The Oakland A’s are closing out their season at the bottom of the standings with an overhaul of changes coming in the offseason, including a new location for games next season.
Another change could be a roster without Tony Kemp on it.
The talented MLBbro most likely played his last home game of the season on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers, but he left the fans with something to remember him by, displaying the character that the fans of Oakland have grown to love and respect.
While suffering from a sprained ankle last Friday night, Kemp was held out of the starting lineup. However, in the ninth inning, Kemp came out to pinch hit with a runner on second to create the magic of Stephen Vogt’s home run in his last at bat in Oakland Coliseum…
It didn’t work out as well for Tony as he struck out. But the fact that wanted to he wanted to make the effort illustrates the professional the A’s were lucky to have these last few seasons.
“I kind of had a different outcome in my head like a Stephen Vogt homer,” Kemp said with a laugh. “It didn’t end how I wanted, but these last four years, I have no regrets of how I played. … It’s been a great journey. I don’t know what’s going to happen next year, but I think I can look back on my time here and hold my head high for sure.”
“I for sure just wanted to at least go out there to see if I could give one more at-bat. If it’s my last time throwing on that home white, green and gold, then I was gonna do it and try to obviously get an at-bat. I’m happy they listened to me. “ I don’t think they really wanted me out there, but I kinda forced my way onto the field.”
TK will be happy to know that the feeling was mutual to get that last chance. A’s manager, Mark Kotsay made his feelings about Kemp getting a final opportunity in front of the home crowd.
“I wanted to get Tony in,” Kotsay said. “There’s a high probability that Tony won’t be back with us next year. Being that this was the last home game, the opportunity presented itself and the situation was right with a big at-bat in the ninth inning. … It was fun to see and fun to watch.”
Whether Tony Kemp comes back and dons an A’s uniform, he will be missed in the locker room. He has been the blueprint of leadership on a team that has been mired in turmoil all season long. In his last home game, the loss tied a team record for losses with 108 (Back in 1977) since moving the franchise to Oakland in 1968.
With a roster full of young prospects in the clubhouse, Kemp’s invaluable guidance and the way he conducted himself during his own adversity is what baseball is all about.
But if you think his teammates and coaches are going to miss him, it will pale in comparison to the community at large. MLBbro.com has followed Kemp’s work the last couple of seasons on how he has served the Oakland community.
He recently collected his fourth straight Dave Stewart Community Service Award.
Tony Kemp has partnered with Players for the Planet and One Tree Planted and “has pledged to plant 100 trees in urban communities for every stolen base and extra-base hit which he records throughout the season. To culminate the season-long initiative, Tony will participate in a community tree-planting event this September.”
Five MLBbros were recently nominated for one of the most prestigious honors in baseball, the Roberto Clemente Award.
This award annually recognizes “the player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field,” according to MLB.com.
5 Bros Nominated For Roberto Clemente Award
The nominees are Aaron Judge, Tony Kemp, Josiah Gray, Marcus Stroman, and Hunter Greene.
While these players have had success on the field, the work they have done off the field has not gone unnoticed.To even be mentioned as a nominee for this award just let’s you know that the MLB has a lot of respect for these players for the work they do off the field and in the community.
The last MLBbro to win this award was Curtis Granderson in 2016 when he was a member of the New York Mets. Fellow MLBbro Andrew McCutchen won the award a year prior with Pittsburgh.
Let’s take a look at each of these five MLBbros who were nominated and the work they’ve done throughout their career.
Judge has certainly evolved into one of the league’s top players and one of the best power hitters in the game.
Aside from his performance on the field, he is active in Brooklyn and his hometown of Linden, California.
His ALL RISE Foundation was created in 2018 and has helped more than 2,000 children in those communities. The organization has a mini-grant program that helps pay for registration and helps with transportation to leadership conferences.
He also holds baseball camps as well.
Kemp has played for multiple teams throughout his career, and he has still been able to find time to give back and support the community. He is on the Player’s Committee of the Player’s Alliance, and he also has supported numerous initiatives.
One in particular is the +1 Effect campaign, which aims to combat social injustice through individual campaigns.
Gray has wasted no time making an impact after joining the Washington Nationals in 2021. The all-star is the player ambassador to the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.
In that role he helps with fundraising efforts and serves as a mentor to the participants in the program. Gray has quickly become a fan favorite in the nation’s capital, and he’ll look to keep making an impact on and off the field.
Stroman has been a workhouse ever since he entered the league.
He’s a player who leaves it all out on the field when he plays and he makes sure to give that same energy off the field.
His Height Doesn’t Measure Heart foundation speaks volumes to who he is as a player and person.
Stroman’s foundation provides opportunities for young people facing adversity. No matter what team he’s playing for, he’s going to find a way to help make an impact in the community.
In his young MLB career, Greene has wasted no time being a face in the community. He holds an annual camp called the Hunter Greene Baseball Camp, and he also does cleat giveaways and has discussions with the youth.
When he has the time, Greene makes sure that he is giving back to the community any way he possibly can.
MLBbro.com is widely considered as the major leagues of Black and Brown baseball news coverage and analysis. Everything is covered from the best of times for our MLBbros to the worst. Sadly, on this occasion, there are two MLBbros that are currently going through the worst of times with horrible batting slumps.
Tony Kemp of the Oakland A’s and Trayce Thompson of the Los Angeles Dodgers both have an extended number of plate appearances without hits and one of them even has a unique twist to his struggle.
The peculiar thing about this MLBbro’s slump is that it shouldn’t come to a surprise to Tony or the Oakland A’s because… it was the same way last year! After starting the season in a massive slump, Kemp made some adjustments and finished out the season strong.
Just take a look at the comparisons.
First half stats:
Kemp started with a.203/.282./.264 hitting slash with only two homers and 14 RBI in 85 first-half games.
Second half stats:
Kemp improved his hitting slash to .278/.342/.426 with five homers and 32 RBI in his final 62 games played to finish out the season.
These slashes are comparable to his career-high numbers of .279/.382/.418 over 131 games in 2021.
How Did Tony Kemp Work Out Of Past Slumps?
Our MLBbro’s rise in production was connected to self-reflection and an overhaul of his routine during last year’s All-Star break as he started using video study of his swing.
“Everything in the cage, I completely threw out the window,” Kemp said.
“When I was striding, I could get off my back side and my hands would fire down into the hitting zone, which I wanted,” our MLBbro said. “ I started to create that backspin, do things I really wanted to do. I was able to really focus on working on the top part of the baseball. I’m not going to say I had a hard time with four seamers, but I had a better opportunity to succeed with how I was working.”
Fast forward to this year, Tony Kemp’s inability to get on base at times from the leadoff spot is at a historical low, particularly in day games.
Among qualified hitters, Tony Kemp’s 0-for-41 streak in day games is the longest such hitless streak to begin a season since 1906. Darwin Barney (2013) and Ray Mack (1943) began 0-for-25.
Tony Kemp set a record for futility to start a season by going hitless in 41 at bats during day games. At least, he’s taking it all in stride and hasn’t lost his confidence. Because with his benching over the past weekend and the likelihood that he’ll lose his starting position, he’s going to need it.
The A’s have a trio of young players threatening to supplant Kemp; Andrew Hearney, Aledmys Diaz just came off the DL and rookie Jordan Diaz continues to improve. Kemp could be the odd man out.
For now, we hope this is just a terrible stretch and in the season’s second half or sooner, Kemp can recreate the magic from his video study and make some more adjustments.
Our MLBbro has become the poster boy illustrating the saying… ”Relax and enjoy the moment.”
In Trayce’s first game of the season, he got the Dodgers fan base rocking when he crushed a grand slam in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Was he finished? Not by a long shot and I mean a LONG shot!
In the fifth inning, our MLBbro deposited a three-run shot into the left field seats to put the game away for an opening night win. But Thompson, whose brother Klay is known for splashing threes for the Golden State Warriors, had a three-pointer of his own…
Where Did Trayce Thompson’s Production Go Since Three-Homer Game?
After this magical opening night, Trayce Thompson’s production has virtually evaporated at the plate and hasn’t had a hit since April 17th.
Here’s Thompson’s Struggles By The Numbers
Trayce has only hit one homer since opening night.
Through May 22nd, Thompson has a hitless streak through 38 at bats which is tied for the longest streak by a non-pitcher in Dodgers history.
His batting average is .109. It’s the second worst mark in baseball among hitters with at least 70 plate appearances.
With a strikeout percentage of 43.6 percent of his trips to the plate, our MLBbro has the highest rate in the National League.
Against lefties, Thompson has only two hits in 36 plate appearances.
Thompson’s struggles contribute to the team’s overall struggles against left-handed pitching. The Dodgers rank 20th in OPS (.729) and last in batting average (.205).
His struggles are not from the lack of hard work. His mental toughness will keep him from falling into the pitfalls that gave the Dodgers no choice but to release him years ago.
“I’ve learned what not to do,” he told The LA Times. “In 2018, 17, I feel that I let circumstances get to me, as opposed to looking in the mirror and being like, ’What can I do to get better for myself and the team?’ ”
“You’re gonna have stretches where you’re not good,” he added. “Everyone goes through it. But you’ve got to prepare each day like it’s a new day, be optimistic. Have that perspective of, ‘I’m due,’ as opposed to woe is me.”
The good news for these MLBbros is the baseball season is long and there is time to turn things around. The bad news is time might be running out and these slumps could lead them to be designated for assignment.
The Oakland Athletics have struggled at the start of the 2023 season. And to make things better, it was announced that the team will be moving to Las Vegas in the near future. Tony Kemp is in his fourth season with the A’s and our MLBbro had a rough start to the season. During the month of April, he had a span where he went 0-for-23.
It’s a tough feeling when you go multiple games without a hit, and it just keeps happening. But for Kemp, he doesn’t let that phase him one bit.
He’s going to continue to step out on that field day in and day out and give it his all. That’s the type of player you want to have on your team and it’s a big reason why Kemp continues to play. Kemp ended his 0-for-23 streak by launching his first home run of the season on April 21 against the Texas Rangers.
When you’re struggling at the plate, all you can do is keep swinging. And that’s exactly what Kemp did when he belted that home run to right field. Through 23 games, he’s hitting .167 with two doubles and seven RBI. This brother has been in the league since 2016 and he’s played on winning teams, so he knows what success looks like.
When he joined the team in 2020 during the shortened season, the A’s made it to the American League Division Series and lost to the Houston Astros 3-1.
The next season the A’s finished with a winning record but failed to make the postseason. Last season was one to forget for Oakland as they finished 42 games below .500. And it looks like the struggles have carried onto this season for the A’s, but players like Kemp aren’t giving up.
Kemp Knows How To Make An Impact No Matter What Team He Is On
When Kemp first entered the league, he had the opportunity to be a part of a Houston Astros team that went on to win a World Series. Being a part of a World Series team in your second season is something that you won’t forget and that success is contagious. Kemp was a part of a winning culture during his brief time in Houston and was a vital player on the field and in the clubhouse.
Fast forward to the present and Kemp has that experience and winning tradition that he brings to Oakland. The 31-year-old was born to be a leader. Listed at 5-foot-6, Kemp has had to work 10 times harder to make sure he got his shot to play at the next level. And all he needed was an opportunity and he got that. The way he plays and carries himself is commendable and he’s a good example of what a team player looks like.
You better believe that as the season continues, Kemp is going to keep playing hard and show why he’s a key player on this A’s team. Even if Oakland finishes last in the division, Kemp will go out there and play each game like it’s his last.