Ryan Dempster says he never turned down that deal to the Braves. Um, OK.

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Ryan Dempster was all-but-traded to the Braves last week, but rejected it with his 10/5 rights.  At least that’s what The Man wants you to believe. Dempster says it didn’t go down like that:

“The truth of the matter is, at the end of the day, I didn’t turn down any trades. All I asked for was more time on one particular trade. I didn’t really get that time. It got leaked out that I said yes and then I said no. And even after I said no — I never officially said no — I said I needed time to think about it, and I have the right to that time. I know people want an answer overnight, but I’ve been traded twice in my career with no say and so to have a little bit of say and time to make a decision, that’s all I wanted. Unfortunately it went down the way it did. I felt bad for the Atlanta Braves. They are a first-class, top-notch organization.”

Couple things:

  • When someone who prefaces an assertion of fact with “frankly,” or “the truth of the matter” or “in all honesty,” it usually means that the following statement will neither be frank, truthful nor honest. If you add an “at the end of the day” to it, sorry, I’m more suspicious, because that’s just vamping, verbal goo.
  • If all Dempster wanted was more time, and he did not, in fact, get traded to the Braves, doesn’t that strongly suggest that he did, in fact, turn it down? Because I’m having a hard time seeing the Cubs just voluntarily walking away from what almost everyone thought was a great deal in landing Randall Delgado unless they were forced to.
  • If that didn’t happen and, instead, it was the Braves who bailed, it was because Dempster’s delay caused them to rethink. Which, effectively speaking, means that Dempster did scuttle the deal through his actions if not his words.

Is there another possibility here? I’m having a hard time seeing one. What seems pretty obvious, however, is that Dempster is really interested in not being seen as the impediment to that scuttled deal, when he almost certainly was, one way or another.

And just to be clear: he had every right in the world to sink that deal if he wanted to. His union brothers negotiated for that considerable power and he earned the right to exercise that considerable power through his consistency and longevity.

But you know what they say about what comes with great power, right?

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.