Clayton Kershaw makes plans for an encore
So now what?
If you’re Clayton Kershaw, all of 23 years of age, still a newlywed and fresh off a National League Cy Young Award win, how do you top it next year?
"A second anniversary and a World Series sounds pretty good," Kershaw said. "That would just about do it."
Kershaw was humble and appreciative in a series of interviews on television, in a conference call and at a Dodger Stadium news conference. He was, as you would expect, a very busy man.
Yet Dodgers fans had to take heart that when asked about an encore, he continually talked about the postseason. And hardly like an individual who was suddenly satisfied.
Here are some of his answers to questions Thursday.
On whether if he thought people would now expect more from him: "Whenever you have a Cy Young next to your name, there are going to be expectations that go along with it. Whenever I look at a pitcher and I see he’s won a Cy Young award I think, 'He’d better be good.’
"That’s what I hope to be. I hope people have that expectation for me. I hope they expect me to be good, because I expect me to be good. As far as where I go from here, it’s just a matter of winning. That’s really the only thing that matters. Winning as a team is something that is so special.
"I got spoiled my first two years going to the playoffs. I thought that’s what happens every year. You just go to the playoffs. Now that I’ve missed it for the past two years, and living in Dallas and seeing the Rangers go to the World Series the past two off-seasons, I want it. I want it bad. I think this next season should be a good one for us."
On whether he is now more comfortable being compared to Sandy Koufax: "I’m still uncomfortable with it. I don’t want to have any disrespect to Mr. Koufax. He did it for a long time. He won a lot of awards. He won World Series. He threw no-hitters. Just a lot of things I’m not even close to accomplishing yet. So I have tremendous respect for him and would never want to put myself in the same category as him.’’
Where his focus will be for 2012: "Winning is the most important thing, and winning as a team is the ultimate accomplishment. Nothing to take away from this award. I’m so thankful for it. I never thought in a million years I’d get a chance to even be in the conversation for it. I’m just amazed and surprised I even got it. But as far as our season goes, individual awards never supersede winning. That’s the ultimate goal.’’
On whether this might encourage youngsters in Texas to give baseball more of a look instead of football: "Hopefully they can play both... Anything to stay away from lacrosse."
Favorite moment: "Winning 20 games was special. Winning at home, against the Giants is something I'll remember for a long time.''
— Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw glances at the artwork celebrating his Cy Young Award-winning season during his introduction at a Dodger Stadium news conference on Thursday. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press