The people booing Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Matt Kemp at Dodger Stadium this week weren’t real Dodger fans, they’re just what I would consider just stadium attendees. Kemp is an integral part of the Dodger organization who has worked hard to secure a long-term deal that will keep him playing here until 2019. He did this because he wants to play here, this is his home team and like many of us, he grew up loving the Dodgers and dreaming of playing for them some day.
Kemp, who is struggling this season batting .260 with only two home runs, continued that struggle in the May 27th game against the Angels. I could hear the boos as Kemp took the plate each time and each time it made me angry. Do those people think that will encourage him or help his mental process? The boo birds even came out while Kemp was at bat, something no home team crowd should ever do to their own player.
Did Kemp struggle?
Of course. Kemp was hired to drive in runs. To go 0-5, striking out four of those five times, is not an acceptable performance for someone paid so highly. But booing him during his at-bats is crazy to me and is totally counter-productive.
Kemp’s real impact
While we can all focus on Matt Kemp’s performance (or lack thereof) on the field, he’s been doing a lot to help people off the field at the same time. In support of victims of the recent Oklahoma tornado, Kemp went on the Ellen show and first announced he would donate $1,000 per home run to the Red Cross, then bumped it up to an even $250,000.
In addition to the Ellen experience, Kemp has been making some dreams come true for a kid named Joshua Jones. Dodger fan Jones, who sadly is suffering from terminal cancer, was at the May 5th game against the San Francisco Giants with his dad. Dad asked Dodgers coach Tim Wallach if Matt Kemp might come over and say hi to his son. Kemp did more than that, literally giving him the shirt off his back. After the game, Kemp came over to Joshua, took off his jersey and cleats and handed them to Jones, captured on cel phone video. This wasn’t a staged press event, none of the network cameras or press photographers even caught the moment.
The story doesn’t end there, as for the May 27th game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Kemp flew Joshua and his family to be his VIP guest. While on the field before the game, Jones also got to meet Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim star Mike Trout.
The Dodgers sit in last place in the Western Division, 7.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks but I think we have a lot of season left and the team will hit its stride. Kemp will get through this rough patch and we are going to start seeing a lot more W’s.
Freddy Sherman grew up in Philadelphia, which didn’t make being a Los Angeles Dodgers fan easy. He has lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, now able to follow the Dodgers openly and attends games frequently. You can follow him on Twitter – @thefredsherman