The Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp lost out to Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun for the NL MVP award today. Both players were deserving and even Kemp said yesterday that he felt Braun was deserving of the award.â†µ
But something else Kemp said in an ESPN Los Angeles story resonated.â†µ
"I could've sworn the MVP is Most Valuable Player, not Most Valuable Player on a winning team," Kemp said. "But it is what it is, and that is just how it is. For me, like I said, if [Braun] wins, he is very deserving. If I win, that's even better. ... We will see if we can change that and see if we can make something happen."â†µ
The Brewers' achievements as a team seem to be what put Braun over the hump in a race with Kemp that saw both players have equally strong statistical years. But Kemp's comments bring up a larger point about baseball.â†µ
It's the one sport where the MVP doesn't always have to come from a winning team.â†µ
Yes, in this case, it did. But remember when Alex Rodriguez won MVP on a last-place Texas Rangers team? Neither the NFL nor the NBA could even fathom giving such a prestigious honor to a player whose team didn't even sniff the playoffs. If that was the case, Kobe Bryant's 2005-2006 season when he carried a Smush-Parker-is-a-starter Los Angeles Lakers team to the 7th seed in the Western Conference by averaging over 35 points per game would have easily won MVP.â†µ
But you have to win at least 50 games to win MVP in the NBA. Or, at least, that's the unwritten rule.â†µ
Baseball is stats-heavy and almost stats-only. For Kemp, the voters used the team success as the tie-breaker. Next year? Maybe baseball recycles old history, rewards singular efforts and Kemp can add a little something to his trophy case.