Like Farrell, the pitcher rejected my theory.
“I always put my team first,’’ maintained Dempster. “Everything I do between starts and everything I do between the lines is about putting the team first. I thought I was throwing the ball really well until that sixth inning. I just didn’t complete my job. If I had done a better job, it would have been a non-issue.’’
Boston’s play over the balance of the season will determine the lasting legacy of the episode. If the Sox win the American League East, Dempster’s drilling of A-Rod might be considered a galvanizing moment much like Jason Varitek’s mitt to the face of A-Rod in late July of 2004.
But if the Sox finish second, or lose a playoff bid by one game, Sunday’s feel-good purpose-pitch could go down as Dempster’s Folly.
Monday’s 7-0 bounce-back victory in the most beautiful ballpark in America was a good start for Dempster and the Red Sox.