Matt Kemp is having a rough season, and even if you haven’t watched him this season you might be able to see it on the spreadsheets. -1.0 fWAR is 3rd worst of all 171 qualified hitters, his wRC+ (77) is tied with Yunel Escobar and just below Yuniesky Betancourt (who has come back down to the earth his abilities live on). His .277 wOBA is 151st. To give you an idea of what he did in his should’ve-been-MVP season in 2010, he had an 8.4 fWAR, 168 wRC+, and a .413 wOBA. That’s the Matt Kemp we’ve come to expect, but a crash in Colorado last year has changed things and Kemp’s shoulder flexibility has become limited. Dodger fans have turned on their star and are making it rain with the boos, and Kemp has made it known that he’s not all that thrilled with it:
“It felt like I was in AT&T Park…I’m taking a beating from the fans…It’s disappointing to get booed by our own fans, even shocking.”
Chad Moriyama has been the leader of the charge against booing Kemp/their own players, and his timeline has basically been that recently since there’s been so much booing lately. I applaud his efforts, because as you judged by the article title, I agree with his stance on the matter. I will echo what he has said before in this sentence: fans have the right to do and say what they want, but booing your own player is stupid. I don’t understand why those booing expect an under-performer to either all of a sudden recover their past abilities or inspire them to work harder for their team. Kemp has a huge contract, for sure, and he is expected to be a star, but what will booing accomplish, besides letting out your frustrations? (Clearly, I also care not for those frustrations being exhibited in a “boo.”)
Nobody should be kidding themselves that this is a new thing only happening between the Dodgers and Kemp, I mean, you could tune to the ALCS last year for games at Yankee Stadium and tell me what you hear.
Booing your own player for their not performing to your expectations is ridiculous. It’s a tradition that will live on, I know. There are other ways to express frustration, though the message will be slower to reach those that make the decisions, although its not like the journalists that cover baseball are blind to things like that. It wouldn’t hurt the fans to think about the reason for a player’s lack of success and start calling for change. Until then, those fans just look like people that will say whatever comes to their minds first, not thinking about the consequences or rationale of whatever it is they say and/or are about to say. Who really listens to the opinions of those people anyway?