or hear about them. I’ve had my blow ups and you never hear about them. It happens to everybody. I guess it’s a Catch-22. If it’s Dempster, he gets a pass. If it’s Carlos Zambrano, it gets talked about more because he’s Big Z.
Opening Day is exciting. I’m very excited about Monday’s game. We’re still focused on these two games in Cincinnati and trying to win this series. It was a heartbreaker last night but today’s a new day and we’ve got our ace on the mound and we’ll be fine.
Going into Opening Day, it’s going to be a little different for me because it’s my first time running out on Wrigley in Cubs pinstripes. I don’t care if it’s 10 degrees or 100 degrees, I’ll be out there and be ready.
My thing when I run out there? It’s going to be a feel after a while. We’ll see what the bleacher bums do — I’m sure they’ll be very receptive to me and vice versa. I’ll figure out my thing with them. I’ll say a little hello to the bullpen, like I did in Texas. I’ll have my whole skit lined up.
I always say hello to the bullpen. You need the bullpen to win. You say “what’s up” and give your high fives and everything to everyone in the dugout but you pay your respects to the bullpen because they close it out for us. I know they’re not close to center but I’ll find them.