Melvin: 'We keep it loose here'
Eric Sogard's teammates are giving him grief, referring to him as “The Face.” (USATSI)
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PHOENIX -- The Cinderella story continues with Eric Sogard and his march through the “Face of MLB” tournament.
The Oakland A’s second baseman, little known outside the Bay Area baseball world, knocked off Giants superstar Buster Posey in the quarterfinals of the MLB Network’s “Face of MLB” contest. Fans voted one player to represent each of the 30 teams, and those 30 players were pitted against each other in bracket format, with fans voting one player over the other to advance to the next round.
In a popularity contest featuring some of the majors’ biggest stars, the bespectacled Sogard has stolen the show. He beat Posey, the 2012 National League MVP, with 55 percent of the vote compared to 45 percent. He’s now in the Final Four against the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista. Seattle’s Felix Hernandez takes on the New York Mets’ David Wright in the other semifinal.
Sogard never could have expected he would make this kind of a run, but he's "enjoying the ride."
“The fans were doing their work,” he said. “They’re going to town. I gotta give them all the credit in the world. I knew the A’s (fans) would step up in that battle of the Bay.”
With A-list names such as Posey, Derek Jeter and Clayton Kershaw having been knocked off, what’s to keep Sogard from running the table and being voted the “Face of MLB”? It’s fascinating stuff for a player who has never even been an everyday starter in the majors.
All through Monday’s quarterfinal voting, Twitter was flooded with pro-Sogard posts from A's fans and hilarious photo-shopped pictures of him, including his face on E.T.’s body.
His teammates are giving him grief and referring to him as “The Face.” But A’s reliever Sean Doolittle turned serious when discussing Sogard’s appeal.
“I think he’s kind of a good (symbol) for our team,” Doolittle said. “Not all of us always look the part. Not all of us are the biggest-name guys, but we get it done.”
[REWIND: A's embracing 'Nerd Power']
There was also some pop culture news in A’s camp Tuesday. MTV News personality Sway, an Oakland native and big A’s fan, dropped by to interview right fielder Josh Reddick and right-hander Sonny Gray. Sway is co-hosting an MTV2 show that will run this season and give fans a glimpse into the personalities of players.
Reddick coached Sway on how to charge a ball in the outfield and unload a throw, while Gray showed Sway the difference between a four-seam and two-seam fastball. Sway also quizzed the pitcher on his taste in music. A Tennessee native, Gray is a country fan who has a taste for hip hop on days he pitches.
“He said if he wasn’t a singer he definitely would have been a major league pitcher,” Gray joked.