MESA, Ariz. -- You never know who you'll see in the stands of a Spring Training game, including Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster.
Dempster helped a guy propose to his girlfriend during last Saturday's Chicago-Arizona game at HoHoKam Park. Cubs strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss told Dempster about the couple, and said they were in seats Nos. 1 and 2 of a section along the first-base side near the field. The plan was for Dempster to hand the girl a baseball, which said, "The guy next to you has a question to ask." The guy would take it from there.
However, things didn't go exactly as planned.
"What I did was walk down through the stands, in uniform," Dempster said. "I started walking out when the [Cubs second] inning started, and I didn't want to make a scene, so I sat down in the stands.
"Well, we hit for like 40 minutes," Dempster said of the Cubs' four-run inning. "So, I'm in the stands for that long, in my uniform. The funny part is I left four tickets for four of my friends, and I had no idea in the entire world what section they're in, and I look in front of me and there's my four buddies."
Dempster signed a few autographs for fans who noticed him -- which was hard not to do -- and avoided any offers of free beer. Things got even more weird. While Dempster was sitting there, he couldn't find his targeted couple.
"There's two guys on one side, and in the last two seats are a couple of 65-year-old folks with wedding rings on," Dempster said. "I'm thinking the joke's on me. Then, I look at the end of the inning, and I see a guy and girl in the middle of the section, and I look at him and her, and he nodded. I gave her the ball, and he got down on one knee and said, 'Will you marry me?' She said, 'Yes.'"
That's about the only thing that went right. What if she said no?
The right-hander guesses this is the third proposal he's been a part of.
"I may get my marriage license so I can marry people," he said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.