|photo by Monty Brinton/CBS|
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Jeff Kent Antics on CBS' "Survivor"
I have a confession to make. I watch the CBS show Survivior and have since it’s inception. I’m not sure why I latched on to this reality show from the beginning because I really can’t think of any others that I watch, but I have enjoyed it over the years.
So I took a particular interest in this season’s Survivor show since Huntington Beach native and former Giant and Dodger Jeff Kent was a competitor on the show. I have to admit I was rooting for him.
I know that Jeff Kent is a polarizing baseball figure. A lot of Dodger fans disliked him because of his roots as a Giant. Many Giant fans hate him because he finished his career as a Dodger and got emotional when he spoke of attending Dodger games as a kid with his dad in the introductory press conference in 2005. Others had issues with Kent because of his demeanor as a player. He was an "all business" type of player. He took the game seriously. Personally, I loved his game.
To me, Kent was old school and misunderstood. He led by example and hated the modern day players that showboat with celebratory hijinks. I know he had problems with some of the new core of players coming up to the Dodgers. That caused some tension in the clubhouse that probably could have been dealt with better had the manager at the time (Torre) been less concerned about his ego and more about the team's cohesion and chemistry. I saw Kent positively interact with fans, specifically children, my son being one (earlier in his years as a Giant and later when my boy was a teenager while a Dodger). He was nothing but a gentleman and true professional.
Getting back to the CBS reality show. Kent's antics on the show very closely paralleled the way he played baseball. He was all business and a fierce competitor. None of it had to do with money. The guy just wants to win. I bet if they were playing "Tiddlywinks" he'd be going all out.
On the first episode, within the first 10 seconds that the game started Kent claimed that he tore his ACL jumping out of a boat and banging his leg on a wood piling. I have no doubt that he was injured because Jeff hobbled for quite some time over the next several episodes. Being the tough athlete that he is, he never revealed to anyone (except the camera men in private) that he was injured. Once players in this game know you aren’t 100%, they circle you like sharks would to bleeding prey and they eliminate you. Jeff knew that he needed to keep his injury concealed from other players. Another thing he successfully kept hidden from other competitors was his background as a former baseball player.
He gritted his way through the competition without revealing his true identity. Only one player, (Dawson) knew he was a former baseball player, but she didn’t reveal it to any of the players. She toyed with him and attempted to make him scramble. "Maybe I should date an athlete," she told him in an early episode. When asked what an athlete was she added that she didn't consider baseball players real athletes, "There's too much standing around."
Before Dawson was voted off the game, she continued mentally toying with Jeff in an attempt to raise his apprehension. During one of the nights when they were all resting under the canopy of their shelter, out of the blue she said, “You know what baseball team is the greatest? The Braves.” Kent didn’t say a word and nobody caught on to her antics.
When contestant Dana Lambert, (an injured player that had to leave the Island early), was interviewed about her time in the game and it was revealed to her that Kent was a ballplayer and multi-millionaire, she expressed surprise and said that she wished she had known that. “I would have approached him with it (the information on his past). He already has millions of dollars. Why do they need to give him another million?” ( Link to quote HERE )
Kent hobbled his way through competitive challenges and somehow figured out a way to run and exert himself physically while jumping, climbing, diving, swimming and sprinting through the competition. He formed and broke aliances, used mental savvy to blindside competitors and forged friendships in his attempt to weasel his way into the final 9 players. I think it would have been interesting had his identity been exposed, but it never happened.
On the episode that aired tonight, a decision Kent made the previous day back fired on him as a player that he agreed to give immunity to in exchange for him throwing a challenge, turned his back on him and voted him out. A perturbed Kent walked off the Survivor Island with that arrogant swagger he had as a ball player. He looked as angry as if he just lost the NL Pennant. His closing comment had to be one of the best I have ever seen on that show:
“You know what pisses me off? I think I’ve made something like $60 million dollars when I was playing baseball and I want this frickin’ million dollars in this game. And it’s not even a million bucks, its 600 grand by the time Obama takes it. I’m a game 7 World Series loser and I played in the biggest games in the world and the worst games in the world. This just sucks!”
Now that was definitely the Jeff Kent I remember...