MLB fan voting Inception: fans vote for . . . best fans!


Major League Baseball just issued a press release in which it announced the opening of their website, sponsored by Esurance, where fans can vote for “best hitter” and “best pitcher” and “best rookie” and stuff like that. I don’t much see the point of such “awards” and I’m guessing that, league orders requiring winners to say they are honored notwithstanding, I doubt the players see much point to it either.

In addition to all of those, MLB and Esurance has a new category for this year: Fan of the Year.

This year, Esurance and Major League Baseball are celebrating the start of awards season with an all-new award: “MLB Fans of the Year presented by Esurance.” The award recognizes baseball fans in a completely new way and empowers them to vote for their favorite team’s biggest fan.

“Empowers” can be translated to “makes fans flock to our sponsored web page, but let’s allow MLB to have its nuance. Anyway:

Once on the website, fans will choose between four Fan of the Year nominees per club. Fans’ votes will be cast via posts on Twitter by including a desired nominee’s unique hashtag. Voting percentages will be available throughout the voting period showing in real time where each nominee stands. Fans can vote as many times as they want throughout the course of the voting period and the nominee with the most hashtag uses will be declared the winning Fan of the Year for their club. Each winner will be part of the inaugural class of MLB Fans of the Year.

Which is much the way they handle the Clemente Award, so you know this is a sacred and hallowed honor. Or maybe it’s just a gambit to drive traffic. Who can say?!

All I know is that Major League Baseball has become addicted to fans voting on stuff. Now it has fans voting on fans. That’s some “Inception”-level stuff right there.


MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.