PHOENIX — When Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Eric Sogard first heard Oakland Athletic fans had nicknamed him “nerd power,” he wasn’t sure how he felt about it.
Sogard wears glasses on the field, making him easily identifiable, which is why fans nicknamed him that in the first place.
It took awhile, but eventually Sogard, who spent six seasons with the A’s, came around on the nickname and was happy to get behind the movement.
“So that got started in 2013 in Oakland,” Sogard said. “Fans out in right field are loyal and they always come up with banners for players. I show up one game and they have this big ol’ banner with glasses and hashtag ‘nerd power.’ It took me a little while to embrace that one but you know it was fun out there, the fans loved it and I loved it.”
Sogard was even able to do something with the nerd power movement that went beyond baseball.
He was able to give back to the community in Oakland, and keep the nerd power hashtag going strong.
“I was able to do some stuff off the field up there, too, which was neat,” Sogard said. “A couple of organizations like Vision To Learn was sending out glasses to underprivileged kids in the area, so it was cool.”
Brewers manager Craig Counsell acknowledges that although Sogard may seem shy sometimes, he brings a great attitude to the clubhouse and the baseball field.
“Sogard at the field, he’s a very consistent person,” Counsell said. “I think the way he is off the field is the way we see him on the field. He’s just very consistent, that’s his kind of best trait. He comes across a lot of times as quiet, but I do think he is a guy that’s connected to a lot of places in the clubhouse for sure.”
As for the nerd power movement, Counsell is impressed with the way Sogard has really embodied the slogan.
“To me it’s the greatest example of a person who’s embraced who he is and that people love that,” Counsell said. “Then they see his personality and they love it. I think a great trait in our clubhouse is that we try to let the players’ personalities shine. He loves it, and embraces it and has a lot of fun with it.”
While the nerd power slogan may have started because of Sogard’s glasses, that doesn’t mean Sogard isn’t book smart, too.
“I received an academic scholarship to Arizona State,” Sogard said smiling. “Which gave me an opportunity to play ball there as well.”
Sogard graduated from Thunderbird High School in Phoenix in 2004. He was ranked the No. 7 prospect in the state that year and played college baseball in Tempe.
He won numerous awards as ASU, including being named Second Team All-American and First Team All-Pac-10, twice for both awards.
He also made history when he won the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Award, being the first Sun Devils player to ever win it.
Spring training for Sogard is a great time for him because Phoenix is his home, and he’s lucky enough to be here when the weather makes for a perfect baseball setting.
“I’ve been blessed to be able to have every spring training here at home for me,” he said. “This is where I spend the offseason as well. To be able to sleep in my own bed and with my family and be here during spring, it’s special.”