Orioles' Tony Kemp: ‘We’re one of 780 people in the world who get to put on a big-league uniform’ - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Orioles’ Tony Kemp: ‘We’re one of 780 people in the world who get to put on a big-league uniform’

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan USA TODAY Sports


The Orioles signed second baseman Tony Kemp on March 26th. The 32-year-old Kemp played four seasons each with Houston and Oakland and one year with the Chicago Cubs. He was released by Cincinnati last month before signing with the Orioles.

Question: What was it like to be signed two days before the season opener and play with a team that’s basically been together for a few years?

Tony Kemp: “I feel like I’ve been able to fit in nicely. Obviously, these guys are welcoming, and we all have the same goal, to win, to go to the playoffs and win a championship here. We have a lot of things in common. It feels good to be a part of something like this.”

Question: What’s it like to suddenly uproot your family again?

Kemp: “I think when you’re a pro and you’ve been in this profession for the last 11 years, you kind of know how the business side of it works. You understand that you can be thrust into a new opportunity, a new regime at any point. I think it’s been exciting. I think it’s been fun, and you look forward to coming to the field and you look forward to going and seeing your guys. The guys you’ve just met you can tell, they love baseball. They want to be a part of something new, a winning culture. That’s what they’ve done here.”

Question: With all the uncertainty and losing in Oakland, was it hard going to the ballpark last year?

Kemp: “The toughest part of last year with Oakland was obviously the losing and feeling bad for the fans because they’re potentially going to be losing their [team]. Showing up to the yard every day was a blessing because there’s a lot of guys who would love to be in my shoes, and would love to walk into a big-league ballpark.

“I had that perspective every day, and I think that’s what helped me. I can’t speak for everybody. We’re one of 780 people in the world who get to put on a big-league uniform … I never take that for granted. You have to continue to count your blessings, and that’s what I did the last few years, just really understand what perspective you have to have, especially when you’re a big-leaguer, to not take anything for granted.”

Question: Do you think baseball players appreciate the opportunity to live and play in different parts of the country that might not have otherwise experienced?

Kemp: “I don’t know if I have the perspective [that] everyone else has. My perspective is, ‘How cool is it that you get to live in all these different cities?’ I feel like that’s why I’ve been in love with the game for so long, to see the opportunities that this game brings and how many different cities that you can live in. Is it going to be challenging with a family and two kids? Of course it’s going to be challenging, but at the end of the day, you’re going to have these cool experiences of being able to hop around and play in all these cool cities. Some guys might think it’s part of the job and go with the flow, but for me, I don’t take any day for granted. I’m blessed every day.”

Question: Many ballplayers have gravitated to Nashville, where you live. Why?

Kemp: “It’s the people. The people are great. As far as guys getting older, you’re looking to raise a family, so your family is going to be there. I train at Vanderbilt. Being able to go to Vanderbilt and let these guys know how special it is to go train there for the past decade. Those are things I don’t take lightly. I think people just love it for the people.”

Question: You briefly lived in Carroll County. What was your experience living in Maryland?

Kemp: “I was only here for two years, [ages] 3 and 4, right when my memory was starting to kick in, I would say. These are some of my first memories, being here. My dad worked for Caterpillar Financial. His job was relocating him, and he was here for two years, and then there was another opportunity that opened up and so we moved back.”

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