We kicked off our recap of the 2019 La Vida Baseball Awards by referring to 2019 as an "exciting season." To which the entire year of 2020 said, "Hold my beer."
Life as we know it changed, and Major League Baseball most decidedly looked different this past year. But, love it or hate it, for many the MLB season was a tent pole of normalcy in a world flipped like a bat.
Taking solace in that which we can enjoy amongst the turmoil, we're back to honor our favorite players, fans, and moments from the 2020 MLB season. Shout-outs this year range from the biggest corazón in the league to the MLBer you just have to follow across social media.
So, without further ado, your 2020 La Vida Baseball Award winners are:
Swag Alert Award: Javy Báez
Who’s got the most swag, style, attitude off the field? We narrowed our list from 100 to 3: Francisco Lindor, Javy Báez or Aroldis Chapman.
The bottom line is these guys all have swag for days and we all need to up our style game.
Hottest Wheels: Jon Jay's Bicycle
Is it the pink tires or the overall "Saved By The Bell" aesthetic that make The Federalist's circa-1993 cruiser so damn appealing? The world may never know. But what we do know is that more than any $$$ whip or tricked-out truck, this two-wheeler is one HOT ride!
Best Moves: Yoán Moncada
So many players have style, so many have grace, so many have swagger, but to have it all in one place... come on, there can be only one. And though we tip our proverbial caps to Ronald Guzmán and Randy Arozarena, we've got to hand this one over to a man built to move: the one-and-only Yoán Moncada.
Biggest Corazón Award: Nelson Cruz
It's been a year where so many gave back to help others in a time of need, and there's no denying our biggest heart award could easily go to Nelson Cruz, Pedro Martínez or Miguel Cabrera. They are all winners in the game of life, but only one can take home the Biggest Corazón Award, and that someone is Mr. Boomstick himself.
Best Game on the Field: José Abreu
This is our MVP. This is our titan of the season. When the votes were tallied, Mr. Abreu was our clear favorite for his dominating performance and his powerhouse hitting that routinely launches balls out of sight. But that doesn't mean we're without respect for Manny Machado and José Ramírez, who've given fans exactly what they want all season long.
Brightest Future: Fernando Tatís Jr.
I guess the only question is, should Fernando always be wearing shades? With a future so bright, he might get detached retinas. Steeped in baseball from birth, the Padres' shortstop showed us time and again that he has the skills to pay the bills.
Most Shareworthy: New Spin The Bottle (@williamsjerez25)
Spoiler Alert: you will likely agree that the original version of Spin The Bottle is much, MUCH more enjoyable (COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding.) Courtesy of Dominican baseballer Williams A. Jerez, this game still requires a spinning bottle and still ends with a kiss... that of a flaming fastball upon an unlucky participant's backside. Don't sign us up.
Best Backyard Bat Flip: Never Bat Flip Your Wife (@noah_vaughan11 & @rileysartain)
The only thing better than capturing pure emotion on video is when you add a bat flip to the celebration. You won’t be disappointed watching a father-son emotional moment, a son talking trash to his dad and a husband bat flipping his better half, but forgetting about her sizzling softball skills.
Best Tweet: Randy Wilkins (@pamsson)
In a searingly honest and illuminating Twitter thread, filmmaker Randy Wilkins broke down not just the inadequacies in Major League Baseball's response to the killing of George Floyd, but the systemic racism promulgated by MLB. Born from a love of baseball and the outrage of countless injustices, Wilkins succinctly captures the anger stirred in so many by the toothless and tardy statement.
Must Follow MLBer Award: Johnny Cueto (@johnnycueto47)
If you are on social media and you don’t follow Johnny, @arod or @realcarlosgomez then you really aren’t on social media. If great content is what you’re looking for then slam that “follow” button on all three. But only one can be our Must Follow of 2020.
Photo of the Year: California wildfire lights up the sky above Juan Marichal
We've dug deep through the archives of our globe-trotting La Vida Baseball photographer, Jean Fruth, to decide which of her stunning photos best captures the year. Thousands of photos came down to three stand-outs: the last meaningful games played in front of fans at the Caribbean Series, MLB Opening Day in front of cardboard cutouts, and - our winner - the eerie glow cast by California's raging wildfires above the statue of the great Juan Marichal.
Best Fan Submission: This Isn't A Mirror (@baseballashlynn77)
Being baseball fanaticos, we love the fans. We love them even more when they send us videos showcasing their true passion for baseball. While we'd love to be able to shine a spotlight on ALL the amazing submissions we get, that'd... well, that'd take a while. Here is our number one hit.