Former Midwest City star Matt Kemp has packed a lot of life experience into his 23 years.
As a Bomber, Kemp helped Midwest City to a state championship in basketball, but he also saw two teammates, Shelden Williams and De'Angelo Alexander, investigated on charges of sexual assault. Kemp was also questioned by police as a witness. Charges were never filed, but it's an experience that sticks with Kemp to this day.
In his debut year with the Dodgers, Kemp hit .342 last season. He talks about life in LA, trade rumors and his feud with teammate Jeff Kent. Through it all, Kemp has called on his Oklahoma roots to stay grounded.
I really didn't know that I wanted to play baseball until I got to rookie ball
. My first year in rookie ball I wasn't into playing baseball. I wanted to go back home and play basketball. I didn't know if I made the right decision, but I stuck with it and it's something I really grew to love and I'll never regret.
Getting into a groove just happens.
The ball looks like a beach ball. I'm not going to say it's easy, but things just happen. When you get in that groove, you don't want to get out of it. Sometimes you can feel yourself getting out of it, but working before games in the cage is important.
It didn't take too long to get used to LA.
There are always people coming into the locker room. Adam Sandler.... I've seen Toby Keith a million times. You kind of get used to it after awhile. You see a lot of movie stars at the games. There's not really one guy that I wanted to meet. I've met a lot of baseball players that I've wanted to meet. Barry Bonds and Ozzie Smith. I don't get too star struck. I get star struck from players I watched growing up.
Things happen. You could be in the wrong places at the wrong time.
It was an unfortunate situation. Nothing happened. You learn you have to be careful. Somebody could take all your accomplishments away from you by saying something that's not true. You have to be careful. It's a dangerous world.
Money is another thing.
You get paid pretty good being in the big leagues.