It’s been a non-stop celebration for Gibsons’ Ryan Dempster following the Boston Red Sox historic World Series win Oct. 30.
Boston beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in game six to win their third world title in 10 years and eighth championship in franchise history. It was the first time since 1918 that the Red Sox won the title in front of the Fenway Faithful.
Dempster pitched one inning in the World Series — the ninth inning — in Boston’s 8-1 game one win.
When Coast Reporter caught up with him on Nov. 6 for a phone interview from Boston, he said the past few days were filled with incredible, emotional moments.
“I just remember you start stretching to make sure you don’t pull a hammy running out of the bullpen,” he said with a laugh of preparing to celebrate the victory. “You never say that anything is guaranteed when you are playing the other best team in baseball, but Koji [closer Koji Uehara], I think hadn’t given up five runs all year, so we didn’t feel like he would give up five in one inning. As the outs came, you start getting closer and you’re hugging the guys in the bullpen. All I told myself was make it out to the dog pile before it breaks up.
“It was a full sprint and I was getting after it pretty hard. It was just amazing man. You see the smiles and the excitement on everyone’s face and all the guys that worked so hard all year to accomplish something like that. Then to see my parents, and to share that moment, I gave my dad a big hug. I couldn’t help but cry, it was just so special. To do it at home was insane and the days and nights that followed were just as incredible.”
Following the celebration on the field and in the clubhouse, players, friends and family went to a nearby bar for a little after party, but the fun didn’t stop there.
“When we got back to the field and people were taking pictures, I got this wild idea to run into the clubhouse and grab some baseballs and a bat and started throwing BP to my family,” he said. “Then Mike O’Malley, the actor, and some of his friends and some other people on the field joined it — it was quite a trip, man.”
On Saturday, an estimated two million people packed the streets of downtown Boston for a victory parade. The players climbed aboard duck boats inside Fenway Park and started a so-called rolling rally through the streets.
Dempster has had a huge support system throughout the playoffs with his dad Wally, mom Lori and several other family and friends with him since the first-round series against Tampa Bay, the American League championship against Detroit and the World Series with the Cardinals.
Dempster said it was special to have everyone along for the ride.
“The way my teammates and the coaches treated my dad was just first class,” he said. “To sit there and celebrate like that and in the parade, I don’t think he stopped smiling. It was really special to have him and my mom for all that. They have been there, of course, from the beginning, so to have them be there for the ride in the playoffs like that and to come to the end and win the World Series and get pictures with the trophy, it was just real special.”
Dempster said the victory parade was an incredible experience. “To see the joy on everyone’s face, the streets were just packed,” he said. “People say we lifted the city [after the Boston Marathon bombing] by doing something so great, but at the end of the day the city lifted us. We jumped on their backs and they wouldn’t let us quit.
“We had so many walk-offs and so many big moments. The energy they provided us at Fenway Park was amazing. All the police officers, fire fighters, first responders and victims of the bombings who came out to bring energy to the field every day was just incredible, so to drive around the city like that in a duck boat to say thank you, it was amazing.”
Wally said it was an honour to be with his son and to share in the joy of such an accomplishment.
“So happy to see him reach the goal that he has dreamed about since he was five years old,” Wally said. “Lori and I were with him for the whole month and lots of other family joined us during the playoffs. There were about 16 of us for the final set in Boston. It’s just so emotional, I can’t think of words to describe it.
“Right from spring training when we first went down to Florida and Ryan introduced us to some of the people in the organization. They were just a great club and made us feel a part of the family. When they clinched in Tampa, a security guy came and grabbed me in the bottom of the ninth and took me to the clubhouse so I could join in the champagne celebration, which was awesome.”
Wally said they obviously hoped for the best for their son, but to see him achieve something so monumental was a very proud moment.
“We always hoped, of course, that he would realize his dreams, but boy, you know there are a lot of people out there trying to achieve that same dream, so to be one of 25 guys to get it done is just incredible,” Wally said. “All these years I’ve had the privilege of hanging out with him in clubhouses and met some terrific people and some amazing baseball players, but nothing compares to this Red Sox team. They truly, truly epitomize the word team. Every day it was someone different. It wasn’t one or two super stars — everyone contributed. All they talked about was how to win and how to pitch to certain hitters and how to hit certain pitchers. They were one big family. We went to a few barbecues at Papi’s place [Big Papi David Ortiz]. The whole team, the parking lot guys, the coaches and their families and kids were always invited. It was just an incredibly tight team. Everyone was treated as equals — what a group — so much fun.”
Looking back on it all, Dempster said the support from family and friends has been incredible, and so many other people helped him along the way, too.
“All my coaches on the Coast and what they did for me to get to the city and gave me the opportunity to play, I can’t thank them enough,” he said. “But it’s just not individuals, it’s the entire town of Gibsons. The support from my hometown along the way — it’s like everyone has been on that journey, been on the ride since day one, when I was drafted to go play minor baseball and everyone was so excited for me. Then I made the major leagues and went through different things like making the playoffs with the Cubs or the All-star Game and everyone being so happy, so I hope they feel a little part of a champion, too, because I would never have been able to do this without the support of so many people.”
Dempster said he plans to kick back and relax a bit, spend time with his kids, family and friends and then start training hard again to prepare for another title run next season.
“What a fun group of guys to be around. We had a blast the whole year and to come out of it with a World Series is awesome,” he said. “I always said how much fun it is to go on the journey to knock off somebody to become a World Series champ. I think the opportunity to defend it and the hard work that goes into that, when you get a taste of something like that, you don’t want to give it back.”