Now I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting out of Jeff Kent today, but the emotion that came out of the future HOFer as he fought back tears was pretty surprising. Imagine the kind of clubhouse force the guy could have been if he had let his guard down like this amongst his teammates. From Plashke’s column in tomorrow’s paper:
So there was a heart in there after all.
Saying hello just in time to say goodbye.
“I hope it’s not a bad thing,” he said of his emotion.
It’s a sad thing, knowing now that he could have perhaps used some of this passion to have more impact as a leader. It’s a frustrating thing, to think of all those years that teammates and fans never really knew him.
But, in the end, perhaps, it’s an understandable thing, a man doing what he felt was necessary to stay tough in a game where six months of nightly public pressures can tear at even the strongest of souls.
“Jeff felt when he let his guard down, he lost his edge,” said his wife, Dana.
On Thursday, after 351 career homers, most ever for a second baseman, that guard came down.
I hope KLAC-AM pulls up some of the Jeff Kent imterviews from the old Simers/Rogan morning show during the Dodgers offseason. I swear that was the only time (other than today) that you heard the “real” Jeff Kent come out.
Now the real question is whether the baseball writers penalize him for being such a pain in the ass all of these years. I certainly hope not; in my mind, Jeff Kent is a first ballot Hall of Famer.