Teen Who Scored Matt Kemp's Cleats Has 90 Days To Live
With the Dodgers mired in a horrendous start to the season, it's easy to pile on. But for one moment there has been an oasis of hope.
The video made its rounds yesterday. After the Dodgers got swept by the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, Matt Kemp went up to a Dodgers fan sitting in the left field seats signed a ball, gave him his cap and inexplicably gave him his jersey and cleats. It took only about a minute, but there was probably not a minute filled with so much joy for the kid.
The kid is 19-year old Joshua Jones from Tracy, California. He's been fighting cancer for the last three years and a couple of weeks ago refused chemotherapy treatments for inoperable tumors in his spine. He was told he had 90 days to live and decided he wanted to see the Dodgers and his favorite player Matt Kemp one last time.
Early in the game Joshua's father, Steve, struck up a conversation with Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach and told him Joshua would really like to meet Kemp. Wallach made no promises but did tell Kemp about Joshua.
The Dodgers lost 4-3. Kemp went 1-for-3 with two walks and a run scored, not shabby considering how slow he's started the season, but definitely not up to Matt Kemp standards. Kemp didn't have to leave the Dodgers first base dugout after the game, but he insisted. He remembered what it was like to be stiffed by an NBA player while playing in an AAU game when he was 12 years old.
"As a kid you remember who it is," Kemp said. "It sticks with you."
Kemp followed Wallach across the field. He signed the ball. What followed was unplanned.
"That's the first time taking my shoes off," Kemp said.
Kemp was a bit embarrassed that this was caught on video. The hits and the homers are for the glory of the public.
"Life is so much bigger than baseball," Kemp acknowledged.
So in a crowd where he is the hated name and wears the hated colors, Kemp experienced something he had never experienced before. "That's the first time ever Giants fans were nice to me."