So most of you by now know I'm headed to New York City to inhabit the MLB Fan Cave this season and to be honest, I couldn't have done it without all of you. Twins Territory definitely stepped up when it came time to get a Twins fan into the Cave and I am so thankful for all of your support! I promise to make you all proud in New York City (and to boo the Yankees any chance I get)!
It's been a wild ride and since most people have been curious about my experience, I figured I take a second or two and give you a sneak peek into what my life has been like the last few months.
I started this whole journey back in December, which is crazy to say. I knew before the whole Joe Mauer engagement debacle that I wanted to apply and after that story broke, I knew I needed to get my game face on and use it to my advantage. So I put all of my effort into claiming a spot in the MLB Fan Cave and luckily enough, I found myself in the Top 50. From there, fans voted me into the Top 30 (thank you, thank you!) and I was sent down to Arizona for spring training and the final cut.
Arizona was ridiculous. I don't think anyone in the Top 30 knew what we were getting ourselves into but man, Major League Baseball sure knows how to take care of their guests. I flew in Monday night, landing in Phoenix with tear-inducing turbulence. Once I had composed myself, I had to wait at the hotel for a few hours for my 'friends' to show up. Thanks to social media, the Top 30 really felt like a big group of old friends when we arrived in Arizona and it kind of felt like we were all set up on a blind date via some online dating service. We all knew so much about one another, just hadn't met yet. The joys of Twitter & Facebook, right?
Tuesday was a surreal experience. I understood the MLB Fan Cave was a reality-based TV show but when I opened my hotel room door and saw all the cameras, it took me a moment to take it all in. There were camera crews hanging out in the courtyard of the hotel, interviewing the contestants and grabbing our awkward introductions. Not only were we 'officially' meeting our 'competition', but we were also meeting the MLB staffers that we had been communicating with for weeks. It was nice to put faces to their names.
After checking in, the Top 30 were told to meet in the lobby so we could take off for Chase Field. And that's when it all started to sink in. All thirty of us, standing outside the hotel lobby with the cameras rolling on us as the official MLB Fan Cave buses started rolling in. Hysterical. I've never had dreams of being a rock star but during that moment, I did... strictly so I could have my own bus.
Chase Field is beautiful. And big. They were redoing the field so it looked like a monster truck rally was about to break out at any second, but it's a cool field regardless of the mess we saw. Kinda futuristic. I need to go back to catch a game when the roof is open. And of course, sit in the pool in the outfield. I remember watching Mikey O. & Ryan, last year's MLB Fan Cave dwellers, hanging out there during the 2011 All-Star Game. Seemed like they were having an awful time.
Our first 'challenge' was a 60 second pitch
in front of the MLB Fan Cave staff, including Tim Brosnan, Jacqueline Parkes & Paul DiMeo. It was one of the scariest things I've ever done. Right in front of us was a giant clock, ticking down from 60 to zero while another MLB Staffer, Jason, stood nearby waiting to bang the gong if we went over our time. I will say, I stopped talking one second before Jason hit the gong. Boom.
The next challenge was the MLB Fan Cave Baseball IQ
. I was lucky enough to be on a team with Dave Barclay (a Bluejays fan) and Ben Christensen (an A's fan), both of whom are great baseball minds. Hosted by Matt Vasgersian with Eric Byrnes as our own Vanna White, the Unilovers took top honors after a few close calls. While I didn't pull my weight in the baseball section, I did land some solid pop culture answers to help send the Unilovers to the championship.
Dinner was a sweet set-up in the outfield suites of Chase Field, complete with our own bar (Bud Lights for everyone), a pool table and karaoke. Yours truly did an outstanding rendition of Salt 'n' Peppa's 'Shoop'
(outstanding meaning rather embarrassing). Thank you Dan Sharp for catching the action on your Sony Bloggie.
Wednesday morning was an early one -- I had my one-on-one interview with MLB at 7:40am. Yikes. Luckily, the hotel had plenty of coffee to help me out. Later in the day, my group headed over to Maryvale to interview John Axford of the Brewers. It was an interesting day at the Brewers' camp because a certain MVP quarterback was in town to hang out with a certain MVP baseball player. The place was on solid lockdown, although we did get to see Mr. Rodgers shag some balls for Mr. Braun during batting practice.
Right before we were headed up to talk to John Axford, we got thrown a curve ball. The Brewers had made another pitcher available and three of us would need to switch and interview him instead. I won't lie, I was insanely nervous about taking on the challenge but wanted to show MLB I could handle anything. So I set off to interview Kameron Loe, one of the Brewers' very tall relievers. The guy was awesome, totally played along with the interview idea I had set up. He's a new dad (congrats, again) so we went through a little Daddy IQ test - Loe did really well, he'll be set through baseball season even with a newborn.
Following our interviews, we had a little group challenge to take care of before heading back to the hotel. By this point, I was exhausted as were most of the contestants. But there was no time to rest as we were whisked away to Lucky Strike for our 'end of spring training' party (with more Bud Lights for everyone, of course).
This blog really doesn't do justice for what happened in Arizona. MLB treated us like family and I can speak for everyone when I say it was the trip of a lifetime. I made lifelong friends, a solid group of people who know me as LG, the girl who can bust out 90s rap when the time is right. And I was one of the lucky nine to get my dream job, a spot in the MLB Fan Cave starting lineup.
All in all, this MLB Fan Cave experience has been a whirlwind. Exciting, exhausting & emotionally draining (in a good way). I've learned more about myself in the last three months than I did in most of my internships and I'm so excited to take 'my talents to NYC' this spring (couldn't resist that one). I'm really lucky to have Twins Territory standing behind me as I take this next step. It's exhilarating and scary but I know you will all be watching come Opening Day and that's helping ease the stress.
Here's a video I made of my experience in Arizona
& stay tuned to my Twitter account
for more updates from NYC!