Matt Kemp pledges $1,000 per home run to help Oklahoma … still can’t win with Twitter trolls

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

After a horrific tornado ripped apart Oklahoma City on Monday, killing 24 people and injuring 233 at last count, Los Angeles Dodgers star Matt Kemp proclaimed that he'd help relief efforts in Oklahoma with his bat and checkbook.

But here's the thing: Kemp, who is from nearby Midwest City, hit only his second home run of of the season on Monday. That's in 165 at-bats. Kemp makes $20 million this year from the Dodgers, as part of a $160 million contract he signed in 2011. It's easy to look at this all this and say Matt Kemp is being "cheap" — oh, and people have.

It didn't help matters when NBA star Kevin Durant, who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, donated a flat one million dollars on Tuesday.

Kemp is one of baseball's good guys. He doesn't get in trouble off the field and about the worst thing he's done on the field — besides having a down year — is getting in the face of Carlos Quentin after that recent Dodgers-Padres brawl. You'll recall he also recently made headlines for giving a teenager with cancer his jersey, cap and cleats in a touching moment after a game.

One point Kemp's detractors have on their scorecard is that he's seen firsthand the damage tornados can inflict.'s Ken Gurnick talked to Kemp after Monday's game detailing what he remembers about previous tornados in Oklahoma:

[Kemp] said he was in junior high school when an E-5 tornado with 300-mph winds hit the same area in 1999 and killed 36 people. He remembered accompanying a cousin who was hit by a foul ball in a baseball game to the local hospital and not knowing the tornado hit until the mangled patients started to arrive.

He vividly described the carnage he saw 14 years ago.

"And this one hit a school," he said. "I know where the schools are. My mom lived in a house in Moore and we gave it to my aunt and uncle. They weren't home today, but they said two blocks away there's nothing left. I've never been through an earthquake, but I've seen what a tornado can do and you just can't even believe it."

The people upset at Kemp have three main complaints: he's not giving enough, he's making this too much about himself and he's not hitting the home runs necessary to justify a pledge-drive. Here's a smattering of the negative things people are tweeting at him:

Geez, by that kind of talk you'd think he's the villain here, not a guy trying to help out. Could he give more? Sure, obviously. Is he beholden to you, me or anybody else about how he chooses to donate his money? Hardly.

If nothing else, maybe this will motivate him to find his home-run stroke — the one responsible for 116 dingers in his last four seasons (including 39 in 2011). That would benefit both the people of Oklahoma and his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates.

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