Beaming with Canadian pride

BOB ELLIOTT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

NEW YORK -- If Ryan Dempster ever injures his arm, he could work at Second City.

Dempster was asked at a midtown Manhattan hotel about the fact that in this, the final year of Yankee Stadium, there are three Canadians in the all-star game for the first time.

"Well," said Dempster, the Chicago Cubs right-hander from Gibsons, B.C., "we got together in spring training and had a talk.

"We decided to try hard this year ... for a change. You know, go out and give 100%. We're all looking forward to getting to the stadium and being able to speak Canadian to one another."

Joining Dempster, 10-4, with a 3.25 earned run average, is possible battery mate Russell Martin, a Montrealer catching for the Los Angeles Dodgers. And in the other dugout is former AL most valuable player, Justin Morneau, of New Westminster, B.C., who plays for the Minnesota Twins.

"We (Canadians) make up a small percentage of the major leaguers," Dempster said. "It's nice to see guys doing so well."

A total of 18 Canadians have appeared on major-league rosters with 109 in the minors.

Dempster has company in the Cubs rotation in Rich Harden of Victoria, B.C., recently acquired from the Oakland A's.

"I'm happy to have another Canadian on the team, but I'm happier to have Rich Harden," Dempster said. "We got him before anyone else did.

"We sit in the dugout and exchange ferry stories."

Both Harden and Dempster, graduates of the B.C. Premier League, took ferry rides to and from their games.

"I'm looking forward to this," smiled Martin, "I won't get booed like last year."

As a Dodger, Martin was booed for simply walking onto the field at AT&T Park in San Francisco by Giants fans a year ago tonight.

"I actually texted both those guys when the rosters came out," Morneau said. "The message was: 'Congrats, can't believe we got three Canadians in this thing.' They texted right back and were really excited. It's amazing how far it has come. Jason Bay could have been here as well."


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