Saturday, February 22, 2014

MLB Network's Face of MLB Fan Vote: Just who is This Guy with the Glasses?

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If you are a big baseball fan or even just a causal baseball fan you probably watch MLB Network (MLBN) from time to time if not, like me, multiple times per day. If you have watched MLBN in the last month then you are probably wondering, "who is that guy with the glasses?" I don't blame you, he is on the Oakland Athletics who, less face it, no matter how good they are just don't get a lot of press. Just look at Josh Donaldson's snub from last season's All-Star Game
I have to pause here because I am sure you are probably wondering, "Who the heck is Josh Donaldson?" Well, he is the All-Star caliber, finished fourth in the MVP voting in 2013 and very dedicated third baseman for the Oakland Athletics. But this article is not about the Oakland's Bringer of Rain.
Again, where am I going with this right? How in the world is this all still related to that guy with the glasses, right? I'm just trying to show you how little press the A's get each year except talking revolving around their "old stadium' and "small fan base."
Each year MLB Network holds a fan decided competition online. A "face" of each Major League Baseball organization is chosen and they then compete go head to head against each other in a bracket style playoff.
(Image courtesy of Jamey Van Dyke @PerfectGameGear)
(Image courtesy of Jamey Van Dyke @PerfectGameGear)
This year the Face of the Oakland Athletics as voted on by the fans is, second baseman, Eric Sogard. He's a nice guy who quietly does his job and does it well. Until now was only known for making pitcher Matt Garza a little too mad for knowing how to bunt properly and for as, previously mentioned, wearing glasses. Sogard is one of very few, if any, major league players who wear their glasses on the field. Stephen Vogt, Oakland's catcher, said of Sogard,
“I think he’s what the A’s are all about, he’s under-the-radar and very good, the epitome of the Oakland ‘As.
Over the past year Sogard and his glasses have gotten the attention of the Oakland fans. The A's, who do have a somewhat smaller fan base than say the New York Yankees, have quite a mighty one. Oakland fans have been called by many the loudest fans in baseball. Now they are trying to make themselves nationally heard in MLBN's Face of the MLB competition.
Sogard as everyone's favorite professor Dr. Indiana Jones (Image courtesy of Omar G @Omar01)
Sogard as everyone's favorite professor Dr. Indiana Jones (Image courtesy of Omar G @Omar01)
Sogard is a fan favorite because everyone loves a guy with glasses and a lot of hustle. His nicknames include The Professor and Harry Potter (I once heard someone yell, "Expelliamus," in a game where Sogard turned a double play). His other monikers, often used as hashtags to identify him on Twitter, are NerdPower and RallySpecs. At one point his glasses even had their own Twitter account.
Since being voted as "The Face," as his teammates now call him, Sogard surpassed the Chicago Cubs' first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Colorado Rockies' fan favorite, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in the first and second rounds of the bracket. Even more surprising was that he beat out Tulowitzki by a whopping 68% of the fan votes. Sogard was of course very humble on the subject of his new celebrity saying,
“Obviously, it started as a joke more than anything, but the fans are starting to grab a hold of it and run with it. Obviously, my baseball credentials don’t match up to Tulowitzki, but it’s great to see the power of the Oakland fans when they come together.”

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