We have two more SB Nation Award winners to announce! There's a clear-cut winner for our Best A's Celebration, with Stephen Vogt's "Deja Vogt" walk-off single earning 29% of the vogts. The poll for Best A's Defensive Play remains neck-and-neck, but I guess we've got to call it sometime. Billy Burns' running grab has a 75-72 lead over Sam Fuld's airborne catch, and that's about the most separation we've seen between the two options. Burns is our winner, but really I would consider these two plays to be 1A and 1B rather than first and second. Both excellent plays by exciting outfielders.
We have one last category left. To be honest, it's a bit abstract: Best Unwritten Rules Breakage in MLB. I don't really know what to nominate for this. I guess you could look at it as, "coolest/funniest things that led to a pitcher getting mad and throwing at you next time up"? But then, usually those involve bat flips and celebrations, which was what our last category covered. Otherwise, unwritten rules situations usually boil down to two teams fighting, and that's not really a thing that interests me.
There was a nomination for Brett Lawrie sliding into Alcides Escobar. That makes sense, since it was the most prominent unwritten rules breakage that Oakland was involved in this year. But the slide and the hoopla that followed weren't the "best" of anything, unless you're looking for "Best way to distract yourself from a good baseball game with a bunch of other crap." In fact, a takeout slide at second base is the proper play in the unwritten rules, so really Lawrie was not breaking those rules with his actions, unless you're suggesting that he tried to hurt Escobar on purpose which is neither true, logical, nor cause for celebration. So, while I appreciate that nomination, it will not be in our poll.
There was also a nomination, from greenelephantasy, pointing out Troy Tulowitzki and his unbelievably long at-bats. I'm mostly including that link here because it's a really funny story and is worth a few minutes to read, and because I miss having Jeff Sullivan at SB Nation. But really, the pitch clock is a written rule now, so it doesn't qualify in this category.
So, that leaves us with one clear nominee: Jose Bautista's bat flip. He pimped his homer so hard that he may have gone beyond the unwritten rules and violated some sort of U.N. treaty. But, my god, it was beautiful. You may have opinions on bat flips and their place in baseball, but there is a time and place for just about everything in this world and that was the exact right moment for that particular action.
Bautista was in his first postseason at age 34, after half a decade as a superstar on a team that hadn't made the playoffs in 22 years. They fought back from down 0-2 in the series, went down by a run in the 7th inning of the deciding Game 5 on the flukiest play you've ever seen in your life, and then fought back to tie it and bring the longtime face of their franchise to the plate. And then he hit an 800-foot homer to take the lead and ultimately win the series. If that isn't cause for a big celebration, then I don't know what is.
Bat flips and celebrations can go too far, just like in the NFL where they sometimes get a bit carried away dancing after every mundane achievement. But Bautista picked the right spot and broke the unwritten rules for all the right reasons.
I'll have one more post for you this weekend to tie up all the SB Nation Award winners.