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Matt Kemp coming in second in MVP vote is best thing for Dodgers

November 22, 2011 |  2:19 pm

The MVP voters just did the Dodgers a huge favor. Or perhaps I should say a monstrous favor. By the end of the 2012 season, they may have to send out thank you notes.

Because by placing Kemp second in Tuesday’s MVP vote they may have just assured he comes back more determined than ever.

"I’m going to go 50-50 next year," Kemp said. "Y’all created a monster. I’m about to get back in the weight room super tough so I can be even stronger than last year."

Although exceedingly gracious to winner Ryan Braun in a conference call, Kemp said he planned to use his runner-up status as inspiration to return even stronger next season.

"It’s definitely a motivation," Kemp said. "In the game you always want to end up on top, you want to be known as the best. I mean, I feel I had a great year and a lot of other people felt I had a great year but I wasn’t the MVP. And like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Ryan. He deserves that award. Prince deserves that award. There are a lot of great people who deserve to be MVP.

"I feel like it’s going to give other people who didn’t win MVP the motivation to be even better. It’s definitely given me motivation to be better and to do something big next year."

This is the point where perhaps you should be reminded about the season Kemp now sounds determined to improve upon: .324, 39 homers, 126 RBI, 115 runs and 40 steals.

Any concern the Dodgers had about Kemp growing slightly complacent via his success or his new $160-million contract had to have ebbed by how determined he was talking Tuesday.

And, yes, he says, hyperbole aside, he’s actually serious about pursuing baseball’s first 50-homer, 50-steal season. Take that as you will.

"Anything can happen," he said. "I’m going to set my limits high and try to get to them as much as I can. So, yeah, I’m going 50-50. Never been done. I’m serious."

I’m thinking Kemp might not be making such grandiose plans if he had won the MVP and was spending some serious time on the offseason banquet circuit.

"I respect the decision," Kemp said. "I just have to have an even better season next year and make the playoffs so I can make the decision a little bit easier for them [writers]."

Though thank you notes tend to make them blush.


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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp. Credit: Kirby Lee / U.S. Presswire