The home run Matt Kemp smacked in the Dodgers' 5-3 opening day win over San Diego Thursday night was a great way to start the season. Add in congratulations from a five-time NBA champ and Kemp was living the dream.
The men who represent the Dodgers' future and past -- Johnson and outgoing owner Frank McCourt -- sat side-by-side Thursday night at Petco Park to watch the team open the season against San Diego. When Kemp returned from belting the two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning, that familiar Magic smile was there to greet him.
How's that for positive motivation?
"It was kind of cool -- right when I came back from hitting the home run, he stuck his head in the dugout and said, 'Nice job, kid,''' Kemp said. "I was like, 'Hey, it's Magic Johnson right there, man.' It's good to have him around and good to see him. That was a little motivation right there. I was pretty pumped up for that. It was a good day all around. Good W.''
The Lakers great is part of a business group that's willing to put up $2.15 billion to buy the Dodgers. The Guggenheim Baseball Management offer is still subject to the approval of a bankruptcy court, but the investment looked good on the field Thursday -- despite an illness that prevented Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw from pitching more than three innings.
Kemp drove in three runs, providing the offensive support and later tweeted, "It was good seeing @MagicJohnson at the stadium 2nite! The #Magic era has begun. #swag."
He also had a tweet for teammate Kershaw, who battled through the stomach flu to give up just two hits through three innings. Kershaw, seen lying in the tunnel behind the dugout during the game, fanned three and walked one.
Kershaw also had the Dodgers' first hit of the season, singling off Edinson Volquez in the third inning.
"Great way 2 start the season! Kershaw is a champ!! We need him 2 get better! #sick," Kemp tweeted.
The Dodgers and Padres meeting again Friday at Petco Park. Game time is 7:10.
The Dodgers' home-opened is scheduled for Tuesday against Milwaukee.