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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Matt Kemp's spontaneous act of caring

By Mark Saxon

LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp woke up Tuesday morning, grabbed his phone and saw that it was jammed with text messages from friends and relatives.

"I thought, 'What happened?' I hope it's nothing bad," Kemp said.

It was far from bad.

In fact, what appeared to be an act of genuine, spontaneous decency by the Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder might spread a ripple of positive energy that can ignite Kemp's listless bat. Regardless, it was a gesture that already has earned him good will around the Web.

The Dodgers had just gotten swept by the San Francisco Giants on Sunday when Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach asked Kemp to come greet a young Dodgers fan sitting in field-level seats. Kemp shakes some hands. He signs a ball, then hands the young fan his cap. Then, he hands him his jersey. Then, he unties his cleats, kicks them off and hands him those, too.

The episode was caught on camera and posted to YouTube and has been picked up by media outlets throughout the country.

Kemp said the child's father had approached Wallach and told him that his son is battling cancer and that he had less than two months to live.

"I didn't plan on taking my jersey off. It was just something I felt would have probably cheered him up a little bit, helped him out a little bit. I just did it," Kemp said. "I think life is so much bigger than baseball. We just got swept by the Giants, but that's something I felt I needed to do and I'm glad I got to do that. Hopefully, that made the kid's day."