05.06.05

The Thoughts Of Motorcycle Jeff

Posted in Baseball at 5:35 pm by

I guess we won’t be seeing Lt. Dangle in any of MLB’s “I Live For This” commercials anytime soon. From the LA Daily News’ Tony Jackson.

Jeff Kent isn’t much of a dreamer. And even if he were, this wouldn’t be the dream.
This dream is for starry-eyed kids who grew up idolizing George Brett and Reggie Jackson and Pete Rose. This dream is for guys who, by the time they got to high school, already were obsessing over their stances and their strides and trying to pick up the spin on the ball. This dream is for baseball players.

Kent is a cattle rancher, a hunter, an aspiring entrepreneur and, above all, a family man. He supports his wife, his four children and all those other interests by playing baseball in the major leagues. And if there wasn’t a sizable spread waiting every afternoon in the players’ lounge, he probably would bring a lunchpail to the ballpark.

“People misunderstand this,” the Dodgers second baseman said, “but I’m not a fan of the game. I’m not a fan of baseball, and I never was. I never collected baseball cards. I never got autographs, and I never watched SportsCenter. I went to a handful of games when I was young, but if I had my druthers, I would have made money racing motorcycles. But I couldn’t do that.”

There are several qualifications and standards for getting into Cooperstown. A passion for the game isn’t one of them.

“My dad was a cop down in Costa Mesa,” Kent said. “He couldn’t afford to send me to a big-time college. But he made a bet with me when I was in high school that if I got a scholarship to college, he would buy me a truck. The only way I could get a scholarship was through baseball, and I got a scholarship to (California). He bought me a truck.”

Back then, baseball for Kent was a means to an end, the end being not so much the truck as a free college education. Almost two decades later, nothing has changed.

“Things just kept on panning out for me,” he said.

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