If you haven’t heard about it yet then you must not have a Twitter account. MLB Network’s (MLBN) Face of MLB is a bracket-style competition that faces off each of the fan voted “face of the franchise” players against each other. The competition is now down to the Final Four: David Wright of the New York Mets, Eric Sogard of the Oakland Athletics, Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners and Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays.Not who you thought it would be, huh? While Wright and Hernandez may be big names, not one of the teams is a team that gets a lot of press on a regular basis. First are two east coast teams, both usually overshadowed by the New York Yankees and then there are two American League West teams. Let’s face it, not many in the eastern U.S. stay up late to watch the A’s battle the Mariners!
It has also pitted fans from all over the nation against each other in a social media standoff! Votes are counted using hashtags on Twitter that are announced daily on MLBN’s show The Hot Stove. The fans are really getting into it, probably more than they should be. Yet many baseball fans, myself included, have stayed up for the good part of what has now turned into several nights to vote for their favorite players and support their teams. It has become not just a Twitter frenzy where the votes are counted, but posts began surfacing on and are now starting to take over other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Google+.
The results of the competition so far have really shown what fans from all over can do if they organize. For instance, even though Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers lost out to Wright, the A’s fans and the Dodgers fans formed an alliance to help each other in the voting. The alliance blossomed out of their mutual dislike for the San Francisco Giants and catcher Buster Posey. While I am definitely a bit biased here, it is my opinion that the A’s fans have, by far, been the most creative and diligent in voting. They’ve taken their second baseman from being previously known only for his glasses (and getting blasted on Twitter by Matt Garza) to having people start asking the question “Who is Eric Sogard?” (I wrote another piece on the Face of MLB competition. So if you are curious about the guy known in Oakland for having “Nerd Power,” my other article can provide you with some insights about Sogard.) Truly though, my own bias aside, each team’s fans have worked hard to get their players into this final four. I must give special credit to Bautista as well because he did a superb job of promoting himself in his victory over the beloved Derek Jeter.
I like these final match ups. These are teams whose fans are standing up and saying, “We are here! We’d like a little press for once! We’re here to WIN!” In what will be the fourth round of the competition Wright will face off against Hernandez and Bautista will face off against Sogard.
Yes, this is just a fan voting competition but even the players are supporting their teammates. Oakland’s RF Josh Reddick, RHP Sean Doolittle and prospect Jeremy Barfield were extremely vocal all night long as Sogard faced off with Posey. It was a “Battle of the Bay Area Fans.” It will be interesting to see how the east and the west do in their face offs.
To be honest, I’m relatively relieved that the count of “faces” is down to four. I don’t know how much more of this staying up all night and voting I can take! If you’re a fan of Wright, Hernandez, Bautista or Sogard then I suggest you sign up or log into your Twitter account soon! The end of the competition is drawing near and you don’t want to miss out on this kind of fan-propelled baseball fun!
Who Will Be This Year's Face of MLB?
- David Wright, NYM (44%, 39 Votes)
- Eric Sogard, OAK (44%, 39 Votes)
- Jose Bautista, TOR (7%, 6 Votes)
- Felix Hernandez, SEA (5%, 4 Votes)
Total Voters: 88