In case you have not seen it yet, above is a video that went viral overnight. It shows Matt Kemp performing a spectacular act of kindness to a very special fan.
The video is touching by itself, without context. It shows Kemp signing a baseball for the kid. Then giving up his hat. Then his jersey. Then his right cleat. Then his left.
Richening the moment even further is the backstory that leads up to Kemp’s unprecedented generosity.
A boy and his father had front row seats for the Dodgers-Giants game Sunday night in San Francisco. The boy is in a wheelchair, is very sick, and is physically unable to speak. During the early innings of the game, his father struck up a conversation with Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach. At some point during the conversation, the father shared with Wallach that his son wasn’t just very sick – he was dying – and that his favorite player was Matt Kemp.
Later in the game, Wallach told Kemp about the boy. After making the final out of the game, Kemp cornered Wallach in the Dodgers dugout. He wanted to go see the boy.
That’s where the video begins, showing Wallach and Kemp walking toward the boy in the stands.
The thing is, the moment was never supposed to be filmed. The moment was one that was expected to be shared only between Kemp and the boy. In fact, Kemp was unaware the video even existed until he woke up this morning to find his phone had blown up with messages.
“It’s just something I felt probably would have cheered him up a little bit,” Kemp is quoted by Yahoo!’s Tim Brown as saying about Sunday night. “Help him out a little bit. I just did it. Hopefully that made the kid’s day. . . I don’t even know the kid’s name.”
Seeds All Day was hard on Matt Kemp for his conduct during and after the on-field brawl with the San Diego Padres in April (the same brawl that landed starter Zach Greinke on the disabled list). We thought came off as brash, hot-headed and immature. But we are big enough to admit when we have misjudged someone’s character.
Sunday’s overwhelming gesture shows that Kemp truly is one of the classiest, nicest guys in the game of baseball.