It also is a shining example of how much fun there is to be had throughout the course of a baseball season. Sure, ballplayers take their profession seriously, and the spirit of competition brings out the ultra-competitive side to these athletes. But there's a place for the weird, the wacky, the bizarre and the hilarious. Those specific incidents reside at MLB.com's plucky side room called Cut4, where we chronicle the dozens of incidents per season that simply make us laugh.
Several teams are spotlighted as candidates nominated for this year's GIBBY Award in the category of Cut4 Topic of the Year. The Standoff, which pitted Van Slyke and Kelly against each other in an I-dare-you-to-blink showdown to see who would get off the field first after the anthem was finished, is just one of several GIBBY-worthy incidents. And now it's time to pick the very best of the lot.
Major League Baseball's A-listers will take home 2013 GIBBY (Greatness in Baseball Yearly) Award trophies -- the ultimate honors of the industry's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
This year's GIBBY Awards feature nominees in 22 categories. Individual honors will go to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.
GIBBY trophies also will be awarded for the year's top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic, regular-season moment and postseason moment from MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.
In the past five years, fans have cast more than 50 million votes across the various GIBBY categories, none of which was restricted to individual league affiliation.
Fan voting runs through Dec. 1.
Winners will be presented their GIBBY trophies at the MLB.com Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards extravaganza during the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.
Baseball, even at this level, is often referred to as a kid's game, so it's only fitting that the Connect Four matchup between Tigers pitcher Doug Fister and Giants pitcher George Kontos is one of our Cut4 nominations. We also learned this year that ballplayers know how to get their groove on, especially Gangnam Style, as evidenced by a wild video featuring Dodgers teammates Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp that immediately went viral.
A couple of Dodgers fans gained notoriety when one of them took off running just after the cameras panned on them during Kiss Cam. Agreeing to be interviewed later in the game, the obvious question was posed: Why bolt?
"I'm James," the fan said. "This is my sister, Christy."
Royals pitcher Ervin Santana had an innovative idea for next year's All-Star Game, which he tweeted out to the masses: an NL vs. American League dodgeball match, in conjunction with the Home Run Derby. "#celebratepitching," he suggested.
To illustrate how far-reaching the Cut4 nominations are, consider the tale of two very opposite celebrities. On one end, we have future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, whose 2012 knee injury in Kansas City was commemorated by an outfield banner that read "No Mo Zone," as well as a tape body outline -- all courtesy of his teammates. In St. Petersburg, "Call Me Maybe" singer Carly Rae Jepsen uncorked a ceremonial first pitch that landed two feet in front of the mound, rolled toward the home dugout and never came near Matt Moore, who was squatting behind the plate ready to catch it. Both are GIBBY Award finalists.
And who could forget Toronto's Munenori Kawasaki's postgame interview on Sportsnet, when he took out a book of English words to describe his walk-off hit against the Orioles on May 26? A pie, a handwritten prepared statement and a declaration of "I AM JAPANEEEEEEEEEEEESE" were all involved.
The Tigers have their Two Princes, the A's had thirteen-year-old Nick LeGrande throw out a ceremonial first pitch from 1,800 miles away, and the Pirates have their lovable, squeezable Parrot -- who completely whiffed on catching an, ahem, Fowl Ball.
The Phillies' Chase Utley sent a triple to the ivy wall at Wrigley, where out popped a second ball. In Miami, retired wrestler Bill Goldberg threw out the first pitch and promptly leveled the catcher.
The Reds and Brewers could jointly win a GIBBY, thanks to a very sportsmanlike altercation involving Brandon Phillips, who high-fived Brewers first baseman Yuniesky Betancourt while being tagged out during a sacrifice-bunt play.
That's the epitome of Cut4 -- the wackier, the better. And you get to make the call.