For the first time, the Baseball Writers Association of America awards are being announced Hollywood-style -- on live television with pre-announced nominees.
Were this really like the Oscars, there might be statuettes for, say, best performance in a supporting role (Marco Scutaro), best costume design (Josh Reddick for "Spiderman") and achievement in sound editing (for any broadcast featuring Grant Balfour's profanity-filled ninth).
A film about the Dodgers' second half ("Titanic") would go home empty-handed.
But while the format is new, the awards remain traditional. For four nights starting Monday at 6 p.m. on the MLB Network, an hourlong show will reveal the biggies: Rookie of the Year (Monday), Manager of the Year (Tuesday), Cy Young (Wednesday) and MVP (Thursday).
Immediately after the announcements, complete voting results will appear at BBWAA.com. Balloting was conducted at the end of the regular season, so postseason play was no factor.
The nominees from the Bay Area are Giants catcher Buster Posey (for MVP), A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (for Rookie of the Year) and the Giants' Bruce Bochy and the A's Bob Melvin (for Manager of the Year).
To help build the drama for this week's revelations, let's take one last look at the cast of characters:
JACKIE ROBINSON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (Monday)
N.L. finalists: Todd Frazier (Reds), Bryce Harper (Nationals), Wade Miley (Diamondbacks)
Who will win: Harper
Who should win: Harper. This isn't a clear-cut choice, no matter how much the Nationals' 19-year-old outfielder dominated the hype machine. The under-the-radar Frazier was just as good, or better, in several categories while Miley was 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA. Harper gets the nod because of his huge edge over Frazier in runs (98 to 55) and stolen bases (18 to 3). He'd be the first player to earn the award as a teenager; Harper turned 20 on Oct. 16.
A.L. finalists: Cespedes, Yu Darvish (Rangers), Mike Trout (Angels)
Who will win: Trout.
Who should win: Trout. Cespedes ranked second among A.L. rookies in runs (70), hits (142), doubles (25), home runs (23), RBI (82), walks (43), extra-base hits (53) multiple-hit games (40), total bases (246) and slugging percentage (.505). He ranked first in bad timing, having done all that in the shadow of Trout (more on him later).
MANAGER OF THE YEAR (Tuesday)
N.L. finalists: Dusty Baker (Reds), Bruce Bochy (Giants) and Davey Johnson (Nationals).
Who will win: Johnson
Who should win: Johnson. Bochy spent his October playing chess while his competitors played checkers. Johnson and Baker, in contrast, suffered embarrassing first-round playoff exits. But for the regular season, Johnson deserves credit for guiding Washington to an 18-game improvement over the previous season and delivering the first postseason game in the nation's capital in 79 years.
A.L. finalists: Bob Melvin (A's) Buck Showalter (Orioles), Robin Ventura (White Sox)
Who will win: Showalter.
Who should win: Melvin. Both Melvin and Showalter had mind-boggling seasons, making this the most agonizing choice on the list. The A's improved by 20 games; the Orioles improved by 24. The A's had a major-league-best 14-walk off wins; the Orioles went 29-9 in one-run games -- and 16-2 in extra innings.
In the end, though, the question isn't who did the most -- it's who did it with the least. On that count, it's Melvin, by a narrow margin, after he captured an A.L. West title despite a rookie-laden pitching staff, a lineup featuring several players out of position and the lowest payroll in the league.
CY YOUNG (Wednesday)
N.L. finalists: R.A. Dickey (Mets), Gio Gonzalez (Nationals), Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
Who will win: Dickey
Who should win: Kershaw. Another toughie because Gonzalez led the league in wins (21), Dickey in strikeouts (230) and Kershaw in ERA (2.53). Voters in recent years are putting less of a focus on the W-L total, which might be good news for Kershaw (14-9). Besides his second straight ERA title, the Dodgers left-hander had the lowest WHIP (1.02 to edge the Giants' Matt Cain) and finished second in batting average against (.210).
A.L. finalists: David Price (Rays), Justin Verlander (Tigers), Jered Weaver (Angels)
Who will win: Price
Who should win: Verlander. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com makes the persuasive case that in this scenario, where all other numbers are similar, Verlander should get the nod because of his heavier workload. The Tigers right-hander led the majors in innings (2381/3) and faced 120 more hitters than Price and 224 more than Weaver. Stark writes: "That, friends, is what Cy Youngs do. They take on responsibility of acehood in a way other pitchers don't."
N.L. finalists: Posey, Ryan Braun (Brewers), Chase Headley (Padres), Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), Yadier Molina (Cardinals)
Who will win: Posey
Who should win: Posey. A day before the All-Star game, Posey was asked to pick the N.L. MVP. "We just finished playing Pittsburgh,'' the Giants catcher said, "and it would be hard not to argue for McCutchen."
Shortly after that pronouncement, Posey started making his own case for the award He batted .385 with 60 RBI and a .646 slugging percentage after the break and became the first N.L. catcher to win the batting crown since Ernie Lombardi in 1942. McCutchen was terrific, too, but the Pirates faded as the Giants surged.
Posey would join Johnny Bench and Thurman Munson as the third catcher to win a Rookie of the Year, a World Series and an MVP over the span of his career.
A.L. finalists: Adrian Beltre (Rangers), Miguel Cabrera (Tigers), Robinson Cano (Yankees), Josh Hamilton (Rangers) and Trout
Who will win: Cabrera
Who should win: Trout. As with that other election day, the one Nov. 6, this topic causes the kind of hostile, divided debate that makes Facebook members click "unfriend." Cabrera looks to be a no-brainer after winning the Triple Crown -- the first since 1967! -- for a division-winning team. But Trout was the most valuable all-around player. He batted .326, while becoming the first player ever to hit 30 homers, steal at least 45 bases (he had 49) and score at least 125 runs (he had 129). The statistic Wins Above Replacement -- or WAR, which is what it causes whenever it's brought up -- factors in defense and baserunning and gives Trout a decisive edge. (Baseball-reference.com has a terrific overview of WAR on its home page.)
That's it for 2012. Or, as they say in Hollywood, it's a wrap.