Thus far, the offseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers has been mired in speculation about the divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt.
Does the team have enough expendable money to fill their roster holes?
Will Frank have to sell the team to a third party?
Is this organization dedicated to winning even with the front office distractions?
But no amount of off the field drama can sour the recognition being earned by Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp.
Both players would be the first to admit that personal accolades mean nothing, even after they each earned Silver Slugger awards and both finished in the top 10 in MVP voting.
On top of that, Kemp won a Gold Glove for his play in center field.
Ethier came in sixth and was sandwiched between two fellow NL West players, Troy Tulowitzski and Pablo Sandoval. The Dodgers' right fielder received two second place votes, three fourth place votes, and 113 total points.
Kemp finished 10th, earning two nods for fourth place and totaling 49 points.
When asked to comment about the awards, each young star will surely downplay the recognition they are receiving.
Don't let that fool you though, as the recognition of the youngsters will go a long way in the clubhouse. Having two players acknowledged as being amongst the elite in the National League is a positive experience for the entire team.
It motivates pitchers, knowing that they have two outstanding bats to support them for at least a couple more years.
It encourages those in the Dodgers' farm system that an organizational talent like Kemp can excel in the majors at such a young age.
It provides the Los Angeles fan base with alternative options, aside from "Mannywood," to rally around when they go to Chavez Ravine for a game.
And while celebrating the accolades of Ethier and Kemp might seem trivial with the absence of a trip to the World Series, we have to remember that championship teams aren't always built in one season, and sometimes not even two.
Joe Torre has guided the Dodgers to back-to-back NL West titles but has failed in each postseason against the Philadelphia Phillies, yet there is no manager in baseball better equipped to bounce back from such disappointing conclusions to consecutive seasons.
Torre knows that with two or three new pitchers, a new second baseman, and a (hopefully) rejuvenated Manny Ramirez, this team is very capable of taking home a World Series championship.
Which brings us full circle, right back to the organizational unrest.
Is there enough money?
Are there going to be new owners?
Will the front office be committed to winning for the long-haul?
So take a deep breath and enjoy the awards won by Ethier and Kemp, because this could be one long, dramatic offseason experience.
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