Kent loves playing for hometown crowd
Dodgers second baseman's adrenaline gets pumping
Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent likes the additional adrenaline push playing at home gives him. The five-time All-Star participated in an online chat May 8 and shared his views on playing at home, playing on the road, retirement, as well as various other topics.
Jeff Kent: Thanks for taking the time to chat today. Let's get started.
bommer1972: Just wanted to tell you that I am a huge fan of yours. Keep up the great job. How many more years until retirement?
Kent: I haven't given it much thought, but I guarantee you it won't be into my 40s.
DavidK: Jeff, having watched you play the past 16 years, what is your fondest memory of your career thus far?
Kent: It was Game 5 of the World Series in San Francisco when we were playing the Angels. We ended up blowing them out for a one-game lead in the World Series and it was downhill after that.
emmartu: Hi, I'm from Rome, Italy. Have you ever been here? Do you like it?
Kent: I haven't had time to travel because I'm chasing the baseball around, but when I retire I will be flying overseas.
emmartu: I'm almost your age. How did you change your training with your increasing age? Has it changed?
Kent: It takes a pretty good workout to chase four kids around the house. I had to pace myself and my workout routine. It's hard for me to maintain the strength of a young guy, so I have to maintain mental health. I work out my peace of mind more than my muscles, as I did in the past.
hugopena: Every baseball analyst insists that the Dodgers must get a big bat in order to have a chance to get to the World Series. What are your thoughts on that?
Kent: I'm willing to trade a big bat for a big pitcher. I've been to the playoffs and pitching is so much more important than offense in the game, the way it's played right now.
glsa: Jeff, how did Grady Little's new bike turn out?
Kent: I got him a Yamaha Roadliner, which we turned into a Stratoliner and it was fully stocked. You can find a picture of that on www.kentpowersports.com.
ylelevier: What impresses you most about Russell Martin?
Kent: His desire to be better every day. The kid hustles, he's coachable and he has a ton of desire, which is very impressive for a young kid.
goley11: Hi, Jeff. Thank you very much for doing this. How does it feel to know you've done what so many of us wish we could have done by having a Hall of Fame career?
Kent: I never thought I was going to be a big leaguer when I was younger. I was never much of a sports fan. I loved motorcycles and loved to compete. That's all I've been doing my whole life. I never put into perspective some of the things I have done and I don't think I'll be able to grasp that until I retire. I try to put myself in a position to not think about the things that I have done, but rather to think about the things that I want to do.
tcab2880: Hi, Jeff. Do you have any memories from playing with the Mets way back in the early 90s?
Kent: Those seasons seem to be so long ago. We never really won when I was there with the Mets, so it's hard to put a lot of memories to mind right now. We had a lot of talented young players, but the city was so impatient, we never really had a chance for our talent to blossom.
garv4hall: Mr. Kent, when your career is over what are your plans in "retirement"?
Kent: Race motorcycles, water ski, hunt and probably throw batting practice to my kids for Little League.
pvblue: How involved is Tommy Lasorda with you guys?
Kent: In between his naps, Tommy is more of a motivator of words for us. He's a story teller, an individual motivator, a clubhouse motivator and a guy who has a belly full of experience.
blue_buddy: Kent, do you see yourself playing any other position besides second base?
Kent: Well, I've played quite a few games at first. I played three-quarters of a season at third base and I'm fortunate enough to have a good first baseman on this team and a good third baseman as well, so it looks like second base will be the position where I'll end my career.
DaRavine: Mr. Kent, what grade would you give the team's performance so far this season?
Kent: The only grade I've ever given is at the end of the year. We play 162 games and during the course of that season, we're going to get an A grade or an F grade. It's just the grade at the end of the year that I care about most.
dawjerblu: We love going up to San Francisco for the greatest rival games and were there last year when we clinched the playoff spot. What a great time. Do you get more pumped up when playing the Giants than against other teams?
Kent: I don't get more pumped up to play the Giants, but there is definitely a more pumped-up atmosphere. You definitely have to control your emotions more when you're playing a team where the fans are really excited about playing, than say, another team where the fans don't really show up.
SeanG: Hi, J.K. Just want you to know that your old friend in New York, Sean, is a junior in high school and a starter on his team at second base and is being recruited by University of Pennsylvania. Thanks for all the inspiration all these years. See you at Shea. email@example.com
Kent: Congratulations, Sean. It's been a long time since we played catch on the field. Good luck.
ethan_24: So what did you think of Brad Penny's performance yesterday?
Kent: Penny's performance was outstanding. He had a fastball that was just snapping out of his hand and he was just throwing it by their guys yesterday. Outstanding.
lekkerding: Hi. Greetings from Holland.
siouxdome: Is it boring doing nothing on the road?
Kent: Absolutely. Being on the road and living out of a suitcase in a hotel room, even if it's a five-star hotel, is very boring. The batteries in the remote control of your TV only go so far.
stevebartmans: Obviously the infamous blow up in the dugout with Barry Bonds isn't indicative of your true relationship with him. I am curious if you have spoken or are planning to speak to Barry as he approaches Aaron's 755?
Kent: Barry and I were hugging each other five minutes after that incident in the clubhouse, but no one wants to talk about that. We've had our good times and bad times, but the 755 home runs that he's about to hit -- it's going to be his time, and that has nothing to do with me.
tkdcomp: What would you consider your idol to be from baseball, historically speaking?
Kent: Nolan Ryan. When I broke into the league as a rookie, I watched his work ethic and it was just phenomenal. He was 40-plus years old and I always idolized him as a kid. My dad always told me to do what he did and watch him because he was such a worker.
Sterlin: Jeff, I love your no-nonsense approach to the game. What one factor would you attribute to your remarkable work ethic?
Kent: Integrity. Caring about the production that I put on the field and making sure it has integrity. Because of the way I was raised and my religious background, having integrity is very important for me.
KentDoll12: Jeff, does your family get a chance to travel with you often over summer?
Kent: During the summer, the kids and my wife come out during their summer break to L.A. I might go three or four weeks without seeing my family during the course of the season.
lgarelli: Hello, Mr. Kent. Greetings from Venezuela.
jd428jd: When you retire as a player, will you coach?
Kent: LOL. No, I have no plans to coach. I don't even have plans to coach Little League. I will be there to assist, but I will definitely not coach.
glsa: There's a group of us over-50 guys on the Dodger blog that wish you the best and have that same dream of you getting the World Series ring. If you had that ring today would you still be playing?
Kent: That is the hardest question for me to answer. I wanted to retire years ago as a champion and later in your career, as a player, that is the only thing that propels you. If I would've won it a few years ago, there's a good chance that I would have retired.
Theollow: You have not had great success swinging at the first pitch this year. Have you made a conscious decision to try to work the count more?
Kent: Which pitch should I swing at? Geez, I don't know which pitch has the higher percentage. I've always been an agressive hitter. Typically, a pitcher wants to throw a first-pitch strike and it's usually a fastball and that's what I am, a fastball hitter.
Gododgers: After 16 years in baseball, I bet you have seen a lot of advances in baseball and technology. How often do you check the Dodgers fan blogs like www.sonsofstevegarvey.com or www.dodgerthoughts.com?
Kent: I'm not much of a computer buff. If I had my druthers, I'd be talking on the phone or in person, not on the computer.
Ariel_MLB: Jeff, do you care when selecting new bats or you just pick a bunch of them?
Kent: Bats are very important. The weight, the length, the style. When you play the game long enough, you can tell half an ounce difference in a bat and that matters in selecting it.
kentfan12: What kind of music do you listen to?
Kent: Mostly country, but rock and alternative rock.
JKentFan: Any specific reason why you wear No. 12?
Kent: No. It was the reverse number of my jersey in San Francisco. There's no other real significance.
Gododgers: Have you ever tried a Dodger Dog?
Kent: Yes. I've had a few. They need lots of ketchup!
joemc6: Kent, who's the best second baseman in baseball right now?
Kent: There are bunch that can hit, a bunch that can catch and a bunch that can run. I don't know if one has the whole package yet.
ChipperDm: Yo, Jeff. I play in Scotland and I'm 15. I play second base. Have you got any tips?
Kent: I was given a tip when I was in the Minor Leagues to take Tae Kwan Do to help in my flexibility in turning the double play. I don't know if it'll help, but that was something that I did.
gyroballequalsslider: What's your favorite motorcycle?
Kent: Wow, that's hard. It's my YZ 250 F that turns into a 315.
Susan: Hi, Jeff. When there's a conference on the mound with a pitcher who's struggling and you walk over, what are you telling them? Hang in there, get the last out, darn it?
Kent: Most of the time, it's to give him a little break. It's usually after they've thrown a lot of pitches so I'm trying to give them a little rest. I'll talk about stupid things but it'll give them a rest so they have enough energy for the next guy.
Kent: Two more questions...
davek1938: Mr. Kent, can you share your thoughts on Nomar Garciaparra?
Kent: Nomar is pretty quiet. Very professional. Very strategic at everything that he does every day.
BigBlue42: Jeff, how much does the home crowd pump you up?
Kent: Oh, yeah. It's so much easier to play at home when the crowd is cheering for you. It gives you a little more adrenaline juice.
Kent: Thank you all for taking part in today's chat. We'll be chatting with Rick Monday on May 22 and the team is back in town on Friday. We hope to see you there.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.