This morning, former All-Star OF Matt Kemp took to the Players Tribute to talk about his new home and childhood team: the Atlanta Braves.
The Major League Baseball trading deadline usually sucks for whatever players are being traded, but not Matt Kemp. Last night, Kemp was traded from the San Diego Padres to the Atlanta Braves; Kemp, who grew up idolizing the Atlanta Braves, was elated upon hearing the news.
Aside from giving the Braves a much needed offensive boost– Kemp has 23 HR and 69 RBI through 100 games this season– the addition of Matt Kemp means much, much more. It is not often that players have the chance to play for their childhood team; Kemp, who grew up in Oklahoma, has been a Braves fan since he was 10 years old.
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This morning the Player’s Tribune, which is an online newspaper (founded by Derek Jeter) which allows athletes to write posts directly to fans, posted Kemp’s newest article: “Hello Atlanta.” For any Braves fan, I highly recommend it.
In Kemp’s article, he talks about how he has needed this trade to take place to help breathe life back into his career (which, by no means, has been lackluster). Poignantly, he states:
"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."
There is no doubt that Kemp will do his very best to help the last place Atlanta Braves succeed. But this trade is also important for a different reason; the Braves were able to escape the contract of Cuban signing Hector Olivera.
Earlier this year, after Olivera had been found guilty under MLB’s Domestic Abuse policy; he was currently serving an 82 game suspension as a result of his actions. The trade for Kemp allowed the Braves to ditch Olivera; who they have wanted to rid themselves of since the allegations of Domestic Violence were levied. Understandably, the Padres immediately designated Olivera for assignment as they do not want any part of his previous behavior; he will now either be released, claimed off of waivers, or sent to the minor leagues.
From where I sit, the Atlanta Braves are a better team today, on a deeper level than just baseball.