2012 Home Run Derby Contestants: Why Matt Kemp Should Not Participate in Contest
Matt Kemp is one of the best young players in baseball. But for the benefit of his future, he should not participate in the 2012 Home Run Derby.
Due to a hamstring injury, the Los Angeles Dodgers star has not played in a game since May 30th. In the past two months, he has played a little more than one game. Still, Kemp seems to believe it is a good idea to participate in an exhibition and risk further injury.
Admittedly, the Home Run Derby is not the most strenuous of activities. As Kemp argued, via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, "it's just like taking batting practice, which I've been doing for the past three weeks. So I'm ready for that."
However, swinging the bat uses the entire body, and participating in the event is a risk that is not worth taking.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are currently in first place, but they are fourth in their division in runs scored. The team is holding on to a narrow lead over the San Francisco Giants, and they need all the help they can get. Fortunately, the return of their best player should be a huge addition as the team tries to reach the playoffs.
The problem happens when that player thinks it is more important to participate in a meaningless competition than save himself for games. Kemp is sending a message to the fans that he cares more about glorifying himself than helping his team.
Maybe he wants to improve upon his poor performance from last season. The outfielder only hit two home runs in the Derby and was eliminated in the first round. Maybe he wants to put on a good show for the fans across the nation.
Instead, Kemp should be thinking about his hometown fans, the ones that indirectly pay his eight-figure salary. What will he say to those people if he swings too hard for a long shot and comes up limping?
The Home Run Derby is already risky for players. Quality outings by David Wright and Bobby Abreu were followed by power outages for the rest of the season after the event disrupted their swings.
Matt Kemp is capable of amazing things on the baseball field. He was one home run away from a 40-40 season last year, and he is a Triple Crown threat every year. Now he needs to just stay healthy to have success in the playoffs.
In reality, this is what he should be focusing on instead of the Home Run Derby.
Home Run Derby Contestants:
Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies
Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals
Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers
Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels
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