Over the past decade or so, social media has grown from a novelty way to pass time, to just the way things are done now. Whether it be traditional news media, sports media, or even political information, social media is the go-to tool for the latest news.
You could argue that it is now more of a novelty for social media to be used merely for fun and games. Still, some will occasionally take to social media for fun, through all the news and vitriol. Or, in the case of this story, even annually…
Enter the “Hottest Dodger Bracket” on Twitter.
In late September 2018, the Dodgers were in a real pennant race with the Colorado Rockies, who were a good team that year. LA was a real ‘boom or bust’ team that was fighting for a 6th straight division title. That final week came down to the wire, and the Dodgers and Rockies ended 162 games with the same record.
With the stress of a potential game 163 on the table, there was definitely a need for some light-hearted fun for Dodgers fans.
Enter, Makenna Martin — @makenna_m19 on Twitter. She had an idea that would be fun and lighthearted, and give fans something different to do.
She created a bracket, a-la March Madness, that would rank Dodger players based on attractiveness. Or as the bracket says, “hotness.”
Here is the tweet from 2018 that started a tradition.
guys. i made an official (v ghetto) bracket of who’s the hottest dodger. feel free to fill out and share!????? pic.twitter.com/7AuHgGo3aY
— makenna martin 🙂 (@makenna_m19) September 30, 2018
When asked what first prompted this idea, Martin was earnest.
“The first year that we did the bracket it was just supposed to be a fun inside joke with my little corner of friends on Dodgers’ Twitter. A couple of us had been throwing around the idea for a couple weeks of making a bracket to rank the hotness of the Dodgers as we were all huge fans of the team, and how especially attractive our team was. I didn’t do any type of seeding, I just put the names into a randomized generator because I only thought a few of us were going to participate. It ended up getting a lot more traction than I had imagined and it ended up being a lot of fun.”
Traction indeed. The bracket made it up the flag pole to MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” a few weeks after hitting the Twitterverse.
dodgers twitter is amazing. i’ve made great friends, orel hershiser told me not to study, i’ve fought trevor bauer, and joe davis even sent me a video wishing me happy birthday. but nothing compares to my thirst bracket of the hottest dodger making it on intentional talk. legacy. pic.twitter.com/JWUPWGYLKm
— makenna martin 🙂 (@makenna_m19) December 7, 2018
“A few days later, I walked out of one of my classes and saw my phone blowing up with Twitter notifications. The bracket had been on Intentional Talk on MLB Network, and ever since then it’s become a fun tradition we all look forward to every year.”
As with anything that becomes popular, the bracket had its detractors. Martin was asked if she received any backlash from it.
“There definitely has been some backlash here and there. A lot of people have accused the bracket of objectifying their players for their looks, which is derogatory because they are athletes. In my opinion, these professional athletes are akin to celebrities in our lives, and you would never hear these sorts of arguments if someone was talking about having a celebrity crush. I also think that some of this backlash comes from the fact that the majority of the participants are women, and baseball is a male-dominated field. Female sports fans constantly have to “prove” their fandom in a sense to men, and I think that participating in something that may seem frivolous is an easy target. I think most of the people who participate admire the “hotness” of the team in conjunction with being huge fans of the team/sport, but even if someone only watched because they found the players attractive I think that’s fine too. There’s no correct way to be a fan of something, and at the end of the day, the bracket is just supposed to be fun.”
Martin has a point. Sports have been greatly dominated by men in terms of fandom and participation. The objectification of women in our society is so common place that if women decide to participate in the same system, it’s viewed with contempt despite the scales still being heavily weighed in one direction.
Thankfully, the detraction has died as the Dodger bracket has mostly been accepted over the years.
the time has come. after my dumb joke last year literally got DTF on intentional talk, i’m bringing it back by popular demand. welcome to the second annual hottest dodger bracket. we’ve lost some heavy hitters, gained some new babes, and old favs still remain. who’s your winner? pic.twitter.com/eBstmftd0y
— makenna martin 🙂 (@makenna_m19) September 27, 2019
2020. a cursed year. a shortened season. but as the torments of life pass us by, one question remains: who’s the biggest baseball babe? welcome to the third annual hottest dodger bracket. let the bracketing begin. (tag with #bracketszn2020) pic.twitter.com/VY2Ie9Mbml
— makenna martin 🙂 (@makenna_m19) September 25, 2020
The 2021 Bracket Gets A Good Cause
For 2021’s version, Martin decided to add a charitable twist.
?PLEASE READ BELOW!?
I have organized a giveaway this year with the condition of entry being a minimum $5 donation to the East Los Angeles Women’s Center in light of the allegations against Trevor Bauer. Read below for more info on how to enter!??https://t.co/A6l64OzbNI pic.twitter.com/QkKORHUdpm
— makenna martin 🙂 (@makenna_m19) October 1, 2021
The sexual assault allegations against Trevor Bauer weighed heavily on the hearts and minds of many Dodger fans. When Bauer was signed early in 2021, there were grumblings of those who were not happy about a person with the reputation of Bauer wearing Dodger blue. Nobody knew Bauer’s behavior would take this kind of turn.
With that, Martin decided to take the fun tradition she started and introduce a charity raffle to the mix with prizes donated from other Dodger fans on Twitter. All a person had to do to enter the raffle was donate $5 or more to the East Los Angeles Women’s Center. ELAWC is a leading voice and advocate for survivors and their families affected by sexual, domestic, and intimate partner violence, HIV/AIDS and the intersection of homelessness.
Martin said the idea came to her pretty soon after the allegations against Bauer became public.
“The bracket gets a lot of attention every year, and I figured that with all of the traction it receives that I had a good opportunity to make a difference. I wanted to choose a Los Angeles based charity that focused on helping women suffering domestic violence in light of the allegations of Trevor Bauer, and I settled on the East Los Angeles Women’s Center. I think that it is important as a community to try and make our voices heard when we find something to be unjust, and we’ve already raised over $1,300!”
$1,300 is a tremendous amount of money. Turning a fun activity that people look forward to into a way to raise money for those in need is an MVP move. If you feel inclined to do the same, the link to donate to the East Los Angeles Women’s Center is right here.
The raffle drawing will take place this coming Friday, October 7th.
Fun and Games
Now the question is easy. Dodger fans, who would make your final four? Who would win your bracket? Do you know who would win yours before you even start, or would it be a battle? Difficult questions to ask yourself, despite the frivolity of it. It is made especially difficult because as we all know, everybody looks better in Dodger blue.