With the East Coast in a deep freeze (the thermometer on my dashboard read nine degrees this morning), Opening Day can't get here fast enough.
What better way to warm up than to talk baseball, when the weather is warm, we don't have to put on three layers of clothes to go outside and the crack of the bat echoes in ballparks across the country.
While winning the World Series is every player's ultimate goal, anyone who says that individual accolades and honors are meaningless is well, lying.
Whether you are a professional ballplayer or a working stiff like myself, everyone likes being commended for their hard work.
It's human nature—we appreciate having our hard work and dedication to our craft being acknowledged. It can be something as small as a pat on the back or an email from our boss saying "nice job," or something as big as a raise and a promotion.
Now it's true that the biggest stars in the game typically receive all of the accolades and attention, but simply being considered for one of the game's individual awards brings with it instant gratification for players, regardless of how they are perceived by fans and the media alike.
Keep in mind, I am not saying that the players and managers on the pages that follow will win these awards, merely that they will be in the conversation when the season comes to an end.
With that said, let's take a look at some surprising contenders for that hardware in 2013.