Election Day in Baseball

According to my Arizona Diamondbacks wall calendar today is Election Day. Initially I thought they were talking about voting on the Hall of Fame candidates for 2010 but I realized that we were still a month away from that occurring.

The Cy Young, Most Valuable Player, and Rookie of the Year voting has already occurred and we will wait until after the conclusion of the World Series before the winners of those awards will be announced.

It’s not the Roberto Clemente Award or the Hank Aaron Award both of those have likewise been voted upon and the winners announced. New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was given the Roberto Clemente Award. He also received the Hank Aaron Award along with first baseman Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals.

So I was curious what election was attributed to this particular day. A quick perusal of the Major League Baseball web site provided me with the answer. From now until December 11, MLB will allow fans to vote for the 2009 This Year in Baseball awards.

There are a series of awards being given: Hitter, Starting Pitcher, Rookie, Manager, Closer, Set-up Man, Defense, Performance, Play, Moment, Oddity, Executive, Unsung Star, and Postseason. With the exception of Postseason each of the categories are now available for voting. Each category has ten choices and you are allowed to select your choice among the nominees.

Considering the poor year the Arizona Diamondbacks had in 2009 it should come as no surprise that the team is sparsely represented among the nominees. In all categories there are only two where the Diamondbacks have an entry.

It is somewhat fitting that Arizona’s first nominee is in the oddity category. There was not a lot that went right for the team in 2009 on the field. In this case the nominee is not even a player but rather a fan at Chase Field.

During a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, a father holding a small child stood up and made a barehanded grab of a foul ball in the Diamond level of Chase Field. Both ball and baby were cradled in the father’s arms.

The second Diamondbacks entry is in the Unsung Star category. Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds goes up against Jason Bartlett (Tampa Bay), Shin-Soo Choo (Cleveland), Aaron Hill (Toronto), Adam Lind (Toronto), Jayson Werth (Philadelphia), Billy Butler (Kansas City), Nelson Cruz (Texas), Ubaldo Jimenez (Colorado), and Ben Zobrist (Tampa Bay).

Reynolds offensive numbers look very favorable to the other nominees so it will most likely end up being a popularity contest. Given the amount of coverage the Philadelphia Phillies are receiving by being in the World Series, it is my guess that Jayson Werth will be the guy to beat.

So Arizona Diamondbacks fans have their work cut out for them. In times like this I think we should invoke the time-honored tradition of Chicago politics. Vote early and vote often and don’t let being dead deter you from casting at least ten ballots.

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