BOSTON – It’s true.
“Ask him,” Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp said before a team workout Monday at Fenway Park. “Ask Chris Paul who beat him in H-O-R-S-E last year during practice. Stroke. Butter.”
The annual media-availability sessions before the World Series are an odd spectacle: Players sit at tables spread around a room and spend the better part of an hour fielding questions from legions of reporters, on topics as general as whether they’re excited for the series – SPOILER ALERT: They are! – and as specific as what they learned from their Little League coach, for the journalist from their hometown paper. In the course of one minute, a guy might tell a local TV producer about how confident he is in his teammates and explain to a sabermetrically inclined blogger the advantages gained from his adjusted bat path.
And for certain media – this guy – the availability sessions offer a rare opportunity to ask postseason players dumb, fun questions about their teammates. Last year, I asked Houston Astros who they’d pick to survive a zombie apocalypse, but because the particulars of Boston’s infrastructure mean every single person within five miles of Fenway Park would undoubtedly wind up undead in that scenario, I instead challenged some members of the Los Angeles Dodgers to name the teammate they’d choose to play alongside in a two-on-two basketball game. But I did so without first considering that Kemp, an All-City selection while in high school in the Oklahoma City, is the pretty obvious choice.
“Matt is slow, man,” said longtime teammate Kenley Jansen, laughing. “Matt was good ten years ago. I’d still pick him, though. I’d pick him as my teammate. He could shoot. Back then, when he was 200 pounds lighter in Oklahoma, he could shoot.”
“Probably Kemp,” Justin Turner said. “Gotta have that big man in the paint. Kemp or Kenley. I don’t know if Kenley can shoot, though. He might shoot those cutters. I guarantee you no one said me.”
Kemp agreed that he’d be the best choice.
“I’d dominate everybody on this team,” he said. “Can’t nobody guard me. I’m too strong…. I’m versatile, bro. I can play all five positions. I’m a baller. Beast, bro. Straight beast.”
As evidence, Kemp cited beating the nine-time NBA All-Star Paul in H-O-R-S-E during a Rockets’ practice before a game against the Lakers in Los Angeles last year.
“Ask CP3,” he said. “I was giving him buckets.”
Matt Kemp (center) at a Los Angeles Clippers game in 2014. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)
Not every Dodger surveyed believed Kemp the best choice as a two-on-two partner. While Cody Bellinger and Alex Wood also picked Kemp, eliever Dylan Floro suggested that Bellinger and Chris Taylor have the type of footwork in baseball that probably translates well to the court, and Joc Pederson, after considering Kemp, settled on Manny Machado. Pederson has never seen Machado play, but plans to face him in one-on-one this offseason.
While Kemp thought about which teammate he’d best pair with, catcher Kyle Farmer chimed in from a neighboring table.
“I scored on the wrong goal in fourth grade,” Farmer said. “Don’t pick me.”
“I wouldn’t,” said Kemp. “Joc thinks he can play. I honestly don’t know. I’d go with a big guy, so I’d have to go with Kenley, just because he’d get all the rebounds and I’d score all the buckets.”
Kemp also answered several questions on the Lakers-Celtics rivalry that gave birth to the original “Beat L.A.” chants, joked about coming up in the VHS camcorder era – before YouTube dunk mixtapes existed – and discussed the way baseball players’ athleticism is often underestimated when compared to their peers in the NBA and NFL.
“But enough about basketball,” he said. “We’re here to play baseball.”
Maybe Jon Gruden knows what he’s doing after all
Gregg Popovich says it was ‘horrifying’ to see LeBron’s massive billboard outside his hotel
Lakers fans rip LeBron for late missed free throws by comparing him to Kobe Bryant
Booger McFarland rants about Odell Beckham Jr. not relieving himself in his pants
Derek Carr denies report that he cried during a game: ‘Not one tear. Not one time.’
Source: Read Full Article