Monday, July 9, 2012

Home Run Derby: Matt Kemp Always will be Petty; Braun Always Better

I hate to break it to you Matt Kemp, but your petty, childish temper tantrum doesn’t change anything. National League home run leader Ryan Braun is better than you. I’d like to say he’s a better man thanks to the classy way he responded when asked about this nonsense, but it is impossible for one man to know what’s in another’s heart…or head.

What I do know is that, while you are extending your pout over Braun’s 2011 National League Most Valuable Player Award to a bizarre selection of a sans Braun Home Run Derby roster, the reigning MVP took the high road when asked if you’d approached him about being on the National League’s Derby team.

According to Bleacher Report, when asked, Braun’s reply was, “I’m just excited to watch it.”

Not too tough to translate that.

As captain of the National League Home Run Derby team it is Kemp’s right to select any player to be on the team for any reason. However, rather than wonder why Kemp did what he did, let us return to the premise of the post and take a look at the two careers. Following are the seasonal, 162-game averages, according to, of each player’s performance since they entered the big leagues. Kemp’s rookie year was 2006 and Braun’s was 2007.

Hits: Braun, 199; Kemp, 174  
Doubles: Braun 40, Kemp, 29  
Triples: Braun 6, Kemp, 6  
Home Runs: Braun 37, Kemp, 28
Batting Average: Braun, .311; Kemp, .296  
On-Base Perecentage: Braun, .373; Kemp, .354  
Slugging Percentage: Braun, .566; Kemp, .505  
OPS (On-Base Plus Slugging Percentage): Braun, .939; Kemp, .859  
Total Bases: Braun, 361, Kemp, 129

Braun’s better. Nothing Kemp ever does or doesn’t do will change that.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Braun didn't want to be in it and if he did Kemp would have picked him. You do realize Kemp and Braun are friends and work out together in the off season. Kemp has always stated publicly that he was fine with Braun winning the MVP or at least as much as one can be. This is a terribly erroneous article...

    1. Thanks for your comment. The main point of the piece was that, in my opinion, Braun is a better player than Kemp. At no point does the story say that Braun and Kemp are or are not friends. Your point that Braun didn't want to be in the HR Derby is, quite simply, FALSE. All of the local media that covers the Brewers has stated repeatedly that Braun was never asked and the notion that he didn't want to be in the Derby is not true.

      Kemp's assertion that he "heard through the grapevine" that Braun didn't want to be in the Derby is nothing but a fairly feeble attempt to give himself some cover. And it really didn't help his credibility.

      This is an opinion piece and therefore cannot be erroneous. The only thing that is erroneous is the idea that Braun didn't want to be in the competition. There is no evidence to support this. If you find any, other than Kemp's comments, please share them with me. If it is credible evidence I will publicly recant.



  3. "At no point does the story say that Braun and Kemp are or are not friends"

    Well you implied that he was throwing a temper tantrum out of jealousy to spite Braun. I'm saying he(Kemp) wouldn't do that to his friend someone who he's always been supportive of publicly. Their is a mutual respect between the two of them a fact they've not hidden. In fact Kemp has gone out of his way to express his support for Braun, something he never had to do. Why after doing all that would he change course over something as trivial as the home run derby?

    "That he supported me spoke volumes about his character, for who he is, for what he represents, I think, at this point, he is almost becoming the face of baseball. His opinion is relevant to me. It's relevant to everybody. The fact that he supported me really meant the world to me then, and it continues to mean a lot to me today,” Braun said.

    Prior to the ruling Kemp was quoted as saying the following:
    "Nobody's proven anything, man" Kemp said. "We don't know anything." Kemp called Braun a "good dude" and also asserted "that's my homie."

    As to Braun not wanting to be derby he was quoted as saying. “I don’t think I’ve ever really been nervous when I’ve stepped on a baseball field other than that,” Braun said. “More so than the postseason, more so than when I first got to the major leagues.”“That day I remember being exhausted mentally, and emotionally it’s draining, too,” Braun said. “It’s just a different experience, and I just remember it took a lot out of me.
    “The All-Star experience is amazing but it’s nice to come back rejuvenated.”

    Doesn't sound like a guy whose chapped about not getting selected to me. Finally, and probably most importantly Braun has been in the ASG 5 times now and participated in the derby once in 5 years. Since his home run production was sufficient in each of those years to merit his participation in the derby it's fairly clear it's been his choice to not compete.

    Sure it's a good story to show righteous indignation about Brauns snub but it's just not accurate; furthermore, you are dragging Kemp's name through the mud in the process. Kemp is one of the best character guys in baseball don't beat him up over something that is mere speculation, he doesn't deserve it and Braun wouldn't stand for it either.

    1. Thanks again for the comments. They are good, well-made points. The opinion I'm expressing here is not new or singular to me. It's a pretty widely-held, albeit speculative, view around here. I've spent nearly 30 years working with and in the media, a significant part of it with professional athletes, both as a reporter, columnist and PR guy. I have seen many athletes come up with lame answers to questions they didn't want to answer. Kemp's response sounded like one of those. It's just an opinion. That's all it is.