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The Matt Kemp enigma continued: Dodgers coaches, agent Dave Stewart talk, kiss, spew, make up

Love, love, love. … Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game. It's easy.

Then again, maybe not. Not even when everybody claims to have the same interest in mind -- making Matt Kemp the best player he can be.

Still, Kemp’s agent, Dave Stewart, went off on the Dodgers’ coaches in a column by The Times' Bill Plaschke, saying he was tired of them criticizing the outfielder and that it felt like "open season on Matt."

This was a curious reaction, and bit of odd timing on Stewart’s part. Understand, it's his job is to look out for his client, to support him, coddle him if necessary, and get him the biggest, fattest contract possible.

Stewart was upset with Dodgers coaches Bob Schaefer and Larry Bowa for ripping Kemp in the media this season. Which was interesting since Schaefer has never never publicly criticized Kemp. And Bowa has once, two weeks ago, to Times columnist T.J. Simers, saying that Kemp doesn’t always play hard. To which Kemp completely agreed.

Yet Stewart was so irate over perceived slights to Kemp that he even suggested to Plaschke that the Dodgers might trade their young center fielder.

"I'm almost to the point -- and maybe so are the Dodgers -- where I'm thinking that this just isn't going to work," Stewart said. "The Dodgers have gaps on this team, and maybe they could fill them by trading Matt. It could be good for the team, and good for the player."

Like that’s going to happen. One, Kemp loves L.A., loves the Hollywood scene and wants to become a superstar here. And two, the Dodgers aren’t about to trade away someone as talented as the 25-year-old Kemp, no matter how often he frustrates them.

After the Plaschke column was published, both coaches talked to Stewart late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

"We had a good talk," Schaefer told reporters in Atlanta. "I’ve got a job to do and has a job to do. My job is to make players better.

"It’s up to the player to make himself better with our guidance."

Schaefer had confronted Kemp in the dugout earlier this season after the outfielder failed yet again to back up second base on a stolen-base attempt. Kemp reacted angrily and was benched for the next three games.

Schaefer, however, never said he was the coach who confronted Kemp and never has commented on the incident.

"I didn’t appreciate [Stewart] saying I made bad comments, because I didn’t," Schaefer said. "It’s not a big story."

Said Stewart to Times beat writer Dylan Hernandez: "If I’m mistaken, I apologize."

As might be expected, Stewart had a longer conversation with the fiery Bowa. These are two emotional guys anyway. Bowa said they talked on the phone from 2:30 a.m. to 4 a.m., so it’s probably safe to assume it wasn’t always hugs and kisses, though both termed it a good conversation.

Bowa was upset that Stewart had complained to Plaschke about "all this external crap coming from Schaefer and Bowa. … When Larry Bowa played, he would never accept a coach talking about him in the newspaper like that, but they want to Matt to accept it?"

Bowa told reporters in Atlanta that "Dallas Green got in my face more than any human being alive" when Green was the Phillies' manager.

Even in the Simers column, Bowa praised Kemp’s talent.

"Did you read it? I said he had Hall of Fame tools."

Kemp, not surprisingly, had nothing to say Friday about the latest furor surrounding him.

"I ain’t getting into none of that, man," Kemp said.

Stewart, however, had more to say to Hernandez.

"We all have the same wants for Matt," Stewart said. "We’re not working against each other.

"We’re working in different ways. Their points were clearly taken."

Stewart still seemed irked to read about his player being criticized in the media, despite it having happened just once. I’ve criticized him, plenty of people have left comments here and elsewhere criticizing Kemp. The coaching staff has remained amazingly constrained.

"I don’t know why I read about my guy and they’re having private conversations with everybody else," Stewart said. "I don’t think that’s going to get it done, trashing him publicly."

The only other time Kemp was trashed publicly by the Dodgers, it was by General Manager Ned Colletti early in the season. And Stewart said that was put behind them.

So it’s kind of odd that Stewart went off now. It seemed more a reaction to Kemp getting benched for two games this week, though he never complained about Manager Joe Torre.

"Something different has to happen," Stewart said. "When you look at this season, you see how much the media has been used to explain to Matt what could have been said to him privately."

Say what? Not sure how the media has been used, but certainly if the Dodgers have a problem with the uber-talented Kemp’s inconsistent focus, they should talk to him. And they do.

Stewart backtracked slightly when talking to Hernandez about Kemp possibly needing a trade.

"Matt doesn’t want to play elsewhere," he said. "But I also would say that if a time comes when Matt can’t continue to grow, be himself and show his skills, then you have to take a look at the other alternatives."

Hopefully by "be himself" he doesn’t mean floating in and out of games. Kemp needs to play sharper, more intense, more consistent baseball. Pretty sure everyone can agree on that.

Now to move forward. Which figures to be interesting, because with Kemp, it always seems to work that way.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Comments () | Archives (22)

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Kemp - prima dona. Whatever.

Meanwhile, another shut out. What's that? 14?

You get what you pay for.

The only good thing going for Kemp...He can go under Rihanna's Umbrella.

I second what Stewart is saying he shld consider playing elsewhere where he can get more support from coaches to grow he is really talented after all he is contributing more to hs team 19 homeruns, 67rbis(ofcourse he is hitting .262) even A-rod is hitting.260. @mattkemp & @DaveStewart its a good idea for matt to play somewhere else

Joe Torre has basically been calling him an idiot for two years now. Every single time he does something wrong, it's an event to the coaching staff. GM called him out. Bench coach (you know it was him) called him out. Larry Bowa called him out., that's not normal.

Scott Podsednik is the tying run on first in the 9th and gets picked off but nobody cares. Double standards, lol.

Larry Bowa said that if he had Matt Kemp's tools, then he would be in the HOF. He propped himself up and tried to say the only reason Matt Kemp wasn't on his way to Cooperstown is because he doesn't care. What a joke.

Don't try to spin that like Larry Bowa was complimenting him. He was slapping him in the face. Cool spin by Bowa though. Veteran leadership.

All talk by the coaching staff yet again. Matt Kemp hasn't said a damn word.

Who is supposed to be unprofessional and immature again?

Dave Stewart is just another Scott Boras wannabe...who ain't ever gonna just let him be.

Yeah, I heard this all today on 7:10 radio. Dave Stewart said that the Dodger coaching staff should take a "Different" approach to Matt Kemp. O.K., this is exactly why today's modern athlete is so spoiled. When I screw up at work, they come down on me with no hesitation. I'm pissed, but I respond. BIG BUCKS, BIG CRY BABY! Wah, Wah, as our economy goes to hell, we should be sympathetic
with all these amazing spoiled, egotistical, self-absorbing, Billionaire athletes.

You said it alan & this is precisely why McDork needs to sell & take Dread with him!

Then new ownership can start by trading Kemp, Martin, Blake, for a true slugging OF, either a catcher that can throw out runners or that can hit, & an Ace of a SP. If they can't pull this off, they need to just gut the starting team, except for Ethier, Lonely & Kershaw & bring up or in some prospects & grow from there.

Certain guys just cannot play in L.A. They can't hamdle the distractions and their games suffer greatly....anyone remember another 5-tool can't miss Dodger outfielder Raul Mondesi. We are watching a re-run of his rise and fall. Trade Kemp to a small market team for his own good and get some real pieces to make this team better for next year.

19 homers. 67 rbi, .267 bating average. Age 26. Los Angeles Dodgers 5 tool outfielder. Everyone respected his talent.

His name was Milton Bradley.

Oh come on Chad as your statements are simply not true!
I am the biggest critic of Dread Colletti ever since he signed JS to a 47 Mil deal; I have also been all over Joe no strategy Torre & his poor handling of this pitching staff. But I watch every singkle game, pre & post game shows, read the Times sports page as other Dodger sites & for you to allege they call out Kemp for every single thing he does, is just not true!
I was not upset at Podsednik's being aggressive last night as this team Dread has put together has to play small ball - one of my biggest issues with Joe, but Kemp makes so many mental errors, & that's what is frustrating.
And poor Matt had to sit out 2 games - good, as he had not been producing! I would also sit Blake, Ethier, any player who is just not in the game mentally or makes poor fundamental plays; I am eleated Martin is out - not hurt, but out as he just gets worse each & every year. I would move both him & Matt in a heartbeat, tho' wait until the offseason when competiton for at least Matt, increases, thereby bringing more in a trade. But it's clear, neither will live up to their full potential here in L.A. tho' I don't think Martin has much upside.
So rather than make up things, deal in what the facts are. It's fine you are a huge fan of Kemp's as we all have our faves, but don't let your impressions of him skew the facts, which are all clear for anyone to see & most people are finally coming around.
Below is a Post I made a few days ago in another posting:
I have said it after his first season on the big club - he is never going to be a superstar as long as he plays in L.A. & that Dread should trade him & a prospect or two & get a true Ace of a SP on this club. But the majority here & other boards were against me; well ?

Some players just need a change of scenery. & with Kemp I could see from the get go he has an attitude; don't recall now which player it was, but a player tried to give some advice to Kemp as they came off the field, then in the dugout & he had this look,. thios you-canm't-tell-me-anything-about-the-game, & he walked off mid sentence of the veteran speaking to him.

I have been on him for a few years not too about his horrible base running, his mental acuity ion the OF leaves a lot to be desired & he, takes far too many good pitches & still can't lay off that slider out of the strike zone.

With all his natural skills, he just can't put it all together & it's (past)time, Dread moves him, be it now, or the off season, but move him!

And I won't be upset if he finally lives up to his potential on another team, it happens, as long as Dread can get the stud SP we need.

I disagree Steve as he's exactly the player you want to trade! You get very little for little-talent players, but since Matt has a lot of natural ability & is still only 25, he could do very well in another ball park & he is primed to move in the offseason. Not in a wavier deal as they are several limited but after his contract comes due, there would be a lot of teams that would trade for him.
You could get a ot more in a trade involving Matt than if you offer up a journeyman.
Smoke, Matt has had several years of chances to grow, but he will never realize his full potential in a Dodger uniform. Also, SMoke only knows baseball & ask any employee in the real world, if they or fellow workers have ever been called in due to poor performance. & no, it is not publicized, yet our jobs are not of a media nature. & I think if Matt or anyone gets all the Pub when thiongs go good, deserve the same in return when they make game changing plays & for the millions, I think they can grow a pair & take it!
Balke for example, should have been singled out as was Broxton. It was clearly obvious except to the Manager, that JB was way off, so since Joe left him in, we had to hope for a ground pall to get two, & he got just that, but Blake cheated & got burned & birned the team as well. Fundamental baseball is not a strong point of these Dodger teams of late; You go down low & if the ball take a bounce, hits a seam, then it hits your chest, then you make the play! I am no fan or Martin, but his injury was due to poor fundamentals. Matt not backing up throws down to 2B as well as his well documented poor base running plays. Loney has made a few costly running errors as well.
This team has a lot, A LOT of work to do in the offseason, starting w/ the selling of this team & hiring of a qualified GM!

People need to shut it. It's between the coaches and Matt. Matt plays the third most important fielding position behind catcher and shortstop and plays it well. He uses his speed so well that gappers just look like jogging catches. He's going to hit around 25 homers and 100 rbi's, 25 steals and 100 runs. He wins a lot of games for us and he's only 25. People criticise him because of his Mays, Mantle, Snider like talent, but those were very special players. His expectations are so far beyond any Dodgers currently playing, we expect him to carry the team to the Series and that's unrealistic. Let's not forget this is his second year of starting. But here we are, instead of appreciating what he gives us, we are giving him reasons to leave and when he hits his prime in a couple of years, we'll miss out because of the idiots who follow weak writers like Simmers and Plasch. Writers who offer neither perspective or depth but only tabloid-like columns for the suckers.

I can remember when Matt Kemp was this talented kid who surprised you with his ability to keep working on his game and improve. He hit 7 homers almost instantly when he came up but then pitchers figured him out. The next year or two he re-emerged with good discipline and hitting the ball to right field, big OPS numbers in a part time roll. He developed into a gold glove center fielder. He seemed like a hard worker and a character guy, maybe a future leader.

What's the real story this year?

Hey reese & tk,
In your stats you failed to mention 122 K's in 116 games...Kemp (as in 'K') already set the record in '08 with his 'personal Dodger best' of 153 K's. Seems he's on his way to giving us a new record this year with his 'mysteriously ethereal' talents.

'Stewart & Kemp'...if this is a sign of what's ahead for this lovely couple....well, the Dodgers should, indeed, 'cave' (wink!) to their 'demands' of a trade and do so as 'demanded'...hehe. Better yet...send him to the Yankees...let's see how well he handles the media and fans there! (ouch!!)

But the Dodgers can actually wait 'til they can get a very good package of talent in return. Kemp's under contract through next there no deadline to trade him. There's no denying that Kemp will, indeed, have a few 'good' years (and 'K's) ahead of him as he matures.... a trade should, hypothetically, restock the farm system or produce a long-term (next level) pitching talent in return. It won't take much for a quality pitcher to strike out prima donna's like Kemp...and keep Stewart chirping.

Is Matt the only Dodger that isn't playin well? When Pod got caught stealing last night against Atlanta the first thought that came 2 mind was, if that was Matt Kemp who got picked off people would be killing him with all kinds of non sense criticism... but since it wasn't Matt nobody is sayin anything about that pick off. Why is he the only player who is being called out for not playin great? The whole team sucks this year, but to some of you it seems like Matt is the only one that sucks.

tk, I can't recall a lot of games he won for us, I can however, recall a few he singlehandedly lost. Sure he runs the balls down & has cuaght quite a few, yet he has also dropped several right in the pocket of his glove. On thisd current team, he & Martin are the last 2 I want up therer with the game on the line as they both fan much too much - they let the good pitches go by & the SP then has the advantage & usually kills them with the SLider, off the plate. He may steal 25 - I doubt it, but he's a 50/50 base stealer. He does not feel he has to back up 2B when there's a play there & for as much as he K's, he better hit 40-45 HR's a year, not 20-25! Will he have good games ? Sure he will; as he is talented, but to me, he leans a little towards liability than an asset - he may hit 20-23 HR's, but withy far too many K's, he may steal 20, but will get caught 17-20 & he's an average fielder, but his attitude is a liability.

Again, he will never be a "superstar" here in SoCal, as you & so many others have labeled him. And just maybe it's you & the others that put that pressure on him! I can recall so vividly, that here & on other forums, a large majority of fans werer saying he's a can't miss, a 5 tooler, a superstar, so maybe you are part of the problem with him, not the solution - I don't know, just saying'....

not at all kobe; I have been onm Kemp for 3 years now, been on Martin since last year, been on dread Colletti since he watsed his first 47 mil on JS, been on Joe all this & part of last season!
The difference between as I already pointed out is Podsednik was being aggressive as they wwere down 1 run & since we have no slugger on this team & since Jo-no strategy Torre rarely plays small ball, he tried to make something happen. Tho' Kemps SB percentage is a nightmare, at least he's trying. it's his mental mistakes that keep him from becoming an elite OF.

I bet if Kemp was picked off like Podsednik was yesterday in the 9th inning, there would be a whole article to bad mouth him... its a shame how Kemp is picked on constantly but no one said anything about Martin ALL season with his sub .250 one says anything about Casey Blakes lack of patience at the plate.... they finally had to admit that Broxton was underachieving.... no one on the dodgers is having an exceptional year, including Torre with his misuse of lets blame everyone as a whole and not just Kemp

Trading Matt Kemp would be a HUGE mistake. Is he a tad frustrating this year? Sure, a few outfield mistakes, lower stolen base percentage, the same baserunning errors(aggressive mistakes), lower batting average and going after that low and away slider. Who knows why this is happening? None of us, but we do know he has his head screwed on straight. The guy has never, ever got into any trouble. He's a nice fun loving guy with a clean nose. And he is a single guy with model good looks living in L.A., so trouble has certainly approached him, but he has rebuffed it. The bottom line though is Matt Kemp PRODUCES, he had better numbers than NL All Star outfielders, he's a budding superstar with the talent potential unlike we've EVER seen in L.A. in the past 15 years(and longer, maybe ever), has a consistent history of producing every year since 2006 with limited minor league experience. On top of all that, there is no one in the farm system that is close to his talent level, furthermore he is the best outfield prospect 25 and under with his history of consistent RESULTS. The Upton brothers are up and down, Chris Young is up and down, Matt Kemp gets it done year in and year out, just check his stats. We can buy an Ace, trading away a player with his talent and make-up would be a huge mistake(alot of money coming off the books, hopefully McCourt will invest it). Look fellow fans, allow him the time to develop and mature like a fine wine, he has already provided plenty of results, the superstar potential has provided that, his experience will help him fulfill the potential.

By the way, if Matt or someone he knows reads this, please tell him to bring back the fun loving spirit to the boys in blue. HAVE FUN, flash your smile bro.Maybe play MIA paper planes in the clubhouse again, or find a song to dance to after games, that's this teams identity, HAVING FUN and making the playoffs. I know it's hard with all the media and fan chatter and yip-yap, that's all just tiny barking neighborhood dogs, dismiss it and PLEEEEEEASE bring back the FUN LOVING ENERGY. BOYS IN BLUE still in this thing!!!

@ reese, I agree 100%, how's Kansas City? The only thing I can't believe is that Stewart hasn't thrown down the race card at this point. Stewart is a hot head and always has been, I would think that is the last thing you would want in representation.

This is funny....


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