Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp finished second in the National League MVP race Tuesday behind Milwaukee Brewers left fielder and former Granada Hills standout Ryan Braun.
Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke called out the Baseball Writers’ Assocation of America, who decide the MLB postseason honors, for not voting Kemp over Braun, despite a disappointing 82-79 record and finishing 11.5 games behind Arizona.
Due to a LAT policy, Plaschke wasn’t able to serve as one of the two designated voters from the local BBWAA chapter. But freelancer Dodger blogger Steve Dilbeck was able to vote and decided to go with Braun:
Perhaps nobody saw Kemp more last year than Dilbeck, who wrote Web stories on nearly every Dodgers game while attending nearly every game at Dodger Stadium.
Yet, he still voted for Braun?
“I didn’t look at it as voting against Matt Kemp, he had a sensational year. It was a pleasure to watch. I agonized over it,” Dilbeck said. “But in the end, I gave credence to somebody who helped a team win, who proved most valuable to winning.”
Dilbeck admitted he voted the standings as much as the statistics, saying, “If there had not been a guy almost equal to Kemp, who played games that mattered all year long, who helped his team win the division, I would have given it to Kemp. But Ryan Braun did all those things.”
I would pick Dilbeck as an MVP for having the courage to follow his heart and vote against a guy he must deal with every day. But I would bench him and others for applying their own definition to a word that holds no such official meaning.
And just so there’s no debate in 2012 about the NL MVP award, Kemp said on a conference call he was going for a 50-50 campaign next year — 50 home runs and 50 steals in the same season.
Take that, Hebrew Hammer.