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Fans bank on Kemp

Dodgers' player pays a surprise visit to Burbank bank, to the delight of customers.

May 28, 2011|By Jeff Tully,
(Raul Roa Staff Photographer )

BURBANK — In the hour-plus he spent signing autographs and greeting fans, Matt Kemp didn't stop smiling and laughing.

Although the Los Angeles Dodgers player had a rare off-day Thursday, Kemp, the team's starting centerfielder, took time away from his day to give a little back to the people who support him and the team.

Kemp appeared at the personal appearance, not at Dodger Stadium or at a memorabilia show, but instead at the Bank of America branch at 142 E. Olive Ave.

Kemp made the effort to meet and greet every fan that came in front of him, and spent the session talking baseball and signing everything from baseballs and bats to photographs and jerseys.

"He just loves doing this with the fans," said Dave Stewart, a former pitcher who spent 16 years in the major leagues and is now is an agent whose cliental includes Kemp. "This is right up his alley. He eats this stuff up. Young or old, he just likes interacting with the fans and giving back."


Kemp, who is having a productive season, hitting .317 with 12 home runs and 24 runs batted in heading into Friday's three-game series with the Florida Marlins, said he enjoys mingling with his fans.

"I really like interacting with people, especially the fans," said Kemp, who is in his sixth season with the Dodgers. "They are what made me what I am, and if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be in the position that I'm in. So, I definitely have to give back to the fans and have a good time with them."

Kemp's appearance came about through a joint partnership between Bank of America, Major League Baseball and the Dodgers. To thank customers for their business in unexpected ways, Bank of America invited Kemp to surprise customers at select banking centers around the greater Los Angeles area Thursday.

"Bank of America is a big supporter of baseball and a big supporter of the Dodgers," Kemp said. "They do a lot for the community and they really work well with Major League Baseball. I actually have an account with Bank of America, so I work with them, too."

For the occasion, bank employees sported white T-shirts with the Dodgers' logo.

"We were really excited about having him appear here," said Arpik Lalabekyan, senior vice president of the Olive Avenue branch. "We really felt special that one of the best players on the Dodgers was going to be here. This is ¿something special for our customers."

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