While Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz has made a name for himself hitting mammoth home runs, it's his personality that really shined throughout the 2017 season.Whether it was funny bat flips, handshakes with teammates or talking with opponents, he made sure to have fun and not take himself too seriously.
While Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz has made a name for himself hitting mammoth home runs, it's his personality that really shined throughout the 2017 season.
Whether it was funny bat flips, handshakes with teammates or talking with opponents, he made sure to have fun and not take himself too seriously. That helped earn Cruz a nomination in this year's Esurance MLB Awards for Personality of the Year.
• 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 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 Friday, Nov. 17, when winners are announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com starting at 8 p.m. ET.
Cruz's personality was on full display during the 2017 All-Star Game, when he strode to the plate and decided to take a picture with home-plate umpire Joe West.
"I thought about it before the game and told everybody I was going to take a picture with Joe West my first at-bat," Cruz said. "It was supposed to be a selfie, but I saw Yadier Molina say batting gloves would make it [difficult]."
Cruz isn't alone with a Mariners nomination. A Seattle fan is nominated for Best Fan Catch. In a game against the Yankees on July 21 at Safeco Field, the fan fully extended to grab Aaron Judge's 31st home run. The fan fell back into his seat, before immediately standing up to celebrate with the fans around him.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com.