When you go to a ballgame, you know what you're going to get -- a winner, a loser, hopefully some fine pitching and maybe a home run or two. If you're lucky, perhaps a walk-off or some other kind of milestone. But each year, there are a handful of moments in baseball where you learn to expect the unexpected.
There are 12 nominees for this year's GIBBY Award for Oddity of the Year, which highlights the season's most curious moments. From natural occurrences like thunder, swarms of bees and clouds infiltrating the playing field to age-old superstitions, these occurrences just go to show you never really know what you're going to see when you head to the ballpark.
Fans are invited to log on to MLB.com and vote for the Oddity of the Year in 2013. 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.
A number of this year's nominees involve player interaction -- a goofy celebration, for instance, or a strange play -- but a couple are simply acts of nature. On May 2, a swarm of bees caused a lengthy delay in an Orioles-Angels game, while some loud claps of thunder played a part in stalling a June 2 game between the Yankees and Red Sox in the Bronx. And on June 10 in Chicago, the Reds and Cubs played through some thick fog at the Friendly Confines.
As for man-made oddities, there were wacky plays like the hidden ball-trick -- which we saw twice this year, in Los Angeles and in Colorado -- and a "Who's on third?" moment that was straight out of an Abbott and Costello bit.
On April 19, Brewers speed demon Jean Segura truly put his baserunning skills to the test, while Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond put superstition to the test by shaving in the middle of a game on July 9.
We had a ball crushed through an outfield fence, a rosin bag crushed in a pitcher's hands and a rare double play. We also saw what ballplayers like to do on their day off.
And, of course, it wouldn't be a good Oddity list without the Philly Phanatic.
A number of Major League Baseball's A-listers will take home 2013 GIBBY 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.
Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.