Here's the thing about Major League Baseball's "Face of MLB" campaign: it's arbitrary. The plan is to run it every off-season, and let fans take to social media to hashtag vote their favorite players over and over again, resulting in some vague results akin to a combination of the All-Star Game vote combined with the MVP award. That's misuse (or, at least, non-optimal use) of the word "face", and we plan to do something about it.
Let's figure out the true "Face of MLB" by using just that as criteria: Faces*. Let's not quibble over who the most popular or who the best at baseball is. Let's shift the conversation to who's got the most piercing eyes, the heart-melting-est smile, or the inherently apparent swag to claim dominance over the rest of baseball. Let's figure out who Major League Baseball's most attractive player is.
*Or butts in baseball pants, if that's your thing. We're all friends here.
Now, attractiveness, too, is a subjective thing, as it's not even necessarily just looks alone that do the job for you. That's why I also didn't want to lead you solely by my own taste in baseballers. To that end, we've assembled a panel consisting of myself as well as two of the internet's finest in Tomas Rios and Lana Berry to walk you through this journey. We hope that, with our combined efforts of crafting a list featuring one player from each of baseball's 30 teams, we can figure out whose got the face MLB should want all over its product, all the time.
Below, you will find our reasoning for each representative's case as the true Face of MLB. Throw your support behind said players in the comments by hitting the "rec" option on their comment: with your help, we'll sort out what truly matters in a "face" campaign.
Red Sox - David Ortiz: David Ortiz has played the game of baseball while wearing a $250,000 diamond and white gold necklace. The face of my MLB would definitely do something that baller.
Blue Jays - Jose Reyes: Things Jose Reyes' smile could power: small car, large car, particle collider, machine that harvests the tears of men. Let the heavenly glow of his grin envelop us all.
Rangers - Prince Fielder: A comprehensive list of things any reasonable human would like to do with Prince Fielder:
In conclusion, Prince Fielder is both cuddly and snuggly. I rest my case.
Rays - Joe Maddon: Joe Maddon takes you to the new Cambodian-Thai restaurant in the Lower East Side. He recites the Rita Dove poem you just quoted. He gets you a little something, it's a vintage locket he found in this shop run by an anarchist collective. He isn't young, you don't care.
Braves - Larry Jones: Look, there's gonna be a lot of coupon-nights at The Olive Garden, but you know what? Larry "Chipper" Jones is steady. Bonus: Dear Lord, those dimples.
Mets - David Wright: David Wright comes to the plate on a midsummer day and you are 14 and in love again. You remember: hands locked, furtive kisses, phone calls. Wright rips a double down the line and you remember more.
David Wright is for lovers.
Athletics - Yoenis Cespedes: Uh, Yoenis Cespedes is jacked, hits hella home runs and once flipped his bat into another dimension. He's not an option. He's an imperative.
Nationals - Bryce Harper: The video for Melissa Etheridge's "Come to My Window" except it's Bryce Harper and he's naked on a motorcycle. Oh, you'd get on that motorcycle, sir or madam or however you identify because that's a personal right.
Brewers - Ryan Braun: Okay, so Ryan Braun got suspended for using PEDs, whatever. You look me in the eye and tell me that did not make him much sexier.
Reds - Brandon Phillips: You don't want Brandon Phillips and his boyish good looks at the forefront of baseball's swag revolution. You dont want him, you need him.
Orioles - J.J. Hardy: His name doesn't sing to you in its shortened form, but swap out the abbreviated iteration for his birth name, "James", add in those light blue eyes, sprinkle some range at short for taste, and Hardy becomes the obvious choice to represent the O's in this attraction-based endeavor.
Twins - Joe Mauer: It's cool, scientists, you don't need to try to create Captain America in a lab -- Joe Mauer has got this thing. The native Minnesotan pulls off clean-shaven, is incredibly loyal as shown by his commitment to his home state and team, has the award-winning smile, and even settled down to marry a lady he knew from high school before having -- wait for it -- twins with her.
Tigers - Brad Ausmus: The only MLB manager with both a "Hey girl" meme and topless magazine cover-photos featuring a surfboard. It's okay, you can Google image search both of those things, and we won't judge.
Mariners - Robinson Cano: Have you seen bearded Robinson Cano yet? We should all be mad at the Yankees for withholding his beard game from us for nine long years. Lucky for us, that won't be a problem in the Emerald City, where Cano's facial hair can flourish away.
Astros - Dexter Fowler: A baseball hat does not suit Dexter Fowler, but, luckily for the Astros, we don't have to count that against him. The dude's smile is miles across, he can rock a beard or go with the baby face look, and he's equally dashing in a tee or a suit. That's the kind of versatility you can get behind.
Marlins - Jose Fernandez: He's all of 21, which might be a little weird since he's still basically a baby, but Fernandez also saved his drowning mother while escaping Cuba on a small raft. Having that kind of story in your back pocket will melt the iciest of hearts, regardless of your persuasion.
Now if he would just shave that thing on his chin.
Cubs - Theo Epstein: He's smart, he's buddies with rock stars, and running the Cubs is prematurely graying his hair, setting him up for a run as a silver fox.
Padres - Seth Smith: Smith has that classic handsome that would make him a fit as an 80s-style movie villain, but most importantly, he's about all the Padres have to offer us. Why must everything about you be generic, Padres?
Giants - Buster Posey: Ignore the Google image search result where Posey is sticking carrots in his ear, and all you see is tousled hair and the same baby-faced approach to catching that has made Joe Mauer an institution. The comparison runs deeper than that, though, since Posey also married his high school love, and even had twins.
The similarities are close enough that I am suddenly afraid they were both created in a lab. Their hypnotic eyes might be a means to keep us from asking too many questions.
Dodgers - Matt Kemp: Have you seen Matt Kemp in a bow tie? Honest to God, I didn't even attempt wearing a bow tie for a few years because I was jealous of how good Matt Kemp looked in a bow tie.
Yankees - Ichiro Suzuki: On an aging Yankees roster, Ichiro has a face that doesn't age and a body that doesn't quit being tiny. He has a quick bat, an undying love for dogs, and a museum dedicated to him in Japan. Also knows the importance of stretching. More importantly, he's not A-Rod.
Indians - Nick Swisher: The King of Brohio. He probably has an ownership stake in Affliction. Definitely has more hair products than you. Released an album of song covers for children. Donated hair to cancer patients. Still seems like a genuinely happy person even though he is forced to play in Cleveland.
White Sox - Matt Davidson: Has dreamy eyes and even dreamier hair. Was the MVP of the 2013 Futures Game. I want to run my fingers through his hair. Has a promising career ahead of him, but my god that hair.
Royals - Alex Gordon: I'm almost positive his eyes stay open most of the time. Has a thick neck, if you're into that sort of thing. Rocks a mean 5 o'clock shadow like 90% of the time. Currently on an awesome Royals billboard. Seriously, there might be something wrong with his eyes.
Angels - Josh Hamilton: A total lack of awareness in life and at the plate, but has dazzling baby blue eyes. However, having blue eyes apparently impairs his vision, giving him permanent beer goggles. He has a cocky smile and size 19 shoes (you know what they say), and is tested for drugs every three days so he is (probably) clean. Most of his actions are compelled by Jesus.
Phillies - Chase Utley: His eyes stare right into your soul. Speaking of, he is very committed to having a soul patch (which he almost pulls off). Is a strong advocate for pet adoption and has a charity fighting against animal cruelty. His favorite show is Baseball Tonight and his favorite song is "Take Me Out to the Ballgame". Might be a baseball robot, but in a good way.
Cardinals - Mike Matheny: Possibly the most attractive manager (pre-Brad Ausmus era) by default because he is not 70. His sultry stare is like the result of the many concussions he's suffered. Met his wife because a pigeon shit on his head. Signs his autographs with a Bible verse for Jesus reasons, I guess. Has a lot of those sexy leadership qualities and even sexier intangibles.
Pirates - Starling Marte: Warm, inviting smile. Very family oriented and spends a lot of time with his kids. Homered on his first major league pitch, which I'm pretty sure still counts even though it was against the Astros.
Diamondbacks - Brandon McCarthy: Still funny through a traumatic brain injury. Very tall, so has potential to be a basketball player as well. Can actually hold a conversation. High potential for grit due to being on the Diamondbacks roster and being white.
Rockies - Carlos Gonzalez: Possibly the most stylish person in all of Colorado. Has a cool nickname. Good clubhouse guy with a beautiful swing and even more beautiful bone structure. Seriously, look at that face.
Photo credits: USA TODAY Sports, Getty
Tomas Rios is a New York City based writer. Follow him @TheTomasRios.