Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kemp Wants To Stay In LA, Despite McCourt Circus

Dodger fans' spirits were buoyed Monday to hear Matt Kemp reiterate his desires to stay a Dodger after his contract expires in 2012:

PHOENIX -- Alighting in the smoldering desert for his first All-Star Game, Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp insisted that he was "on Cloud 9," triple digits notwithstanding.

Kemp also said something that ought to warm the hearts and soothe the minds of fitful Dodgers faithful.

"I would love to stay in Los Angeles," the midseason National League Most Valuable Player candidate said on Monday, the eve of the Midsummer Classic. "I would give the Dodgers all the chances in the world to sign me back. It's the team that had faith in me and gave me a chance to become a Major League baseball player. I have nothing but great things to say about the organization. I have a lot of friends there."

The unstable financial status of the franchise that moved the sport to the West Coast 53 years ago has fans wondering whether it will be able to retain the likes of Kemp and fellow All-Stars Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw down the road when they become eligible for free agency.

"I have a lot of friends there," said Kemp, whose contract expires after the 2012 season, referring to Southern California. "I like the way it is, the way it's set up. I like my ballclub.

"I had great teachers down in the Minor Leagues. What the Dodgers did is they kept us all together. Right now, we're having fun, but we're not winning. It's way more fun to win baseball games.

"We have all the ability in the world. I feel my team can compete with anybody in the National League or American League. We need to get more big hits with runners on base. We have to score more runs. That's what we have not been doing."

Look, I appreciate Kemp's sentiment but even I know that we can't compete with anybody in the National League, not with Juan Uribe emo-ing his way to a Mendoza-line average, among other second-tier players' woes. But I appreciate the Bison's love for the hometown fans, and hearing an allegiance from Kemp that sounds almost so absurd, you'd think he's as much of a Dodger fan as one of us stalwarts, who hang with the team through thick and thin. Let's keep Kemp, please?

Can we resolve this McCourt situation, like, pronto?