Throughout the offseason, MLB Network has been running their "face of MLB" competition, which relies on fans to vote on Twitter using hashtags. It's enough to drive a person insane if they don't preemptively block the #FaceOfMLB hashtag, because when a player from your favorite team is on the ballot for that day, your timeline is an unreadable mess. Semifinal voting began on Tuesday, and on one side of the bracket, Felix Hernandez faced off with David Wright. On the other side, Jose Bautista was taking on Eric Sogard.
Wait, who's Eric Sogard?
Sogard is a 27-year old infielder with the A's who has a career stat line of .241/.295/.344 in 198 games. He's probably most famous for being the target of a Matt Garza Twitter rant last summer. And yet, he's Oakland's representative in the pool of 32 players and has made it all the way to the final four, knocking off Anthony Rizzo, Troy Tulowitzki, and Buster Posey in the process.
Sogard's rush to the semis has been buoyed by numerous Photoshops by fans and universal support from teammates. SBNation A's blog Athletics Nation argued that Sogard was the perfect choice to represent the team because of his history as a player and the skills he possesses.
When all the smoke is cleared from this tournament, I think we can really just look at it as what it is – a giant waste of time during the offseason that doesn't tell us much about anything, aside from which fanbases can band together the best. Jose Altuve of the Astros beat Yadier Molina of the Cardinals in the first round. Bautista beat Derek Jeter in the quarterfinals. 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen lost in the first round to Felix Hernandez. 2012 and 2013 AL MVP Miguel Cabrera fell to David Wright in the second round. Mike Trout didn't even make it out of the first round. None of the four finalists ranked in the top 20 in jersey sales. So… why does any of this matter, then?
It doesn't, but it sure is fun to think Eric Sogard can be named The Face of MLB in any capacity whatsoever.