Molly Knight this week gives us an ESPN the Magazine cover story on Matt Kemp that begins with the moment he re-injured his hamstring: “The harder the game treats him, the more he respects it, cares about it — and the better he plays.”
It’s a terrific story, and the only issue I take with it is a nitpicky one about its micro-analysis of how Kemp reacted to his latest injury. I can only speak for myself, but I’m surprised by the idea that at this moment, people were making judgments about Kemp’s demeanor — whether “placid, seemingly indifferent” in the immediate aftermath or “a guy whose talent is as raw as his composure is unformed” as he digested the severity.
Doubts about Kemp’s attitude were resolved before May 30, and I think the prevailing concern was just whether this player who had reached the pinnacle of his game — mentally as well as in terms of performance — was going to be lost again to injury. By this time, I believe, Kemp had won all but the most reactionary critics over.
Perhaps I’m wrong. Either way, the story offers insight on Kemp that you haven’t seen elsewhere, so give it a read.