Kemp appreciation week continues and rather than show off a ball today I thought I would do a photo for once with a personal twist.
I use this photo all the time to make the women at work and play jealous. I met Matt for the first time back in 2008 or 2009. I can't remember but either way it was before he became a superstar which made this my favorite meeting with him. To this day he is still nice and talkative to almost anyone and treats kids like gold which I admire as more and more players become distant as they become a bigger star.
The Upper Deck Retail store in Huntington Beach scheduled an autograph signing one Saturday afternoon in May of either 08/09 and since I never got a ball signed by him I went down to the store to get that handled. Which by the way I no longer have that ball. Gave it away as a gift. Arrived at the store about 30 minutes before his scheduled time and there were maybe 35-40 people in line. Can you imagine a line that small now? Nowadays its hundreds if not thousands. So I went in and paid for the autograph and Matt showed up on time and started signing immediately It took me no longer than 20 minutes to get up to the table and have him sign the ball. After I was done there were about 15-20 people behind me to get stuff signed. I glanced over and noticed standing in the corner was Dave Stewart who is his agent and happens to be a former Dodger. I ran over to my car to get another ball and he gladly signed it for me. More on that another day. After that I decided to just browse the shop and walk around. After everyone was taken care of, Matt had about 45 minutes left on his scheduled time and there was no one there except the me and the group I was with. We all went back to the table and talked to Matt for the remainder of his time. Multiple subjects were discussed from baseball to social topics to weather even. This is the appearance that made Matt Kemp my favorite player. He didn't have to talk to us but he did and we all had fun and enjoyed each other's company.
Before we left Matt was kind enough to take multiple pictures with all of us. For me this is my favorite as if you look close enough Matt has his arm around me. That is what drives the women crazy as I say " well has Matt touched you before? ". LOL. Great reactions all the time.
A year or so ago I decided to get the pictures I had taken with players to get them to sign them. I took this picture to a Dodger game one day last year and during his daily before game ritual down the left field box seats he was kind enough as always to sign for fans and I got this autographed. I think there are more people in that area every time than there were back at the Upper Deck store way back when. Got to see the man before he blew up on the scene and it was a great time.