Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp had a stellar 2011 season. He hit .324 with 39 home runs, 126 RBI and 40 stolen bases. Along with winning the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards, Kemp was runner-up in the National League Most Valuable Player voting to Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, despite having more home runs, RBI and stolen bases.
Yesterday, Major League Baseball announced the suspension of Ryan Braun for the remainder of the 2013 season for violation of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Kemp expressed his feelings on the situation.
Kemp's disappointment is likely due to the fact that he was a strong supporter of Braun in 2012 when he tested positively for a banned substance. He could have jumped on the opportunity to accuse Braun of cheating, but he supported and believed him. At the time, Braun claimed he was an innocent victim of a flawed testing process and eventually saw his suspension overturned.
Now that Braun has lost the integrity that he tried so hard to defend, Kemp feels slighted, and rightfully so. "I think it kind of takes away from guys who get in the gym, bust their butt and try to play this game clean," Kemp said.
Several outraged fans have taken to social networks to call for the 2011 NL MVP award to be given to Matt Kemp. "My twitter is going nuts," Kemp said. "I never got so many tweets in my life." Though he may not want the award, he may be in favor of the league removing it from Braun.
Regardless of whether any such action can or should actually be taken, it reminds us of what an incredible year 2011 was for the Dodgers' star outfielder.
This season, the Dodgers have surged into first place without Kemp's services for much of the year. Hamstring, shoulder and a recent ankle injury have derailed much of Kemp's 2013 season, but if the Dodgers can see him return to his 2011 form, he can certainly help the playoff push.