Former MASN analyst Rick Dempsey, who had worked on the Orioles’ pre- and postgame shows since 2007, admits the ballclub’s decision to move on from him as part of the cuts at MASN “is heartbreaking in a sense,” but he is adamant that he will remain loyal to the team and Baltimore long into the future.
Dempsey, who caught or coached for the Orioles for a combined 18 seasons, found a niche as an analyst for the team after the end of his coaching career. He teamed up primarily with Jim Hunter and Tom Davis on “O’s Xtra,” the show that bookended Orioles games on MASN. Dempsey’s love for the Orioles was obvious during each show — as was his expertise stemming from 24 seasons as a big-league catcher – whether the team was enjoying on-field success or not.
Now, Dempsey is moving on from MASN. The primarily Orioles-owned network is experiencing a cash crunch, according to The Athletic.
“It is heartbreaking in a sense, but it isn’t like I completely cut my ties with Baltimore. I love Baltimore,” Dempsey said on Glenn Clark Radio Jan. 26. “I have so many good friends and fans there. I did enjoy being with the fans around the ballpark all the time. It’s going to break my heart that I won’t be there as much as I would like, but we still have opportunities to talk to the Orioles about things I might be doing with [an] ambassadorship of the team, so I’m looking forward to at least that.”
Dempsey, 71, played in the big leagues from 1969-1992 and for the Orioles from 1976-1986 and in 1992. Known as a high-end defensive backstop, Dempsey had his finest moment at the perfect time in the 1983 World Series. He hit .385/.467/.923 with four doubles and home runs to help the Orioles defeat the Philadelphia Phillies in five games, earning World Series MVP honors in the process.
After retiring, Dempsey was a minor-league manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets from 1994-1998. He was a coach for the Orioles from 2002-2006, mostly serving as the first base coach during that time. He has interviewed four times for the Orioles’ manager’s job, most recently in 2010 before Buck Showalter was hired.
Dempsey said he “will always be there” if the club needs him for anything.
“Baseball is a funny thing. I’ve been fortunate to be able to stay in Baltimore and with this organization,” Dempsey said. “I’ve had a lot of different roles – maybe not the one I really coveted the most, [which] was to manage the Orioles some day. But that just didn’t work out. You don’t always get every single thing that you want in life, and you’ve got to make adjustments. This is just another adjustment that I’m going to have to make, but I am not giving up on the Orioles and I refuse to give up on Baltimore.”
Dempsey said he’ll miss some of the little things as well, like waking up at the Inner Harbor, walking downstairs to get some coffee and chatting with fans. It’s no surprise that Dempsey is still a fan favorite. Dempsey made sure to say that he appreciates all the love that fans have shown him throughout the years.
“The Memorial Stadium days [and] Oriole Magic would’ve been nothing without our fans,” Dempsey said. “I can’t tell you how many young people I met [who were] 5, 6 years old who are still coming to the ballpark now bringing their kids to meet me. That means something to me. When I’m down there on the field working, I’m thinking, ‘I’m working because I want to keep that winning atmosphere, I want to keep that joy and that love of the city and the people and the fans and everything. I want to keep that alive until the day I die.’”
For more from Dempsey, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox