AP Photo/Danny Moloshok
First two words that pop into your allerative head with describing the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp?
Alphabetically, potential and perplexing rank below heart and hustle, but they can easily be transposed.
The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association begs to differ.
That group, according to a press release that landed in the in-box, is “pleased to announce” that Kemp is the winner of the Dodgers’ “Heart and Hustle Award,” which will be presented to him by Maury Wills in a pregame ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 4.
Directly, again, from the MLBPAA press release about how they will honor Kemp:
“This esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit, and tradition of the game. The MLBPAA formed 30 committees, comprised of Alumni players with established relationships to each team. One player from each Major League team is chosen by the committees based on the passion, desire, and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field. These players will be recognized prior to an upcoming home game. As the season draws to a close, all Alumni and active players will vote to select the final winner from the 30 team winners. The previous overall winners are David Eckstein (2005), Craig Biggio (2006, 2007), Grady Sizemore (2008), and Albert Pujols (2009).”
The final winner will be announced Nov. 5 at the 11th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York.
Please, let it be Kemp.
We come not to bash him, but …
Did you see him the other night in Milwaukee square around to bunt, flinch backward, have the ball hit the bat and actually put the bunt down, but Kemp took one step toward first, apparently felt stupid, and didn’t run it out while the pitcher fielded the ball, then threw to first to record the out. Not that the pitcher could have overthrown it and allowed Kemp the free base. It was too late. Kemp had already picked up his helmet, felt embarassed, and was talking back to the dugout.
The next night: Kemp, in the batter’s box, decides the pitcher has taken too long to deliver the pitch, so he waves to the ump to call time, then steps out of the box. The umpire takes some offense to this. And takes his mask off. He explains to Kemp: You can request the time out, but I have to grant it. If the pitcher stops like he just did, that’s a balk, because I never called time out. Understand? After Kemp flied out — recording a sacrifice fly in the process — he had words again with the ump on the way back, leading to Joe Torre to come out and discuss the situation.
Oh, and Kemp homered in the game to give the Dodgers the lead. The ball, in fact, lodged in the center-field scoreboard:
AP Photo/Morry Gash
The love of HRs conquers all.
== More on the MLBPAA: www.baseballalumni.com.