With mean man winter on his way out and spring in the air, anticipation of baseball season spread through the halls of Elder and the city of Cincinnati. Cincinnati is a unlike any other baseball city in America. The Reds are the only professional team left in the majors that are guaranteed an opening day home game. Opening Day starts with the annual parade followed by a Reds win (hopefully). Before the regular season can start, all the players have to go through spring training. In an attempt to keep the anticipation of the upcoming season, the MLB started a Face of the MLB contest where fans could vote for their favorite player. Cincinnati’s very own first baseman Joey Votto was named as one of the contestants in the competition. The contest was exclusively on Twitter and fans could vote by tweeting the name of their player with a hashtag. In the first round, #JoeyVotto went up against Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Maurer. After an easy W, Joey Votto went up against the hard hitting outfielder from the Toronto Blue Jays, Jose Bautista. Though this round was a little tougher for Votto, he was able to squeak by for a victory and a berth in the Elite 8. After an easy win against Bautista, Votto faced his biggest challenge yet: The Captain himself, Derek Jeter. Jeter, with 18 years of experience and with five world series rings, 13 All Star selections, five gold gloves and silver sluggers vs. Joey Votto and his one MVP award and five years of experience. If you were to ask anyone with a brain, Jeter would be the easy choice. However, the Cincinnati fans rallied behind their first baseman into the final four vs. Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates. “The fans were fantastic. When I faced off vs. Jeter I thought…no shot. It was everybody but me,” said Votto. The winner of this National League Central rivalry would find himself in the finals. Just like the Reds do to the Pirates on the field, Joey Votto dominated McCutchen to clinch a spot in the finals. The final round of the #FaceOfTheMLB pinned two National League stars against each other. It was our very own Joey Votto vs. Dodgers’ outfielder Matt Kemp. Kemp was lucky to even be in the finals. Matt Kemp was actually down by 80 percent to the Atlanta Braves’ outfielder Jason Heyward before Dodgers fans rallied and put him over the top in the semi-final round. According to MLB.com (who ran the contest), there were a total of 693,198 votes that were counted in the final of the competition. With literally two-thirds of the final vote the winner was Joey Votto! Darien McDowell, a former Elder Panther and now Oak Hills Highlander senior, backed up his team’s first baseman. “The competition was a lot of fun and it was great to see everybody from Cincinnati showing Votto so much support,” said McDowell. “I participated because since I have been a Reds fan since I was born. I just had to get involved.” Nathan Sexton, a 2011 graduate of Elder and current soccer player at NKU, also participated in the event. “It was a blast and I had a good time with it,” Sexton stated. “I’m impressed that we beat the big market teams such as New York and Los Angeles .” Many students can relate to Nathan’s reasons for participating in the event. “I didn’t want to pay attention during class and I also wanted the Reds to get some national attention.” Votto also praised Lisa Braun and Jamie Ramsey of the Reds for their efforts in leading the campaign….and mentioned the help Matt and Dallas Latos and all his teammates. At one point during the contest, #JoeyVotto was tweeted so much, that it was trending nationally. Does winning this contest give Votto and the Reds any momentum for the season? Probably not. Is it ironic that the face of America’s pastime is a Canadian? Now that up to you to decide.