For six months they shared the wide eyes and wild cheers of witnesses from a grateful region that fell in love with its baseball supermen.
Standing atop the mound at
Together, in cartoonishly creative fashion, the best players from Los Angeles' two major league baseball teams shared a greatness that transcended their connecting freeway and transformed a Southern California summer.
It was only fitting then that on Thursday afternoon, Kershaw and Trout were honored by sharing baseball history.
Kershaw was named the
"That's amazing, I can't even believe it. Just to be associated with that award, I'm blown away right now," Kershaw said during the televised ceremony.
Trout was even more emotional, fighting back tears during his interview, the award breaking through the 23-year-old's trademark cool. "It feels great," Trout said haltingly. "It's something special for sure. I'm just very excited.''
It was only appropriate that they followed each other into the record books after mimicking each other on the field during a dazzling summer duel, each creating a moment more memorable than the previous one, competing for highlights as if placing alternating hands on the handle of a bat.
One moment, Kershaw was throwing a no-hitter against the
From the middle of June until early July, Kershaw compiled a 41-inning scoreless streak, the fifth longest since baseball's expansion era began in 1961. That streak ended just in time for Trout to reclaim the national baseball stage by hitting a triple and double with two runs batted in to become the
Kershaw finished with one of the greatest seasons for a pitcher in modern baseball history — a 21-3 record with a 1.77 ERA — yet he had to overcome the long-held belief of the voting baseball writers that a pitcher doesn't appear in enough games to deserve an MVP award.
He also had one of the greatest seasons for a team leader, as the
Trout, meanwhile, had finished second in the American League MVP voting the previous two seasons, and some of his hitting numbers decreased this season. But he was still an MVP lock for his young career body of work after leading the
There was only one little thing that neither player accomplished. A big thing — the one trophy won by those dreaded San Francisco Giants.
While the Dodgers and
Trout didn't do much better for the Angels in their division series sweep by the
"You feel like when your team puts such a big investment in you, you definitely want to come through for them," said Kershaw, who signed a $215-million contract extension before last season. "The regular season is one thing. I need to try to do it in the postseason now too."
Both players could have many more chances in October, as both now have contracts that won't expire until after the 2020 season. That's as many as six more seasons of Hollywood's coolest sports buddy movie, now with a new and improved soundtrack.
You know how it goes. Get used to it. It will be sung in both Southern California stadiums throughout next summer. For once, it will actually be more than a wish. It will be a reality, times two.
"M-V-P … M-V-P … M-V-P.''