If you don’t live on twitter, or maybe you don’t even visit it once in a while, there is a possibility you don’t know about the “Face of MLB” competition. It is advertised as a bracket-style competition where players are voted on against one other as the face of the sport. Votes are tallied if you tweet two hashtags: one with “#FaceOfMLB” and the other with the hashtag and a player’s name. You can vote up to twenty-five times. From here, it’s all opinions, and one list will be longer than the other. Here are the good and bad things about this competition:
- Fans get involved in their team(s) in the off-season during this lull of no pro football and no pro baseball. Perhaps this gets fans to read more about their team, other teams, become more knowledgable about the sport as a result of their thinking about baseball.
- Fans get the chance to show off their creative abilities, whether you’re showing off the GIFs you’ve captured, the memes you’ve made that really have no connection to the players in question, or to make new art to advertise to your favorite player
- Have you seen this year’s bracket format? Eric Sogard vs. Anthony Rizzo, Mike Trout vs. Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Altuve vs. Yadier Molina with Molina losing? Just like the Big Dance, there will be matchups (and outcomes) that are kind of ridiculous.
- The possibilities of inaccuracy with this competition based on support from Twitter alone. It just got announced Buster Posey beat out Jose Altuve. The size of the Giants fanbase probably had something to do with that. Very few baseball fans are going to stay up all night retweeting for Altuve to win if he is more Face of the MLB than Buster is. Also, Mike Trout lost to Paul Goldschmidt, so we already have a problem there.
- Follow a lot fans of the team you support while the voting is going on? Your timeline is about to get flooded. Especially since they only count votes on one weekday to another, a weekend of one player matched up against another is especially tiring.
- Why do you want to know the Face of MLB in February? They have the very same contest in July. It’s called the “All Star Game Voting,” even if it’s really stupid that the voting starts in mid-April.
From the list here, you can tell where I stand on this competition. I’m kind of sad Buster Posey won because now we’ll have to go through this again. I don’t hang out on Tweetdeck, so this will not be fun. I hope this competition goes away forever.
Throughout the year, individuals and companies alike will pose a question to the general public put things to a vote, or will try to get people to accumulate entries (like a raffle drawing) to gather a community to pay as much attention to them as possible, and become so invested in their product that the people will become invested in the company. Being a mostly baseball-focused guy, I will only see the contests that happen for professional baseball, so I can’t even imagine the things that the NFL, NBA, NHL, and NCAA do for their fanbase, which are probably all just as horrible as what I see throughout the year.
Right now, the current taking-too-long-contest looks like this:
— Reds (@Reds) February 21, 2013
Or his opponent:
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) February 20, 2013
It doesn’t always look like this, but imagine this times everyday in three weeks, especially if you hang out on social media like I do
sometimes all the time, so you can imagine how eye-roll-inducing this can get. These contests don’t always necessary come out with the “right” answer.
Exhibit A gives you ESPN’s “Battle of the Ballparks” where #24 seed Miller Park beat out #3 see AT&T Park for the fan-voted “Best Ballpark” when a horde of Brewers fans put their keyboards to work, and they did it in large, successful numbers. It is unfair of me to say I know Miller Park isn’t the best park out there when I haven’t been there, but you’re telling me it’s going to be better than two extraordinary parks I have been to in AT&T and Fenway? I haven’t even been to PNC!
Exhibit B of “possible wrong answer” is admittedly the All Star Game when fans are able to vote from mid-April for their favorite players to represent their league. Fan participation is so key when voting for a player, especially if you’re set in a pretty big market like New York and…
Wright vs.Sandoval: A city of 8 million was outvoted by a city of 800,000.
— Sandy Alderson (@MetsGM) July 2, 2012
Pablo did end up being the right answer for the Giants and the National League, but I remember knowing in my heart David should have got the starting nod (interesting to think how the All Star Game might have been different). Remember that Matt Cain was not decided by the fans, but by Tony La Russa and his influencers. Admittedly, fans will get plenty of answers “right” when it comes to All Star voting.
These voting contests are painful to watch because hardly are they ever fun, and after a couple days of rooting and rooting, I can’t speak for everybody, but my enthusiasm certainly takes a Frank Thomas-sized hit. You’re just waiting for it to end. Hoping it ends soon, just missing the way things were, even if it was nothing. When it ends, you breathe a sigh of relief, take a month off to enjoy the little things in life, and you forget these contests ever existed.