When people think of baseball awards they think mostly of the BBWAA awards: the MVP, the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and such. Despite that, there are lots of other awards, of course. Major League Baseball has spent a lot of time coming up with competitor awards to that of the BBWAA — Hank Aaron Award anyone? — only to have them remain fairly obscure in comparison to the BBWAA awards.
So this year MLB is doing something a bit different. Instead of awards that are direct analogs to the BBWAA awards, they’re creating something akin to the MTV Movie Awards. An award that, while dealing with the same broad subject matter as the Oscars, comes at things from a very different approach and awards different, somewhat quirky accomplishments. Ladies and gentlemen, the Esurance MLB Awards:
Featuring 24 award categories, supplemental to the traditional awards and built in part from the MLB.com GIBBY Awards and the MLB Network Social Media Awards, the 2015 Esurance MLB Awards include such performance-based categories as Best Major Leaguer, Best Bounceback Player and Best Breakout Player. The awards also feature a number of categories outside the field of play, such as Best Social Media Personality, Best Fan Catch, Best Video Board Moment, Best Interview and Best Celebrity Fan. Fans can vote exclusively at MLB.com/awards and the 30 Club websites across computers, smartphones and tablets.
There will be a hybrid voting process with five different groups of voters – fans, members of the baseball media, club front-office personnel, former MLB players and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) members – each count for 20% of the winner selection. Winners in each category will receive the trophy known as the GIBBY (Greatness in Baseball). The award show will be on both MLB Network and in MLB.com on November 20.
Eh, it’s programming content for baseball in the dead period between the World Series and the Winter Meetings. And it’s a sponsored thing so MLB will get some big Esurance bucks, I suppose. But I predict that, like a lot of non-BBWAA awards, fans will generally ignore them because they’re not seen as OFFICIAL or ESTABLISHED or whatever people think of the BBWAA Awards, no matter how compromised those awards are themselves.
The only other thing I’ll say is if the “Best Fan Catch” is some dude endangering his baby to get a $15 baseball, I’m going to write something highly serious and scolding about it, because unlike the folks at MLB, I know EXACTLY what content fans want to consume.