|Kemp back for vengence in 2012 NL MVP hunt|
|Written by Logan Zimmerman, Daily Vidette Sports Columnist|
|Wednesday, 25 April 2012 10:44|
In a day and age where cash rules everything around us, sports fans are pressed to find an athlete willing to play for the love of the game and personal pride, especially one who attracts positive attention to himself and his team.
Overshadowed by $200 million contract signings and the possibility of tampered drug tests, Major League Baseball and numerous All-Star players have created media frenzy both on and off the field during the offseason.
However, the 2011 National League MVP runner-up has started to created a storm of his own by making it a well-known fact that he is picking back up where he left off last season and coming for the MVP award that rightfully belongs to him.
After receiving the shaft in last year’s National League MVP voting, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp has made it his personal mission to take back the award given to the controversy-plagued Ryan Braun and put the 2012 award in his own trophy collection this year.
In just a handful of games, Kemp has already managed to lead the league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in, all while receiving back-to-back National League Player of the Week honors dating back to the end of last season.
But Kemp, like all superstars, has a unique ability to not only make him better but to also influence the productivity of both his team and his teammates.
During Kemp’s initial hot streak, the Dodgers have compiled an early commanding lead in the National League West division, a feat that could not have become a reality without Kemp on the field for them.
Although he hits in the number three spot of the Dodgers lineup, Kemp has also allowed the intimidation he has on opposing pitchers to translate into more opportunities for players like Andre Ethier batting behind him.
Thanks to his spot in the lineup, Ethier has remained in contention to become one of the top run-producing hitters in the league due to the scoring opportunities Kemp has created for his fellow Dodger.
As Kemp continues to make his team and teammates around him more productive, the All-Star has also done more than anyone expected by increasing his own level of productivity as well.
While some may have seen Kemp’s 39 home runs in 2011 as the peak performance for the stud outfielder, Kemp personally set a goal for himself of 50 home runs and 50 stolen bases by the end of the regular season.
The unmatched statistical milestones may be out of reach for the Los Angeles outfielder, but Kemp’s self-driven attitude and desire to perform better than his competitors has set him apart into an elite level of play.
Unlike many star athletes who simply try to maintain a consistent level of good production, Kemp has chosen to unleash what he calls “beast mode,” an inner belief that he describes as no excuses and an attitude that cares about nothing except for doing work and getting the job done.
This ideology has led Kemp to an unbelievable season in 2011, but now the phenom is hoping to translate his freakish levels of talent into a competitive season for his newly sold $2 billion Dodgers team.
Now, under new ownership, Kemp has seized the opportunity to turn his organization around by putting the team on his back and the competition for National League MVP in his dust.
Even though Kemp never received the full credit he deserved for an unbelievable 2011 campaign, the All-Star outfielder will not stop until “beast mode” brings the MVP home in 2012.