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11/08/12 3:33 PM ET
Stanton's scoreboard-breaking slam up for GIBBY
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- A Giancarlo Stanton smash, a sensational Justin Ruggiano grab and a sparkling new stadium are part of the fabric of the Marlins' 2012 season. They are also highlights that are up for consideration in MLB.com's annual Greatness In Baseball Yearly Awards. Major League Baseball's A-listers will take home 2012 GIBBYs -- the ultimate honors of the sport's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research. This year's GIBBY Awards feature nominees in 21 categories. Individual honors will go to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer. GIBBY trophies also will be awarded for the year's top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic and postseason moment, from MLB.com's Must C highlight reels. Stanton's nominated smash was his grand slam that shattered a scoreboard. It is a nominee in the Oddity of the Year category. Ruggiano is up for the Play of the Year GIBBY for his run-saving, twisting, leaping catch that robbed Toronto's Brett Lawrie of extra bases. And in the Storyline of the Year category is Marlins Park, a beautiful retractable-roof building that marks a new beginning for the franchise. In the past four years, fans have cast more than 40 million votes across various GIBBY categories, none of which are restricted to individual league affiliation. Fans can vote as many times as they want until balloting closes Sunday, Dec. 2, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Winners will be presented their GIBBY trophies at the MLB.com Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards extravaganza during the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Not surprisingly, Stanton is again being singled out for his prowess at the plate. In Roy Hobbs fashion, the slugger did some stadium damage with his grand slam on May 21. But instead of knocking out the lights like Hobbs did in "The Natural," Stanton took aim on an auxiliary scoreboard. Stanton scorched a grand slam off Rockies lefty Jamie Moyer in the fourth inning. The drive, estimated at 438 feet, remained just fair, and it smacked into the video scoreboard in left field. On impact, a block of lights flickered out. "Today is the first," Stanton said after the game. "We got something new today. But it came back to life." Indeed, it did. The scoreboard was reset and operating as good as new an inning later. But for a little bit, there was a huge, dark blotch. On June 23 at Marlins Park, Ruggiano made his sensational diving grab in the fifth inning to back up what was a terrific pitching performance by Josh Johnson. The play saved two runs. Yunel Escobar and Rajai Davis singled to open the inning -- the only two hits Johnson allowed -- and with two outs, Lawrie smoked a liner to deep center. Sprinting straight back, Ruggiano raced under the ball and made a leaping, diving grab to end the threat. Ruggiano walked to the dugout to a standing ovation from the 24,448 in attendance, and was greeted by high fives from his teammates, who waited on the edge of the field for him. "When a guy is pitching like that, I'll sell out my body for him," Ruggiano said that day. "For his sake, I'm glad I was able to make that catch." Even though Miami's overall season was a disappointment, some feel the MVP was Marlins Park. After 19 years sharing a football stadium with the Miami Dolphins, the Marlins rebranded themselves in their new home. They featured a new logo, new uniforms and a new building that can hold up to 37,000. The ballpark was packed with amenities like the 73-foot Home Run sculpture and a bobblehead museum, as well as air-conditioned comfort. "This whole process has been about the fans," Marlins president David Samson said on Opening Night. "The whole long saga of getting the ballpark was always about our fans and our guests. Now, it's up to them to enjoy it."