This post is part of our broader end-of-season content/awards lineup that’s being published on the site this week; click here for more information on that list, and to see the other awards and posts within.
Here, we announce our picks for Baseball Census’ first annual Media Good Guys Award: San Diego Padres catcher Austin Allen, Santa Barbara City College associate head coach Steven Hardesty, and the Frisco RoughRiders media relations department. Read on below for a bit more information on each of those winners, plus our honorable mention picks in each of those categories: player, coach, and team/organization.
Austin Allen, San Diego Padres
We saw Austin Allen more than virtually all the players we covered in 2017, from the very start of the year in mid-April to one of the final series of the summer at the very end of August, and throughout that entire time, he was nothing but helpful, approachable, insightful, and enjoyable to be around in a professional capacity. He remains one of our favorite interviews after this season, and we wish him the best moving forward knowing he’ll be able to seamlessly and professionally manage the increasing media demands that come with moving up the ranks towards the big leagues.
It helps that he put together a very, very good year on the field, too, though this award is more a nod to his professional accessibility from an interview perspective. For those curious, we’ve written several things about Austin Allen this year, too, including a June interview piece, a full June scouting report, and another, deeper feature interview from August. Undoubtedly, he’s one of the nicest, most approachable guys in professional baseball and it was a pleasure getting to know him a little bit in 2017.
Honorable Mention: Joe DeCarlo (Seattle Mariners), Justin Williams (Tampa Bay Rays), Austin Rubick (Ventura College/Milwaukee Brewers), Art Warren (Seattle Mariners), Collin Wiles (Texas Rangers), Fernery Ozuna (Arizona Diamondbacks), Michael Hermosillo (Los Angeles Angels).
Steven Hardesty, Santa Barbara City College
Winning this award based on his time in 2017 as the assistant coach at Ventura College, Steven Hardesty was far and away the most helpful coach we ran across this year. Always available for a quick quote about a player, or for more in-depth insight about the recruiting process, junior college life, and the development of players looking for four-year opportunities, it was a blessing for us to have run across Hardesty so early in our junior college coverage, as he made that realm a thousand times easier to navigate than it otherwise would have been. After the Ventura College season ended, Steven Hardesty took a position as the associate head coach at Santa Barbara City College — a phenomenal opportunity for him at a very good program, and also the perfect thing to get us up to the beaches of Santa Barbara more than a few times in the spring of 2018 to evaluate more prospects.
Honorable Mention: Shawn Roof (Arizona Diamondbacks), Jeff Bajenaru (Arizona Diamondbacks), Vince Maiocco (Taft College).
Frisco RoughRiders (AA, Texas Rangers)
This award specifically goes out to broadcasters Ryan Rouillard and Keith Raad, and video expert Jordan Gracey, who collectively made our week in Frisco, Texas at the end of May particularly unforgettable and exceptional. The RoughRiders more than any other minor league team we came across in 2017 do things the right way as far as media access and player accessibility goes, and we’re proud to name them our pick for the best team/organization’s media relations staff this year. There’s no doubt we’ll be back in Frisco during the 2018 season thanks to their openness, professionalism, and accessibility — and their gorgeous home ballpark with that right field lazy river doesn’t hurt, either.
Honorable Mention: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (High-A, Los Angeles Dodgers), Hillsboro Hops (short-season, Arizona Diamondbacks).
Congratulations to Austin Allen, Steven Hardesty, the Frisco RoughRiders, and our honorable mention picks, and thanks to all of them and more for being so helpful with interviews and more over the course of the season. We look forward to continuing to build relationships with all of these people and more as we continue to develop and expand the site!