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Esurance MLB awards are definitely weird

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Saturday’s Say Hey, Baseball looks at why there aren’t more crabs in Camden Yards’ outfield and almost wishes it didn’t look at the Esurance MLB awards.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Texas Rangers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

With the completion of the Esurance MLB awards on Friday night came the completion of the MLB award season. You probably didn’t watch. It’s probably a majority opinion to not have more than a passing interest in any of the awards handed out this week. If anything, it’s a little bit of methadone for baseball withdrawal symptoms. If you care for award stuff at all, it’s an anticlimactic end to a week of MVP and Cy Young reveals. As far as the awards open to MLB players go, these are the least prestigious. I just imagine MLB players being notified of Esurance victories and turning into human versions of the “It’s a avacado! Thaaankks” Vine kid.

Maybe it’s weird to even put this much thought into an award show sponsored by an insurance company. But, they could be fun! They’re a great opportunity to take stock of the previous season before worrying about whether Shohei Ohtani will even make it to MLB this year. There are highlight packages dedicated to Yasiel Puig’s escapades, how could they not be? Just, uh, stop everything about the way they’re currently done. Have some youths host, MLB, come on. (They’re clearly trying to develop young on-air personalities with youngins like @CespedesBBQ. Use them. Throw in some players.)

There could be some kind of glorious cheesiness to them, ready for all to revel in. Gimme low-budget tackiness and I’m in. Best fan interaction, best defensive play: All of the categories are right up my alley (the one that is dedicated to lovable off-field antics and electrifying highlight-reel plays). But any potential is overshadowed by the fact that even winners in most categories are probably not even on the radars of some casual fans.

Anthony Rendon took home the best performance award for a game in which he guided baseballs into every corner in (and out of) the park, plating ten runs and going 6-for-6. He beat out two (!) four-homer games. It was laughably incredible for fans and couch stat historians, and if I asked my neighbor about any of the nominees, they’d probably ask why I care so much about cricket.

The league’s best personalities were all put into a category. How can you enjoy a video compilation of Adrian Beltre’s greatest hits without the on-deck circle moment, and knowing that those neighbors think Adrian Beltre is a brand that came up with a weird way to store belts. The pinnacle of baseball, those electric postseason moments, probably don’t have the same impact for those who lack the context (ahem, the neighbors).

Maybe these neighbors I’ve made up for the purposes of illustration just suck and have no time for baseball because they’re do, like, lots of puzzles or something. But I need everyone who could care about Beltre to know about him trying to game the system. I need everyone who could be in awe of Justin Verlander’s slider to see it. These awards are supposed to highlight the best of MLB, but instead it highlights its long-known flaw of an inability to market itself.