|This is the face of the Reds.|
This is the face of MLB.
On Friday, MLB Network announced Joey Votto as the winner of its "Face of MLB" promotion after the Reds first basemen edged out Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp in the championship round.
The month-long competition originally began with 30 players, one for each MLB franchise, and the field was slowly whittled down over time.
Voting for the final round began Monday morning and ran all the way up until Friday's official announcement. Fans could cast an unlimited amount of votes via Twitter by including the hashtag "#JoeyVotto" in their tweets. Retweets counted toward the grand total, as well.
During the course of the competition, Votto handily defeated the likes of Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer, Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, and now Kemp.
Although the promotion was essentially a popularity contest, it would be hard to argue that Votto isn't deserving of the award. The Canadian native is the heart and soul of the Reds organization and that was made clear after the two sides agreed to a hefty contract extension last April. The deal will keep Votto in Cincinnati until he is 39-years old, which runs through the end of the 2023 campaign.
However, his title as the Face of Major League Baseball couldn't be achieved without the relentless support of Reds fans. Fans of baseball's oldest professional franchise unleashed a massive social media effort on Twitter in support of their All-Star and MVP first basemen. Reds country was able to propel their star to a win despite being outnumbered by large market teams located in more-populated cities.
The Reds may not have the largest fan base on shear size alone, but one could certainly argue that their social media presence is second to none. All you have to do is point to the Face of MLB outcome, in addition to the "Head and Shoulders Hats Off" contest results from 2011. They finished first among all 30 MLB teams in that promotion, as well.