Kickin’ it with Matt, Santa Monica, February 2011
Hello there ol’ pal ! It’s been over a year since you last set foot inside The Ravine. The last time you set foot you we’re wearing a different shade of blue for the folks down I-5. Before we could see you again, you we’re sent packing to Georgia. As your path took you south, you, in the face of some, threw shade at us laid-back folks of Southern California from the 213 to the 619. Sure, growing up in Oklahoma and being a Braves fan as a kid would be cause for you to be excited to don the tomahawk. But what exactly do you mean when you say you “never really played in a baseball town before”? It certainly isn’t for lack of support. After all, we continue to lead the majors in attendance year in and year out.
We’re we just “too Hollywood” for you? It’s easy to see how you would feel that way considering that you too had embraced the Hollywood lifestyle, according to your Players Tribune piece, “Hello, Atlanta”.
“In so many ways, I got sidetracked from what I loved most about playing the game of baseball — having fun. I let a big contract, the Hollywood lifestyle, injuries and bad relationships tarnish the reputation I had worked so hard to establish. Sadly, I gained a reputation for being selfish, lazy and a bad teammate. While I may not agree with all the criticism I received in the past few years —and while I believe that a lot of it was unmerited — I take full responsibility for my shortcomings. And I promise you, Atlanta: Those days are gone.”
In all fairness, you’re hardly the first or will be the last professional athlete to get caught up with all that Hollywood and L.A. has to offer. I’m also happy to see that Atlanta has seen most of the old Matt Kemp, sans the defensive liabilities. But fans can have very little patience, let alone empathy, for athletes who are paid millions of dollars and fail to meet expectations. To Joe Fan, someone of Matt Kemp should play beyond the distractions a city like L.A. can offer.
But back to being a baseball town. What really makes for a baseball town? If attendance figures are a big component than L.A. would certainly more than qualify, especially given the vast entertainment and recreational options we have. Anyone familiar with the layout of the greater L.A. area can certainly tell you going out let alone to a Dodger game is hardly a breeze. Also, to say that the days of lazy Matt Kemp are gone, perhaps you are implying what fans may have perceived of you from 2013-14?
Even the Padres during many a down year in 2016 outdrew the Braves at the gate, ranking near the middle of the pack. From the 213 to the 619 it really comes as no surprise during the Braves recent visit to Petco Park, the reception for Matt Kemp from both the Friar Faithful and the local media was anything but cordial.
I really hope Matt Kemp continues to produce. After starting out hot his average has dipped below .300. He is still on pace to 25-30 home runs along with 90 plus RBIs.
Sure, there was a time we all had a love/hate relationship with the former Beast Mode. His should have been MVP season of 2011 seems but a distant memory to many a blue clad fan. I never really had an issue with Matt Kemp in the few times I’ve crossed paths with him. Does he say much? No. But he’s not asked to be a motivational speaker. When healthy he certainly could be clutch. Remember the 8th inning home run in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS?
While the dream of Beast Mode carrying The Blue toward October Glory may be over, I still wish Matt all the success in the world. As for the type of reception the fans from this so-called baseball town of ours gives you? I don’t expect any drama. If any drama is to happen, it’s more likely to come through some 9th inning fireworks. (Haven’t we seen that a lot lately?)
Extra Innings…Throwing Back Thursday With Kid Marley Marlz
Yes Kid, Ol’ Bison will be back at The Ravine for four this weekend. Hey, 11 in a row for The Blue. They’re just cruising by the competition, you know…Like Cruising Music…