There are a number of fans — Braun haters, Dodgers lovers and otherwise — who think Matt Kemp should now be recognized as the MVP from the 2011 season. That year, Braun edged Kemp for the award, even though Kemp flirted with the Triple Crown and had more homers, RBIs, runs and stolen bases than Braun, plus a higher WAR value.
Now, with Braun suspended, disgraced, his fall from grace complete, we waited to hear what Kemp would say. When Braun was first connected to PEDs, Kemp said he didn't want the award if Braun was stripped of it.
On Tuesday, Kemp reiterated that he didn't want the award, but he did agree that Braun should have it taken away. "But that's not for me to decide, ya know?" Kemp said.
About whether he deserves the award, Kemp told Ken Gurnick from MLB.com:
"I was in the race for MVP and got second. The voters had their opinion of who they wanted to pick as MVP. You have to respect who they picked. It is what it is. For me, all I can worry about is getting healthy. It definitely would be nice to have an MVP trophy, but I didn't win the MVP. I was second."
About Braun specifically and PEDs in general, Kemp said:
"Yeah, I'm disappointed. You don't like getting lied to. A lot of people feel the same way. I'm sure I'm but another on that list.
"As a player who never took PEDs or steroids, it's upsetting that [those who do take banned substances] take away from those guys who bust their butts in the gym and play the game clean," he said. "We're all grown men who make our own decisions what we put in our bodies, we know what's right and what's wrong. MLB can't make people stay clean."
Kemp also stood up for Chris Davis, the Baltimore Orioles slugger who is having a big year at the plate and, of course, is being met with the same PED speculation from the public that anybody who hits a lot of home runs in the post-steroid era is going to face. Both this year, and in the future. Kemp said:
"Don't take away from somebody doing a great job," he said. "Davis always had the ability to hit home runs. Now he's just figured it out. But people are tearing him down, saying he's doing something, and that's unfair to him and the Baltimore organization."
Of course, a couple years ago, you could find people who would say the same thing about Ryan Braun. And therein lies the problem in baseball in 2013. So many of us want to believe, but we also don't want to feel like idiots a few years later.
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