Kerry Wood pulled it off with a strikeout, a standing ovation and a hug from his son in his farewell appearance at Wrigley Field. Kevin Youkilis did likewise as Fenway Park with a curtain call and standing ovation after tripling and being pulled for a pinch-runner in his final game with the Red Sox.
Despite pitching well over six innings and retiring 13 straight hitters at one point, Dempster was angry after manager Dale Sveum removed him before the seventh. In a fit that resembled the worst of Carlos Zambrano, he slammed a cooler lid, tossed aside a cooler and threw a full plastic bottle.
The normally talkative Dempster was reluctant to discuss the episode afterward.
Was he surprised at being removed?
"Yeah," he replied.
Was that why he was so upset in the dugout?
"Yeah," he replied.
Was he still upset?
"No, I'm OK," he said. "I'm fine. I'm allowed to be upset. I respect (Sveum) a lot. That's his decision. It doesn't mean I have to be happy about it. He's just trying to do what's best for the ballclub. Just the competitor in me wants to keep trying to pitch."
The week had been a "bit of grind" for Dempster, who said he knows "there's a strong possibility" it was his last start for the club. He has been in the eye of a media hurricane since a report Monday that a trade to the Braves for 22-year-old pitcher Randall Delgado had been completed.
Dempster did not agree to waive his 10-and-5 rights to finish off the deal, hoping to go to the Dodgers instead, and the Cubs' leverage was damaged.
Braves general manager Frank Wren said Wednesday the proposed deal for Dempster was "highly unlikely," while telling a radio station the parameters of the deal expired Tuesday and the Braves had "moved on."
Dempster, who was in the Marlins organization with Wren, said he "respects" the GM and understands his position.
"They can't worry about waiting around for me to make my decision. If that's still an option down the road, that's something I'm going to look at."
By "down the road," Dempster meant a few days. He said he would take Wednesday night and Thursday's off day to look at "a couple of different things … to make the best decision."
The Dodgers are back in the mix, with the Cubs asking for Double-A pitcher Allen Webster, according to foxsports.com.
"I'm going to take a plane ride and try to enjoy my off-day (Thursday), if that's possible," Dempster said. "Then kind of see where I'm at from there."