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Letters: Debating Matt Kemp's value

For whatever reason, the Dodgers outfielder doesn't get the MVP award.

November 25, 2011
  • Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp points skyward after hitting a two-run home run against Angels.
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp points skyward after hitting a two-run… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

Ryan Braun over Matt "Almost Triple Crown" Kemp for National League MVP? Since when did baseball writers rely on BCS computers for postseason award voting?

Mark J. Featherstone

Windsor Hills

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How did Matt Kemp, according to most baseball experts the best player in baseball in 2011, not win the National League MVP? He just missed winning the triple crown, which hasn't been done in the NL in more than 70 years. He led the league in home runs, RBIs and runs scored, third in batting average and second in stolen bases, and won the Gold Glove award for center fielders. He was a better hitter, runner and defense outfielder than Ryan Braun.

I don't understand it

Robert Hertwig

La Quinta

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When the NL most-valuable-player results were released, announcing Ryan Braun the winner over the "favored" Matt Kemp, I couldn't wait to read The Times' sports section. Sure enough, Bill Plaschke didn't disappoint me, using every possible sports columnist rhetoric, cliche and Jim Murray-ism to make his point. All he did, probably, was dust off the same column used when Magic finished second to Michael Jordan. Regardless of how the Braun-Kemp duel played out, an entire body of national sportswriters made a justifiable call.

If the selecting media had all been from the Los Angeles basin, it would've been Matt Kemp, hands down. Guaranteed.

Down the stretch, Braun (regardless of Fielder in the lineup) continuously came up with big hits. That's an MVP. Kemp, meanwhile, was going after the triple crown. That's being a great ballplayer, but not an MVP.

If the Giants' Pablo Sandoval had equaled Kemp's numbers and finished second to Braun, Plaschke's column probably would've been, "Jeez, we miss having NFL football in Los Angeles."

Obrey Brown

Beaumont

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The happiest person at Matt Kemp's $160-million signing was his agent, Dave Stewart.

Charles K. Sergis

Redondo Beach

Walt's legacy

The one thing that wasn't stressed enough in your obituary after the sad passing of Walt Hazzard is how transformative he was in a town that hadn't yet fallen in love with college basketball.

In many ways, Hazzard was Magic before Magic. When Earvin Johnson came to town, we'd already watched him at Michigan State. We knew what to expect. But when Hazzard brought his flashy East Coast style of basketball to Westwood in the early 1960s, it was a complete revelation. No one out here had seen anything like it. It was a shocking early version of Showtime.

The no-look passes, the behind-the-back dribbles, threading bounce passes through arms and legs. In early UCLA practices in Hazzard's first year, balls were bouncing off players' heads, because none of them had learned to anticipate when and how he'd get the ball to them.

He was the consummate unselfish point guard. He and Gail Goodrich remain the finest backcourt pair ever to play for the legendary John Wooden, who always quietly told friends that the Hazzard-Goodrich-Keith Erickson group that won his first NCAA championship was also his all-time favorite. Even today, it remains the most exciting college team many of us have ever seen.

It wasn't just that Hazzard kick-started the greatest college basketball dynasty in history, it was the way he did it. Anyone who was there to watch him weave his own special spell on a basketball court never will forget it.

Steve Bisheff

Irvine

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In consideration of the current portrayal of sports personalities in the media and the truly historic paradigm shift that the Walt Hazzard-led Bruins represented in 1964, the story of his passing should have been above the fold on Page 1.

Michael Davidson

Altadena

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Your obituary of Walt Hazzard refers to him as an "ex-UCLA coach and basketball star." Respectfully, Walt Hazzard will always be a "former" but never an "ex" Bruin in any capacity. There are no "ex" Bruins.

Skip Nevell

Los Angeles

(UCLA 1956)

Ben's bad Bruins

It's hard to ask for Ben Howland's head after his earlier success, but he seems to have gone the Leonard Tose route. For the past few years now, his players have shown a real disconnect to his program. Forget about being late for team meetings and missing buses, most damaging is that they are fundamentally poor and lazy in regard to both offensive and defensive schemes, and all with almost no consequences. They can't or won't play defense, his trademark asset.

A fresh face is needed before our program gets "Lavinized" again. Sorry, Ben, thanks for the memories

Allan Kandel

Los Angeles

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Following Kansas' victory over UCLA in the Maui Invitational, Jayhawks Coach Bill Self said, "We really came here to play Duke." Sadly, UCLA used to be a program that teams feared, but under Ben Howland the Bruins have simply become a bump in the road that elite teams cruise past in order to play one another. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Jerry Leibowitz

Culver City

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