T.J. Simers

Dodgers' fortunes took biggest hit when Matt Kemp hit the wall

"I don't know," he says, while declining to get the final answer until there are no more games to be won.

"I don't know what I need to do to make it feel better, but I'm going to finish out this season and help put our team in a situation where we can still make the playoffs."

Now you can add a sore left elbow to Kemp's woes, getting hit by a pitch in the sixth inning here and later adding a dose of embarrassment to the mix when caught rounding third a few steps too far.

He doesn't get on base very often these days, so you can understand his eagerness to touch them all.

Now while everyone remains puzzled why the Dodgers can't hit as a team after adding so much wallop to the lineup, I go back to Kemp's injury.

The charismatic Kemp is the life of the clubhouse and dugout, the player who really wants to be great while willing to carry everyone on his shoulders if necessary.

As he says, "Chris Paul is my idol," loving the way Paul embraces his Clippers' role as both gritty competitor and leader.

Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez are too new to the group to assert themselves and both seem unwilling to carry the team.

The role has never really suited Andre Ethier.

"I like being considered one of the best," Kemp says, hours before making the final out of a 2-1 loss. "But obviously this is just another one of those roadblocks that I'll have to get past."

Just wait until next year.

::

THE NEW owners of the San Diego Union-Tribune have told their writers to support the push for a new Chargers stadium here.

Columnist Tim Sullivan took issue with such a small-town directive and was fired.

Columnist Nick Canepa, though, should get a raise.

Canepa took exception to the suggestion the Chargers might be moving to Los Angeles now that AEG is for sale and might have an owner more interested in making an NFL deal.

Canepa wrote recently, "If the Chargers ever have threatened to move to Los Angeles or anywhere else, I'd like somebody to show me the quote. Good luck. There isn't one to find. We, the media, and the fans and the L.A. wannabes are the ones who have manufactured the threats."

That's not entirely true. It wasn't the media who met with Philip Anschutz to discuss a sales price for the Chargers in preliminary discussions to move the team to Los Angeles. It was Chargers owner Dean Spanos, a.k.a. one of the Spanos Goofs.

If there's no threat of the Chargers moving, why is Spanos talking to Anschutz as well as reps from the City of Industry?

As for finding a threatening quote, it's a columnist's red herring. Why would the Chargers threaten to leave San Diego if still trying to sell tickets here?

I'm not sure anyone in L.A. really cares if the Chargers come north, but it's kind of like the Dodgers: We're probably just stuck with them.

t.j.simers@latimes.com
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