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As a Giants fan, it's been an unpleasant development, but as a baseball fan, it's been reassuring because it proves that nobody is above the humbling influence of the game. Some guys fight it and it destroys them. Others, like Kemp, embrace it and you can see the results.
That influence is something that no other sport can offer.
You must be a better athlete to play in the National Football League or the National Basketball Association, but there is simply nothing more difficult than hitting a baseball—period. Centering a round ball on a round bat is hard enough, but doing so while the ball is traveling 90-plus mph or bobbing and weaving like Lenny Dykstra on a bender?
Good luck. And if that's all you've got, you'll need a lot of it.
Hitting a baseball at The Show is so hard that failing three of five times over 162 games is considered superhuman. Coming up empty in seven out of 10 at-bats over the course of a career makes you a Hall of Famer.
Complete 30 to 40 percent of your throws as a quarterback, catch 30 to 40 percent of your passes as a wide receiver or make 30 to 40 percent of your field goals in the Association—and you'll be cut. Quickly.
Consequently, baseball teaches humility because it requires humility.
It forces the trait on even its finest practitioners with ground balls that stay down and shoot through the Gold Glover's legs for no other reason than the winning run was on third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Or with 0-for-40 slumps in the dog days of August when the hometown fans would boo their own grandmothers for not leaning into a fastball.
Or with the ultimate attitude adjustment: a 95 mph heater to the ribs.