Green to Kemp: San Diego ‘is a baseball town’ – The San Diego Union-Tribune
Andy Green applauded Matt Kemp taking ownership of his reputation as a “selfish, lazy and bad teammate” as he prepared for a new chapter with the Atlanta Braves. The Padres’ rookie manager, however, took issue with Kemp telling reporters in Atlanta on Tuesday that he had “never really played in a baseball town before. I’m excited about that.”
“That one bothers me in the sense that they are going through some of the same things in Atlanta and there’s more people showing up here right now,” Green said before Tuesday’s game against the Brewers. “This is a baseball town. This is a baseball town that’s hungry for a winner and I understand that. I don’t think there’s going to be anything more gratifying than when we deliver that.”
Much further along in their rebuild than the salary-dumping Padres, the Braves are average 23,200 fans per game – 25th in the majors and well below the 16th-ranked Padres (28,910). In fact, approaching that number on a Monday night (24,009) against the reeling Brewers just hours after the trading deadline backed Green’s assertion that San Diego was a baseball town.
“We are where we are right now and it’s not fun from a fan perspective and understandably so,” Green said. “You wait a long time to have a winner on the field in San Diego, you pay money to come here and there’s still 20,000-something-plus fans that are here every day. We’re playing the Brewers on a Monday night after the trade deadline after a lot of our guys are gone and there’s still a good crowd cheering us on, with us every step of the way.”
Kemp’s comments as he joined the Braves as their new everyday left fielder come on the heels of penning an essay for The Players’ Tribune in which he took full responsibility for shortcomings that sullied his reputation in the game. Although much of it was unmerited, Kemp wrote, he told his new fanbase that “those days are gone.”
Green responded to Kemp’s essay Tuesday afternoon.
“I thought Matt Kemp every time he was on the baseball field for us played hard,” Green said. “I thought he posted every day in the sense that he did not want to come out of the lineup. He wanted to hit. He wanted to play. You got every last ounce of effort when a game was going on. I had no questions about his effort, no reservations about that.
“If he feels that some of those things were true of himself, then those are his own judgments of himself.”
Green added: “What you want is for people to take ownership of what they feel is true about themselves. If he feels that’s true at this point in time and he’s the person making those comments and taking ownership, then I applaud that on any level. I think all of us can get sidetracked and distracted and value things that aren’t as important as they are important, and that’s kind of the way he sees where he’s gone according to that article. I wish him well.”
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