On this week's NPR quiz show, Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!, host Peter Sagal's guest for the "Not My Job" segment is former pitcher for the Chicago Cubs -- and current team executive -- Ryan Dempster. I have no idea why Dempster is a guest since he doesn't have a book being published, isn't promoting anything and isn't a widely-known public figure (although he does do commentary on the MLB Network). The only thing I can figure is that he's really well-liked in Chicago, where the radio show is done, and perhaps another guest fell out and Dempster was available to fill in. That, and perhaps Peter Sagal simply knew how hugely entertaining Dempster is. (When he pitched and I knew he'd be doing an interview, I'd be sure to listen. Not just because he was so funny, but self-effacing and smart. One of the major reasons that MLB Network hired him as an analyst.)
And is he ever funny here. Even if you don't follow baseball, give this a listen. He's a terrific guy and has the audience roaring. The stories he tells about pitching on other team when the crowds were tiny are pure Dempster. Also, I was going to post a video below of the famous impersonation he does of former Cubs announcer Harry Caray, but fortunately host Sagal asks him about it. And even more fortunately, Dempster goes on to tell one absolute hoot of a story about Harry Caray -- one that's so funny in how he weaves it, complete with the impersonation, and with such a great, unexpected topper that even Sagal seems ready to wave the white flag. (Nothing like me over-hyping a funny story, is there? No matter, I think this can live up to the expectation.
Besides, I like too that the story includes current Cubs announcer Pat Hughes, who I love, and have mentioned here. And clearly the Chicago audience thinks as highly of Hughes, since the mere mention of his name brings big applause.
But make no mistake, the joy here is Ryan Dempster. Check it out, whether or not you like sports. It's hard not to like Ryan Dempster.
Other than a Peter Sagal joke about Chicago-style pizza that's funny but not remotely true or actually believe by most people in the city, but sometimes you go for the laugh, this is a full treat.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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