EDITOR'S NOTE: ESPN.com is searching for the "face" of baseball the player Major League Baseball would love to market as its poster boy. So we asked Eric Neel to look beyond the obvious choices and make a pitch for players who might be just as deserving of "face" time.
Derek Jeter is not the face of baseball.
He's the face of GQ.
He's the face of Speed Stick.
Those guys are too obvious, and way too self-conscious. Give me the unpredictable, the real.
Give me Giambi or Sosa, or Rincon or Sanchez, because they're who and where we are right now, and because this is America, dammit, and we believe in second chances.
Give me Gary Sheffield, whose slogan would be: "I'm not gonna come up there and kick your butt, but you and I both know I could, right?"
|Should it be Derek Jeter? What about A-Rod? Who's your choice? Motion: Who's the face of baseball?|
Give me Sean Casey, because not only is he the nicest man in baseball, but he just might be the nicest man in the whole of this great big crazy mixed-up world of ours.
Or how about Carlos Delgado, who isn't afraid to stand up for what he believes in, even if it means sitting down.
Or maybe David Eckstein, the man who reminds us that sometimes pluck is enough ... as long as you can master the three-hop throw.
Or Carlos Beltran, who right now isn't so much the face of baseball as he is the face on the side of baseball's milk carton. But that's all right, because we still believe in you, Carlos, and I'm not just talking about those of us who spent good money on you in our fantasy drafts, either.
Or even Roger Clemens, if for no other reason than that he's been around long enough to be the face on a coin or a stamp, and he's been great long enough to deserve the minting.
No good, you say? You insist on the NYC poster boys?
Not me. I say it would be better if the face of the game was Dontrelle Willis' mug. And not just the face, but the kick and the lid too.
I say show me John Smoltz, whose living tribute to the facial hair of George Michael gives us all faith.
I say if we're smart, if we have half a brain in our collective heads, we'll wake up and realize that the face of baseball is right this minute living and breathing and taking names in Philadelphia, and his name is Bobby Abreu.
I say two words to you, my friend: Brandon. Inge.
And the mug on Biggio, even when it's hidden beneath the muck-helmet, is better looking than any pearly-toothed grin out of the Bronx infield.
You know it is.
You know Todd Helton's got the look, too. No, not the mullet, the look of the slump. I ask you, what speaks to the true soul of the game more than the anguished face of a man trying to figure out where his swing went? Not a thing.
And you know, like me, you have the utmost respect for the face of Bruce Chen, too ... but only because Mike Morgan finally retired, making his face ineligible.