Matt Kemp calls Atlanta “a baseball town”

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As my friends down south say whenever they encounter a misguided person: bless his heart.

Or at least bless his intentions. I’m sure Matt Kemp wants nothing more than to make a great impression in Atlanta and revive a career that, well, got him sent to Atlanta. But Matt: you and I are men of action. Lies do not become us:

Atlanta is a lot of things, but “baseball town” is not something it gets accused of being very often. At least not credibly. I think the knock on Atlanta for not selling out playoff games and things is a bit overstated — the Braves have a ton of fans, they’re just a lot more geographically dispersed than most teams thanks to TBS and their regional, as opposed to merely local appeal — but no one really thinks of Atlanta as a baseball town. College football? Boy howdy. Pro football? Sure. Folks in Atlanta like the Braves well enough, but it ain’t what people think of when they think “baseball town.”

Maybe, though, this isn’t Matt Kemp being misguided. Maybe he’s throwing shade at San Diego or Los Angeles. L.A. would be hard — they draw amazingly well, always — but it could be one of those “L.A. fans arrive late, leave early” things. Which is itself overstated in my experience, but that’s what people say. San Diego people don’t really turn out in droves for the Padres, but it’s not like they’ve been given much to turn out for over the years. Hard to blame them. It gets cold in that park at night.

Wait! I got it! The Braves head to St. Louis to play the Cardinals this weekend! He must be excited about the road trip. You can say what you want about the Cardinals and their fans, but you can’t say St. Louis is not a baseball town.

There. That’s it. Phew.

 

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.