"I was definitely beginning to question my ability and things" said Dempsey in a recent interview. "I knew I was still having good seasons by certain standards. But other variables were indicating I wasn't very good at all. The injuries the last few years really had me down and a bit concerned. I was determined to prove I wasn't washed up just yet."
Thus far in 2038, Steve Dempsey appears a bit rejuvenated. The sudden surge in production could be contributed to a variety of factors but the most obvious ones appear to be the added rest and platoon role Dempsey has taken on this season.
"Davis approached me in the spring and asked me how I felt about the idea of platooning. I was pretty hesitant at first. I have always been an everyday player. But we had a long talk about preserving myself and with two years of injuries needing to make sure I'm healthy all the way through the season and perhaps taking some added days during the season would benefit me and the team more down the stretch. I was totally convinced at first but so far I feel very fresh and my numbers appear to indicate that as well."
The Wolves have played 64 games this season and Steve has played in 44 games and started 43 of those. While his counting numbers are surely to take a hit at the end of the season, his other numbers are already indicating a boost from previous seasons. In 167 at-bats this season, Dempsey is batting .359/.407/.515 on the season with 60 hits, 11 doubles, 6 triples, and a homerun. He's managed to steal 16 bases in 18 attempts and has a 1.2 WAR, a considerable improvement over his -0.0 and -0.2 production the last 2 seasons. His defense is still a liability in rightfield, but thus far his offense has surpassed the weaknesses with his glove game.
"He looks fresh on a daily basis now" said Wolves manager Millard Davis. "Over the last few seasons he seemed to drag during long stretches and I think his bat suffered. Part of that blame is on me and him. He refused to come out and I refused to do my job. Luckily we talked this off-season and worked out what we thought was best for Bootleg over the remainder of his career. While his age says he's just 32, he's in his 13th season now. That takes a toll on the body. In 8 of those seasons he played over 150 games too. That gets to be tough over the long haul."
Steve currently sits at 2,441 hits for his career, 3rd most in Madison Wolves history. He's on pace for 152 hits this season in his current role which would put him over the 2,500 mark this season. At that pace alone, he'd still be able to eclipse the 3,000 hit mark sometime around the year 2041.
"And don't forget" added in Steve, "I'm just 30 or some stolen bases from being top 10 all-time there too. These legs are still kicking!"