For those who don’t know what that is, The Face of the MLB was a contest that was held on Twitter. It was a tournament in which fans of teams voted for their favorite player by using the hashtag (that’s the pound sign for those not on Twitter) and that person’s name (#JoeyVotto in this case).
Votto not only won the contest, he beat out many great candidates along the way. He beat out the Minnesota Twins Joe Mauer in round one, the Toronto Blue Jays‘ slugger Jose Bautista in round two, one of the all-time greats and baseball’s most recognizable player in New York Yankees‘ Derek Jeter in round three, blew by an up-and-coming star in Pittsburgh Pirates‘ Andrew McCutchen in the final four, and torched Los Angeles Dodgers‘ slugger Matt Kemp in the final round.
So while this is fine and dandy, I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Well that’s great, Brad. But what exactly does this have to do with the Reds?” My answer is a lot.
As you may know the Reds are not a major market team. In order to put together a great team, the Reds have to mostly rely on home-grown talent–Joey Votto is one of them. The Reds also struggle in getting national attention. Sure, they get some attention on Baseball Tonight and the MLB Network, but this puts the Reds right on the forefront of the national stage. What Reds’ fans essentially did during this contest is say that they are tired of being a forgotten baseball town that has a rich tradition of baseball, and took to Twitter for the world to see.
So all in all, hats off go the Reds’ fans around the country. They wanted something to happen, and they went out and made it happen. It would almost be impossible now for shows not to talk about one of the purest hitters in baseball, on one of the best teams the National League has to offer. Now it’s up to Votto to come through and represent not only his team, but also his town.
Follow Brad Stiene on Twitter, @bs_rant1.