Posey. Stanton. Trout. The 2012 season saw young stars emerge across Major League Baseball, challenging the likes of Derek Jeter for fan adoration in the sport. This “changing of the guard" made MLB Network want to engage its viewers and challenge fans in the middle of the offseason to determine who really is the Face of MLB. No professional ranking system, no talking heads, no research packets. Just a simple, bracket-style tournament pitting 30 baseball players head-to-head, and all the power given to their fans to choose the winner. After a year that saw the emergence of young stars like the San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey, the Miami Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Mike Trout, MLB Network’s offseason weekday morning show Hot Stove created a fully integrated Twitter competition to discover which player is the face of Major League Baseball. Was it perennial All-Star and future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter? Many assumed so. Or, would a new player like Trout complete his American League Rookie of the Year season with the Face of MLB title? MLB Network let baseball fans on Twitter decide and the results proved two things: 1) There is no offseason for Major League Baseball fans. 2) David vs. Goliath is alive and well. The competition began on December 10 with Hot Stove seeking a player candidate from the each of the 30 MLB teams in a pre-competition called “Face of the Franchise." MLB Network asked fans on Twitter to vote for the face of each team by tweeting with a hashtag and the player’s name (ex.: #DerekJeter). Once a candidate was determined for each club, Hot Stove created a bracket tournament, seeding players based on their team’s 2012 finish, with the San Francisco Giants & Detroit Tigers representatives gaining first round byes as a result of their teams making it to the World Series. Each day, Hot Stove asked fans to vote on Twitter and decide a winner for the day’s head-to-head matchup. As the Face of MLB competition went on, not only did it reveal some emerging MLB stars, but it also displayed which clubs’ fans are the most active on Twitter. It was the enormous amount of Twitter activity by Cincinnati Reds fans – from celebrities to fans living in the smallest media market in all of Major League Baseball - that helped their reserved first baseman Joey Votto trend nationally on Twitter and come out on top against Derek Jeter in the third round of the competition by a score of 92,203 votes to 49,916. That win only spurred Reds fans on further, as Votto made it to the competition’s final round and defeated Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp after a week of voting by a score of 465,734 to 227,464, winning the title of Face of MLB. - Fans voted more than 1.6 million times for the Face of MLB competition, including 693,000 total votes cast in the final round between Votto and Kemp. @MLBNetwork Twitter feed gained 45,896 followers, growing from 268,489 to 314,385 followers.
Face of MLB homepage: http://mlbnetwork.mlb.com/network/promotions/faceofmlb.jsp Winner of Face of MLB revealed: http://mlbnetwork.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=25640819&topic_id=7417714 Interview with Joey Votto, winner of the Face of MLB competition: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=25640817&topic_id=7417714&c_id=mlb&tcid=vpp_copy_25640817&v=3 Cincinnati Enquirer, March 1, 2013: http://cincinnati.com/blogs/reds/2013/03/01/votto-is-the-face-of-baseball/ KYPost.com, March 1, 2013: http://www.kypost.com/dpps/sports/baseball/reds/reds-joey-votto-wins-face-of-major-league-baseball-competition_8289234 WLWT.com, March 1, 2013: http://www.wlwt.com/news/local-news/cincinnati/Joey-Votto-wins-finals-of-Face-of-MLB/-/13549970/19094754/-/omfc1y/-/index.html BlogRedMachine.com, March 1, 2013: http://blogredmachine.com/2013/03/01/this-is-the-face-of-mlb-joey-votto/ WLWT.com, Feb. 22, 2013: http://www.wlwt.com/news/local-news/cincinnati/Joey-Votto-is-semifinalist-for-face-of-MLB/-/13549970/19044712/-/lvlfd4z/-/index.html Examiner.com, February 21, 2013: http://www.examiner.com/article/joey-votto-edges-out-derek-jeter-mlb-network-s-face-of-mlb
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