Vote for Rays' top fan of 2016

Winners on all 30 clubs will take home tickets, major bragging rights

Vote for Rays' top fan of 2016

Players, managers and executives receive their fair share of recognition each season. But what about the fans?

The most important part of the game -- you -- should be cheered, too. That is why Major League Baseball has stepped up to the plate to honor the inaugural MLB Fans of the Year presented by Esurance.

Nominees from all 30 Major League clubs will be featured on MLB.com/awards through Monday at 2 p.m. ET -- with winners to be unveiled an hour later at 3 p.m.

Vote NOW for the MLB Rays Fan of the Year presented by Esurance

Winners whose clubs reach the League Championship Series or Fall Classic will receive tickets to root for the home team on a late-October night. As for the top fans whose teams fall short of the sport's semifinals? Have no fear, as there's always next year (and free tickets to an April 2017 game of their choice).

Major League Baseball and the 30 clubs worked tirelessly to identify the sport's top supporters. But after great debate, the following Rays fans were chosen among a long list of deserving candidates:

Irving Dupre: By imparting his love of the Rays on his granddaughter, Alexa, Dupre (of Valrico) has fostered the next generation of Rays fandom.

Ky Koch: A Rays season ticket holder since day one, Koch (of Clearwater) funds an outing that brings a group of kids to a game each year.

Carol Dennis: Dennis (of Dunedin) has been a Rays season ticket holder since the beginning. She takes a long time to get to her seats as she says hi to her Rays family.

George Stone: Stone (of Seminole), who presides over a baseball league for special needs kids, helps youngsters meet Rays players at games and events.

The MLB Fans of the Year presented by Esurance program represents the "first inning" of the Esurance MLB Awards, which honor greatness in Major League Baseball and serve as the grand finale of the game's awards season. Esurance MLB Awards voting will run from 4 p.m. ET on Sept. 19 to 2 p.m. ET on Nov. 11 and include nominees in 19 categories -- from Best Major Leaguer to Best Social Media Post to Best MLB Interview.

Media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and fans will determine the most #AwardWorthy players and moments from 2016. The MLB Awards winners will be announced Friday, Nov. 18, live on MLB.com and MLB Network.

Zachary Finkelstein is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.