Whenever a foul ball comes whistling through the stands, some fans move to protect themselves and their loved ones. Some protect their food or drink. But some heroes jump up to catch the ball while holding onto their food.One of those heroes emerged at a Cardinals-Padres game on Sept. 7.
Whenever a foul ball comes whistling through the stands, some fans move to protect themselves and their loved ones. Some protect their food or drink. But some heroes jump up to catch the ball while holding onto their food.
One of those heroes emerged at a Cardinals-Padres game on Sept. 7. For making a barehanded snag while holding onto barbecue in his left hand, this Padres fan earned himself a nomination for Best Fan Catch in this year's Esurance MLB Awards.
• Vote for this season's best stars and moments in the Esurance MLB Awards
The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor MLB's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: Media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at MLB.com and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) members.
The MLB Awards are an all-inclusive program, encompassing the top players and performances from both the American and National Leagues from Opening Day through the end of the postseason.
Voting led off with seven categories on Sept. 18 at mlb.com/awards, serving as the grand entrance of a program that will unveil nominees for Best Call, TV/Radio; Best Major Leaguer, Postseason; and Best Postseason Moment following the Fall Classic's final out. The ninth inning of voting will begin around BBWAA Awards week, which opens when the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award winners are unveiled on Monday, Nov. 13. Voting for the final five categories will begin at 7 p.m. ET on the following dates:
• Best Executive: Thursday, Nov. 9.
• Best Rookie: Monday, Nov. 13.
• Best Manager: Tuesday, Nov. 14.
• Best Pitcher: Wednesday, Nov. 15.
• Best Major Leaguer: Thursday, Nov. 16.
MLB Awards season will culminate on Friday, Nov. 17, when winners are announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com starting at 8 p.m. ET.
Like many fans, this unnamed Padres fan was still working on his food in the bottom of the first inning when shortstop Erick Aybar came up to bat. But when Aybar popped a foul ball down the third-base line, he was ready to make the play and was rewarded with a kiss afterward.
And the best part? He didn't spill any of his food.
Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter at @benweinrib.