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Scenes from Spring Training: Matt Kemp shows hustle

Feb 26, 2011, 4:15 PM EDT

Matt Kemp

The “Matt Kemp is lazy and out of shape” meme got beat to death last year. Was there any truth to it? Sure, some. But it probably got overplayed because I’m not sure anyone is due as much garbage he got thrown on him in 2010. In light of all of that, I feel justified in relaying exactly one inning’s worth of Matt Kemp data as a means of trying to balance things out.

Kemp led off the top of the second here at Tempe Diablo. He cracked a single up the middle. Then he stole second base. Then he advanced to third base on a grounder to short that a lot of guys would have held up on but on which Kemp had such a great jump that he would have beat the throw even if Erick Aybar had tried to make a play.  Then Kemp tagged, hauled ass and scored on a shallow fly to center by Russ Mitchell.

The way I see it, that was three instances of hustle in one at bat, his first of spring training.  That’s not a lot of data, but maybe it’s time that we all pour our Matt Kemp Haterade down the drain.

  1. baseballisboring - Feb 26, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    Black player has bad season? He’s lazy! Arrogant! He’s gone Hollywood!

    I’m sure there’s some truth to it…but I bet if he puts up solid numbers this year no one will criticize his effort even if he dogs it after a few fly balls. He’ll finally be letting his “natural talent” take over.

    • scatterbrian - Feb 26, 2011 at 7:27 PM

      Seriously? Kemp signed a 2 year/$10.95M extension in the spring. On April 27th, the Dodgers lose 4-0 to the Mets and fall to 8-11, after which Ned Colletti said:

      “Some guys, I guess, think that they’re better than they are. They think the opposition’s just going to roll over and get beat by them. That obviously doesn’t happen. The baserunning’s below average,” Colletti said. “The defense is below average. Why is it? Because he got a new deal? I can’t tell you.”

      Between the slow start, the owners divorce, and Manny on the DL, Colletti decided to vent, and he unnecessarily took a shot at his most recent expense. But Colletti didn’t say anything about skin color.

      • cur68 - Feb 27, 2011 at 1:57 AM

        Didn’t apologize either. He dumped on the kid because he, Colletti, had a bad case of twisted panties. Someone pointed out on another of these articles that baseball teams win or lose not because of any one player, & are great not because of any one player, but Colletti chose to make it out that way. It was all Kemp’s fault alluded Mr. Colletti. You gotta vent, fine. But after you do and you cause harm to someone, well be a man. Apologize. Colletti’s a douche. Screw him.

    • scatterbrian - Feb 27, 2011 at 1:25 PM

      @cur68 No kidding. There were reports later that said Colletti had talked to Kemp, and that Kemp was over it. But even if that’s true, it’s not enough. He should have gone back to the media and stated his disappointment was with the team as a whole, not any one in particular.

      And a correction from before: Colletti actually vented after they lost a double-header to the Mets that day, and the Dodgers were 8-12.

  2. BC - Feb 26, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    It is a miracle or is it Wonkavision?

  3. BC - Feb 26, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    I had a post fail. There should be something popping up here soon. My conclusion was, don’t assume a player is dogging it unless you see a series of incidents like Hanley Ramirez’s last year. Race shouldn’t be considered – I think “dogging it” versus “man I’m having an awful year” is proportionate across the game.

  4. BC - Feb 26, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    And another one. The main reason Bobby Jenks is no longer a White Sox is he was deemed to be “lazy and out of shape”. Or however colorfully Ozzie Guillen put it.

  5. Brian Murphy - Feb 26, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Uh-oh. Now he’s playing too hard! He’s going to get himself hurt!


  6. Jonny 5 - Feb 26, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    I like when Dodgers dog it. So I’ll consider this bad news….

  7. pastyrasta - Mar 2, 2011 at 1:55 AM

    GREAT article. Love to hear the work Kemp has been doing with the great Davey Lopes, who is back where he belongs in Dodger Blue, is paying off. Now if Jerry Sands can keep hitting HR’s and make the Dodgers keep him as their Left Fielder!!!

    Spring is very near!!!

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