NEW YORK -- On Tuesday morning, there was a little concern about whether Ryan Dempster would follow through with his plan to join fellow Rangers pitcher Derek Holland for their scheduled ride over to the MLB Fan Cave for Harry Caray impressions, hilarity and hijinx.
After all, Dempster had just been victimized a night earlier by Nick Swisher and the Yankees in a fateful third inning of an 8-2 loss in the Bronx -- the second time the right-hander has allowed eight earned runs in three starts since being acquired from the Cubs. But after tossing 2,164 Major League innings, Dempster is not the type to sit around a hotel and sulk.
"I put games behind me very quick," Dempster said. "I think you have to do that, you have to have a short memory. It's nice to get out in the morning and get moving around and get out and enjoy a nice day like this, at the Fan Cave."
"That's the same for me," Holland added. "I've been taught the same thing. You can't worry about stuff that's already over. I'm not going to sit and dwell on it if I didn't pitch a great game, or whatever. I still have to be myself and enjoy myself."
There are some life lessons in there, and there was some classic Cave comedy when this pair got together at the 15,000-square-foot hub in Greenwich Village.
Consider their tour, which traditionally calls for the visiting player or celeb to sign the Rawlings deconstructed baseball skins on a wall. Teammates usually sign the same skin or at least the same area. Dempster walked way down the end to an uncharted signature area and signed there, and Holland signed the very opposite end of the wall.
"Really close teammates," joked Cave Dweller Gordon Mack, a Phillies fan.
"It looked like somebody needed to start on that end," explained Dempster, who walked over to Holland as he was posing for a picture by his signature, and hugged him around his waist.
Both pitchers sat in front of the 15-screen Cave Monster to tape a video skit that will appear shortly on MLBFanCave.com. They were fitted with silvery wigs and big black glasses, sportcoat and ties, and told to give commentary of their own highlights that were being shown on the TV wall. The best part: They do it in Harry Caray voices.
There was no script, and they were told to just let it fly, go off on tangents and live up to the Hall of Fame announcer's inimitable mannerisms.
"I have two brothers, and growing up, one of them would do the best Harry Caray at the dinner table," Dempster said. "You had to learn it to keep up, so I've always done it."
Dempster reached the Majors in 1998, the same year Caray passed away. Dempster pitched from 2004 to last month with the Cubs, so the legendary voice was part of his surroundings. Then last fall, Dempster was watching the World Series on TV along with everyone else, and he saw Holland do an impromptu Harry in the dugout during FOX's live Game 5 telecast.
Holland had just thrown a gem in Game 4, combining with Neftali Feliz for a 4-0 shutout of the Cardinals. In the top of the third inning, with St. Louis ahead, 2-0, and C.J. Wilson throwing to Matt Holliday, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver were interviewing Holland, who had a headset on. "I want to hear a little Harry Caray and then we'll let you go," Buck said to Holland, who proceeded to make his impression known to millions.
On Tuesday at the Fan Cave, the two pitchers let it fly. Holland sort of bowed to Dempster's version.
"I knew about him when I first started trying to do it," Holland said of his new rotation mate. "Obviously, he's got the title. I think he does it way better than me. He can do it a lot longer. I kind of lost it out there. He's got the title for that."
"He does a good job," Dempster said of Holland's Harry skills. "I noticed that there was a playoff game or something and he was being mic'd up, and I thought, 'Oh, that's awesome, man, somebody else does it.' We had a lot of fun with it. That was cool."
When asked about the World Series version, Holland wanted to set a record straight.
"They got a glimpse of it, and I also got criticized for it," he said. "People thought I wasn't paying attention to the game. But I was actually mic'd up before that game, too, and if they would have, if I could ever pull that video, they would see that I was paying attention. It was a lot of fun. I got to be myself. I'm just showing my personality. It's who I am ..."
"Wait a second," Dempster interrupted him. "You were having fun at a baseball game?"
"Yeah, it's crazy, you're never supposed to do that."
"Oh my goodness, how dare you," Dempster said. "You should never do that. You should never have fun. We should just be doing our jobs."
"I should go kick rocks," Holland told him.
Both pitchers would love to be back in that World Series setting, where perhaps they could each do a Harry impression for someone, live or otherwise. But for now, their priorities are on Yankee Stadium, where a series between American League powers would continue hours later.
"I feel confident," Holland said of this remaining stretch. "We just have to keep doing it one game at a time. You can't really look too far ahead. Gotta worry about the present, not the future."
"I'm super excited," said Dempster, who got a taste of the postseason with the Cubs teams that were swept in the 2007 and '08 National League Division Series. "We've got a really great team, we're playing some good baseball, and just have to keep it going."
They each went down the giant orange tube slide.
"I wish I had a slide in my house," Holland said.