Upset he has lost some of his magic from 2008, Cubs starter Ryan Dempster will unveil a wacky, spinning bow tie during his next start.

“I was able to fool the National League last season by shaking my mitt before each pitch,” said Dempster. “It’s only natural that they would eventually get used to it, and something new needed to be done.”

The bow tie spins clockwise for 10 seconds before Dempster throws a pitch out of the wind-up and 15 seconds when he is pitching out of the stretch. Dempster hopes hitters will be too distracted by the novelty to be able to hone in on his straight-as-an-arrow, 88 MPH fastball.

“If this doesn’t work, it’s back to the closer’s role for me,” said Dempster. “I can probably do just as well as what’s-his-name.”

From the June 2009 issue by Tim Butterly