Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Although calling a professional athlete hot often refers to their play on the field, every year the phrase hottest player takes over a new meaning for Los Angeles Dodgers fans on X, formerly Twitter.
Makenna Martin and her friends have long debated who the most handsome players on the Dodgers roster are, which led to jokes about making a bracket to determine who would take the crown.
Then in 2018, Martin created the bracket while she was bored and posted it to Twitter without expecting much to come from it.
But that wasn’t the case. The bracket quickly took off and became an annual tradition that’s now spanned five years and six brackets. It has even made appearances on MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” and was mentioned on SportsNet LA by Stephen Nelson, who also posted his bracket on social media.
I’ll be No. 100! (Don’t stop now, Dodgers fans!) And here is my official bracket: pic.twitter.com/c4WIVuwBVS
— Stephen Nelson (@StephenNelson) September 30, 2023
In 2021, following the sexual assault allegations against Trevor Bauer, Martin decided to try using the annual bracket to bring focus and support for domestic violence relief.
The hottest Dodger bracket is released at the end of September and continues during October, which is domestic violence awareness month.
For the last three years, the bracket has helped raise more than $19,000 for the East Los Angeles Women’s Center and Peace Over Violence.
“Every year I am surprised by how many people participate and are excited for the bracket,” Martin told DodgerBlue.com. “I never thought it would become as popular as it did, and it is so much fun to look forward to at the end of each season each year.
“Everyone’s generosity also stands out to me, and I am always floored by how much our community comes together to raise money for this important cause.”
Last year, Martin raised $8,600 for Peace Over Violence, which is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to the elimination of sexual and domestic violence and all forms of interpersonal violence.” They have five departments working to provide Emergency, Intervention, Prevention, Education and Advocacy services for people in the Los Angeles region.
The “hottest Dodger bracket”
When the bracket was first created, all the names were put in a randomizer to create the starting order, “but it led to some brutal early round matchups, including an infamous second round Corey Seager vs. Kiké Hernández battle,” Martin recalled.
“As a result, each year since I go through and do a cursory seed based on historical favorites and my judgment, put them in the classic 32-team tournament matchups, and then go through and move things around until I’m happy with it.”
Many thought the 2023 Dodgers were headed for a rebuild year, but they came out as hot as ever (both on and off the field). Each year we must ask ourselves: Who do YOU think is the hottest?
Let the 6th Annual Hottest Dodger Bracket BEGIN!
— makenna martin (@makenna_m19) September 29, 2023
The bracket is then posted to X (Twitter), which is when the fun begins as Dodgers fans fill it out and post their results on the social media platform. Fans are also encouraged to make a donation once the bracket is finished.
“I have so much fun every year looking at everyone else’s brackets!” Martin said. “On the first day of its release I always sit on my phone and scroll for hours as everyone reacts to the bracket and it’s so fun interacting with all of my friends on Twitter.
Although there is no official winner of the bracket each season, there are generally a few more popular players each year, with rookie James Outman the early favorite this season.
For Martin, she has previously had Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger and Joey Gallo as her winners, with Outman taking the honor this year.
Peace over Violence fundraiser
While the Dodgers playoff bracket is the fun part of the fundraiser, Martin continues to encourage everyone to donate and to look into the mission of Peace Over Violence so they can see the impact they’re making. It is also asked donations are made through their fundraising page so the progress can be tracked each season.
For those who make a minimum $10 donation, they are also eligible to win prizes donated by other fans on the social media site, which include a Max Muncy jersey, Clayton Kershaw “Feeling 22” shirt, bobblehead bundles, prints of Dodger Stadium, $50 gift cards to Fanatics, and a $25 gift card to BreakingT.
All information, including the fundraising link and the bracket, can be found here.
The raffle and promotion for the fundraiser ends on Friday, October 13.
“I would like to thank all of my friends and family who have helped me coordinate and advertise over the years, everyone who has donated a raffle prize, everyone who has participated by posting their own bracket and donated,” Martin said. “And a special thanks to Anne Bagasoa from Peace Over Violence for assisting me in the fundraising!”
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