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2017 Azocar Awards: And the winners are ...

In honor of Oscars weekend, we celebrate baseball's best and brightest @JPosnanski

There are people who noticed that the Oscar Azocar Awards -- the baseball awards we came up with to correlate with the Academy Awards -- seem to be based on a very flimsy coincidence: That "Best Pitcher" sounds a lot like "Best Picture."

I would like to tell you that there was more thought put into the Oscar Azocars.

There are people who noticed that the Oscar Azocar Awards -- the baseball awards we came up with to correlate with the Academy Awards -- seem to be based on a very flimsy coincidence: That "Best Pitcher" sounds a lot like "Best Picture."

I would like to tell you that there was more thought put into the Oscar Azocars.

I really would like to tell you that.

In any case, the results are in -- thank you to all of you who voted. And now, here are your first Oscar Azocar winners. Please remember -- it's not about the winners. It's an honor just to be nominated.

Best Original Score

These are the best team-specific songs played at various ballparks throughout baseball. Numerous people were upset that "Go Cubs Go" was snubbed as a nominee -- well, yes, every year there are worthy candidates that get overlooked.

The nominees:

• "I Love LA," by Randy Newman, played every time the Dodgers win

• "Sweet Caroline," by Neil Diamond, played in the eighth inning of Red Sox games

• "Lazy Mary," by Lou Monte, played during the seventh-inning stretch at Mets games

• "Thank God I'm A Country Boy," by John Denver, played at Orioles games

• "New York, New York," by Frank Sinatra, played when theeeeeee Yankees win

And the Azocar goes to

"New York, New York."

Comment: Close voting between "New York, New York," and "Sweet Caroline," but in the end Sinatra carries the day. One of the coolest experiences of my life was being in Yankee Stadium in 2001, less than two months after 9/11, when Derek Jeter hit the extra-inning home run to win, and they played Sinatra's "New York, New York," over and over and over again because no one wanted to leave.

Video: ARI@NYY: Jeter's walk-off homer off Kim wins Game 4

Best Costume Design

This is best uniform, of course.

The nominees:

• Baltimore Orioles

• Los Angeles Dodgers

• New York Yankees

• Pittsburgh Pirates

• St. Louis Cardinals

And the Azocar goes to

The New York Yankees

Comment: The Dodgers and Cardinals, with their classic looks, garnered significant support. But in the end, the Yankee pinstripes won comfortably.

Best Cinematography

This is for the best ballpark. You could argue that stadiums have nothing whatsoever to do with cinematography and vice versa … and you would be right. Numerous people complained about the snubbing of Camden Yards in Baltimore and Coors Field in Denver.

The nominees:

• AT&T Park in San Francisco

• Fenway Park in Boston

• PNC Park in Pittsburgh

• Wrigley Field on the North Side of Chicago

• Dodger Stadium in L.A.

And the Azocar goes to

Fenway Park

Comment: It was very close -- the closest of all Azocar votes. Fenway's history and Green Monster barely edged the gorgeousness of AT&T Park. Wrigley Field and PNC Park were both very close as well. Dodger Stadium … not so much. Many questioned whether it deserved to be nominated.

Best Visual Effects

This refers to the best in-game tradition around baseball. Yeah, and you thought the cinematography category was a reach.

The nominees:

• The Bleacher Creature Roll Call -- "Derek .. Jeter!" -- at Yankee Stadium

• The Sausage Race in Milwaukee

• Steve Perry of Journey singing "Don't Stop Believin'" at Giants games

• The seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field

• The President's Race in Washington

And the Azocar goes to

The seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley.

Comment: No surprise here -- Bill Murray wins an Azocar before he wins an Oscar. There was a strong showing by the Sausage Race.

Video: WS2016 Gm3: Murray sings during 7th-inning stretch

Best Animated Feature

This is best mascot and, yes, I'm through trying to defend the connections between the Oscar categories and the Azocar categories.

The nominees:

• Bernie Brewer

• Mr. Red

• Mr. Met

• The Phillie Phanatic

• Orbit of the Houston Astros

And the Azocar goes to …

The Phillie Phanatic

Comment: This was a near-lock; the Phanatic is the most famous of the baseball mascots after the San Diego Chicken went solo. Michael Schur, executive producer of "The Good Place," called the Phanatic the Meryl Streep of mascots, so this could be the first of many Azocars to come.

Best Production Design

This is for the best front-office executives, who "design" their teams and, oh yeah, I said I wouldn't try to defend the categories.

The nominees:

• Jon Daniels, Rangers

• Jeff Luhnow, Astros

• Theo Epstein, Cubs

• Dayton Moore, Royals

• John Mozeliak, Cardinals

And the Azocar goes to …

Theo Epstein

Comment: Well, of course he won in a runaway. He came in as the lock, much like Emma Stone is a lock for La La Land. The Academy would also like to apologize to Mozeliak who, for some reason, was referred to as "Jeff" on the ballots. Mozeliak is, in my view, the most underrated GM in sports at the moment.


The award for best manager.

The nominees:

• Bruce Bochy, Giants

• Terry Francona, Indians

• Joe Maddon, Cubs

• Dave Roberts, Dodgers

• Buck Showalter, Orioles

And the Azocar goes to …


Comment: Very close between Maddon and Francona, the managers of last year's World Series.

Video: Muskat on Maddon's themes for the 2017 season

Best Actor in a Support Role

This is for specialty players -- relievers, bench players, etc. -- who make the biggest impact.

The nominees:

Javier Baez, Cubs

Dellin Betances, Yankees

Zach Britton, Orioles

Jarrod Dyson, Mariners

Andrew Miller, Indians

And the Azocar goes to …


Comment: In many ways, what Miller did in the postseason last year felt new -- he was Francona's superweapon to be used in any inning, at any point when it seemed like the game was in the balance. It wasn't exactly new: It borrowed from the 1970s (when relievers were called "firemen" and were often asked to put out fires). Still, it felt new, and now every team would love to have a Miller of their own.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

We are down to the two big awards, this one is for best everyday player. There were some who felt like Nolan Arenado was snubbed this year.

• The nominees:

Jose Altuve, Astros

Mookie Betts, Red Sox

Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays

Kris Bryant, Cubs

Mike Trout, Angels

And the Azocar goes to …


Video: Trout on his excitement for camp, Angels in 2017

Comment: Of course.

Best Pitcher

Was Chris Sale snubbed?

The nominees:

Madison Bumgarner, Giants

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

Corey Kluber, Indians

Jon Lester, Cubs

Max Scherzer, Nationals

And the Azocar goes to …


Comment: Of course.

Bill James has suggested we might need an award MVPOT -- Most Valuable Player Other than Trout. We'd also need a CYOK -- Cy Young Other than Kershaw. Bryant received the second-most votes in the Best Actor category and Bumgarner received the second-most votes for Best Pitcher. Maybe next year's Azocars will have a category for second-best player and pitcher.

Joe Posnanski is a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, an Emmy Award-winning writer and has been awarded National Sportswriter of the Year.