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MLB announces new year-end awards that includes fan voting

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Given that the awards handed out at the end of each season, such as Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and MVP, involves members of the BBWAA casting their respective votes, Major League Baseball has announced a new batch of year-end awards that will seek input from fans to increase their involvement and given them the sense they have a say in which players, teams, etc. are recognized.

Dubbed the Esurance MLB Awards, the new slate of winners will be announced during a made-for-TV awards show event to air on MLB Network on Nov. 20, a perfect time given current, baseball-related programming is at its lowest.

The new awards are inspired and built upon the MLB Network’s GIBBY awards, which were launched in 2010, and are described as follows, per a release (via Hardball Talk):

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.

Fan voting will comprise 20 percent of the final results with the other 80 percent being split among four other entities.

“The Esurance MLB Awards will recognize the ways today’s Major League players make an impact both on the field and through fan engagement,” said Noah Garden, MLB executive vice president of business in a press release, via Big League Stew.

In essence, it’s a continuation  of the “American Idol”-ization of fan involvement in this “everyone gets a voice,” social media world in which we live. While the “Best Social Media Personality” award obviously will not overtake the importance, grandeur and esteem afforded by winning, say, the MVP award, anything that helps fans feel more involved and connected to baseball can’t hurt, even if some of the awards arguably are a bit silly.