There are awards that, as fans, we kind of care about, and are given to argue and discuss. Then there are awards that, as fans, we don't really care about at all. The Roberto Clemente Award is one such award. It is not an irrelevant award by any means and it serves a great purpose, but it's an award that means a hell of a lot more to the nominees than it does to the fans. I imagine most Mariners fans couldn't tell you how many Mariners have won through the award's history. (The answer is three. Three Mariners have won. Now more Mariners fans could tell you how many Mariners have won through the award's history!)
So with that awesome selling job by yours truly out of the way, I have news, by which I mean Greg Johns has news:
Congrats to Felix Hernandez, the Mariners' nominee for the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award. Each MLB team nominates one player.
In case you need a refresher, the Roberto Clemente Award "recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement." Felix has been awesome on the field and has assumed a leadership role, and he's also long been active in good causes off the field, so he seems like a fine candidate to this biased observer who'd like to see Felix retire having collected every bit of hardware possible.
Would you also like to see Felix win, just because? You can vote for him here. The results aren't determined entirely by the fan vote, but the fans do get one total vote to put alongside those of a small panel. Interestingly, last year's winner - Tim Wakefield - hasn't been given a chance to defend his title, as he wasn't even nominated. Neither was 2009's winner, Derek Jeter. From this we can conclude that, after finally being recognized for their hard work, both Wakefield and Jeter have ceased all benevolent off-field activity because there's nothing in it for them anymore. Such selfish men!
One thing that's weird to me is that the article linked above paints Felix as a guy who's been busy in the community for years. He's also been a great pitcher and a great teammate for years. And yet the Mariners' 2010 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award was Ryan Rowland-Smith. Don't get me wrong, I loved RRS and still love RRS and he's as great a guy as any in the league, but he was never going to win that thing. The Mariners didn't even give themselves a fighting chance!
Finally, one notes that the bad players are by and large absent from the running. Last year's vote included guys like RRS, John Baker, Jensen Lewis, and Andy LaRoche, among a few others. This year, the worst candidates are probably either Ian Desmond or Juan Pierre, and Pierre has 166 hits. How bad could he be?