Posts Tagged ‘Arizona Diamondbacks’

The MLB Fan Cave Top 30 Experience: Day One

February 20, 2013

IMG_0898Where do I even begin? Needless to say, these past 48 hours in Arizona have been amazing, stressful, hilarious and downright unforgettable. After coming so close to being here last year, this is a special treat for me. I wasn’t sure I’d have the chance to show off my skills in person this season, but here I am, and I’m making the most of my time!

Below, I’ll give you the run down (see what I did there?) of what we’ve been doing on the casting trip thus far. But if you haven’t yet checked out yesterday’s Tumblr photo blog, check it out HERE!

And please follow along with the journey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tout for the most up-to-date info. Better yet, like the MLB Fan Cave Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram for the MOST up-to-date info.

I was exhausted when we arrived at the hotel on Monday night, but we all went out to eat at the made-famous-last-year Jerry’s Diner next door. After meeting most of the Top 30, I finished up some work in the hotel room and crashed, because Tuesday was the first big day of the competition.

First thing Tuesday morning, we hopped on the infamous MLB Fan Cave bus and rode (in style) over to Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. They were still rolling out the sod for the upcoming World Baseball Classic games that were going to be held there, but we essentially had the whole place to ourselves! After a quick pep talk from some of the executives who run the Fan Cave, we were off to start the audition process.

I’ve gotten to know a lot of the people who actually make the Cave tick behind the scenes, and everyone has been amazingly supportive and helpful so far. The fact that I’m a Dodgers fan living in San Francisco and the “Fan Cave Couple” story line definitely struck a chord with some of them, and I ended up having a lot of really good talks early in the day.

After that, I was chosen to go down to the D’Backs dugout and do a camera test with MLB Network’s own Greg Amsinger through the Ballpark Cam. They hooked me up to all sorts of wires and ear plugs, handed me a mic, and let Greg fire a round of questions my way. I think it went very well, especially because I was first in line and had to set the precedent for the rest of the group. Greg and I ended up laughing a lot about how Kelsey and I manage to watch games together, my wardrobe choices, and many other baseball-related activities.

We finished that up and went straight to the part of the week I was dreading the most: the elevator pitch. Essentially, they gave us one minute to sell ourselves to the MLB Fan Cave staff and prove that we are someone they want in the Fan Cave. I’d rehearsed my pitch a million times and nailed everything, emerging out of it with a very good, but not perfect feeling about it. When told I “was blessed with Brian Wilson’s beard on my chest” at the end of it, I got a hearty chuckle from the room.

Later in the day, a large group of the Top 30 took part in a lip-synced version of a parody created by the Fan Cave. I won’t reveal which song, because I don’t want to ruin the epic-ness (that just became a word) of it all before it’s released. I can tell you that I found myself with a five-second starring role in the middle, simply by virtue of having my Clayton Kershaw jersey on at the right time.

To finish the first day, we ended up enjoying an amazing spread of food in the Diamond Club above right-center field and took part in a round of trivia. It was another chance to get to know some of the other finalists and executives I hadn’t chatted with yet.

My team (cleverly named “Dr. Fart,” might I add) was in second place with 25 points (two teams had 27) entering the final round, where we wagered 24 of those points. Unfortunately we barely missed on which four teams don’t have mascots (the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs and Angels are mascot-less) and ended up losing the challenge.

Nobody could be down for losing trivia, because we jumped immediately into a couple of hours of karaoke, which started off with a bang when Bryan Mapes, Travis Miller, Ally Williams, Kelsey and myself nailed a rendition of “It’s Gonna Be Me” by N’Sync. Kelsey and I also had to cheese it up a little bit and do a “Summer Nights” duet. It was a ton of fun, even if I failed miserably at singing (but really, what’s new?).

After some last-minute karaoke team bonding and a long chat in the hot tub before bed, day one came to a close and I knocked out a few bits of work before hopping in bed to rest up for today. I still have half a day here before the competition officially ends, and I am looking forward to slaying a panel interview in about an hour, before taking on my fellow contestants in some fancy bowling at Lucky Strike to end the night.

Look for another blog in the next couple days detailing the second half of my Fan Cave journey, and keep it tuned to me on social media for the most current updates. Thanks for reading, and hopefully I’ll come home with some good news this weekend!

Happy Jackie Robinson Day!

April 15, 2012

Ugh. What I would give for one of those “42” jerseys. Needless to say, Jackie Robinson is one of the most important people in the history of…well…anything. But especially baseball.

I’ve been watching baseball all day (I know, rough life), and I was thinking how we would not be seeing certain things today if not for Robinson breaking the color barrier.

Here’s a few of those things:

Matt Kemp might not have slugged his SIXTH home run of the young 2012 season.

Adam Jones might not have continued his rise to stardom with another long ball.

Jimmy Rollins might not have gotten two hits, an RBI and a stolen base.

Dee Gordon might not have hit a walk-off single.

Jason Heyward might not have continued his resurgence with a solo homer.

Prince Fielder might not have raised his average to .353.

Chris Young might not have had three hits, a homer and a stolen base.

And then today would have been really, really boring. Happy Jackie Robinson Day, and don’t forget why some of your favorite players are in the game today.

Follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman

Let’s Play A Game

March 22, 2012

Thank you to Jillian Clark for reminding me today about all my different rage-isms.

I’ve recently discovered internet rage is a flaw of mine. Very similar to something else I have (road rage), it means when someone does something stupid online or the web page is loading too slowly, I feel a sudden burning urge to:

a. Punch a hole through my computer screen

b. Punt the nearest baby or puppy (I only have one of those, and she is really good at fetch so I don’t want her getting hurt)

c. Post an angry comment on some online forum that I’ll never look at again but that will significantly decrease my stress levels

I also have walking rage. So, if you’re walking down the sidewalk, especially in a group, please observe normal humans doing it first so I don’t have to twist and turn like a goddamn Gumby doll to get by you. Assholes.

So now you know. After an exceptionally long intro, let’s focus on that internet rage. We’re going to play a game. Mostly using Yahoo! as my source, we’re going to find all the stupid shit that pisses me off and make a list of things that are falsely portrayed as news. Then we’ll compare it against things that do matter. Why? Because it’ll make me feel better.

NOT NEWS:

1. There was a name mix-up in Diamondbacks camp? How cute! In more important news, that blister on my toe finally popped. This is exactly why people don’t take Yahoo! Sports seriously – 90 percent of their stories are fluff like this.

2. Someone really hates Peyton Manning. Another gem from Yahoo! It’s unique, it’s a little bit morbidly funny, but I don’t know who the dead guy is. I don’t care. Another two minutes of my life wasted.

3. This one makes me want to set a garbage can on fire. So a hot chick has a boyfriend, but Tim Tebow thinks she’s purty and wants her to know that. But oh no, so does Mr. Hockey Player guy on Twitter, even though he was clearly joking! You know what this means…DRAMA! LOVE TRIANGLE! SCANDAL! Shut the hell up.

4. Please don’t make me explain why this is a waste of the good ol’ World Wide Web…

5. And the grand daddy of them all. The one that pissed me off so much that I decided to boycott Yahoo forever. I’m currently in the process of moving over to Gmail. Why? Because this was the LEAD story on Yahoo! a couple of days ago. It was ahead of my #1 for what IS news (see below…and try not to rage at the fact that it was buried underneath Beyonce’s stupid baby bump).

WHAT IS NEWS:

1. This isn’t the Yahoo! story, but it’s very similar. I tweeted out about my personal boycott (I’m sure all 75 followers were very impressed…), but maybe it did make a difference. Because no less than five minutes later, the stories were switched. Sierra Lamar was in the lead, and Beyonce’s belly was not. All was right with the world. But I’m still holding this grudge. Also, this is unbelievably sad – let’s not forget about what really matters.

2. Roger Goodell actually does something right! Normally, that wouldn’t be a story. But paying professional athletes to purposely hurt other professional athletes is not only disgusting and immoral, but sets a turrible example for any aspiring young football player. I’ve been vehemently in favor of harsh punishment of the New Orleans Saints over the “bounty” system that was in place under former coordinator Gregg Williams. Goodell really put the hammer down on the organization, and it’s a huge step in the right direction for the NFL.

3. Wow, this is just incredible. A player collapsing from cardiac arrest on a soccer pitch is a fantastic story, and something that should open up the eyes of everyone in sports. This player is my age and nearly died from a freak heart flaw in the middle of a match, if not for the heroic efforts of the medical staff. The prices we pay for the games we love are crazy.

4. The Million Hoodie March is something I can definitely get behind. If you haven’t heard Trayvon Martin’s tragic tale, Google that immediately. There are many, many layers of further importance buried within this story, from race issues to gun laws. It’s one of those things that just makes me question everything about the country I live in and its policies. Nobody deserves to die the way Martin did.

5. Another star of the 90s is going to retire. And it hurts my heart. Chipper will always be one of those guys I grew up admiring and modeling my game after. Atlanta Braves fans should feel lucky to have had such a stellar player on their team for so many years. I hope he has a fantastic final year and goes out with a bang.

There you have it – now you know. Unless you want angry Jamblinman, you stop supporting the bogus news stories listed above. Start paying attention to the things that matter, whether they are in the sports world or the real world. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.

The Stars are Fading

March 13, 2012

I was talking with a buddy about this via text earlier today: All the stars from our generation in baseball are starting to retire. And it hurts. We’ve already lost Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey, Jr. to retirement.

Alex Rodriguez is a hobbled old man (but really, who liked him anyway?). Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones are winding down their careers. It’s just a sad, sad time for us 90’s kids.

The one that kills me the most is Mariano Rivera. As we all know by now, Mo has decided to be frustratingly covert about his post-2012 plans. He has hinted at coming back and hinted at retiring, but when the contract is up, he’ll have a big decision to make.

Rivera is getting on in years, but he’s still one of the best closers in baseball and is absolutely dominant in the postseason. He hasn’t had any major health issues, so this is purely brought on by being satisfied with his illustrious career.

It’s not often that a player gets to go out like that, but nobody is more deserving of such an honor than Mariano.

Whether or not Mo decides to retire after the season, he will be a first ballot Hall of Famer and go down as the greatest closer the game has ever seen. He’s won five rings with the Yankees and has an almost microscopic postseason ERA. The numbers will be remembered, but there are so many other intangibles that stand out about Rivera.

The reasons I will miss him (and let’s be real…the reasons I’ll cry when he retires) formulate an endless list. First and foremost, he is one of those rare players (like Jeter and Bernie Williams) who have the humility and class to make any baseball fan root for them.

I hate the Yankees – I’m in the majority there. But if you tell me that you hate Rivera, you will get a swift kick to the groin. Unless you’re bigger and faster than me. It’s impossible to hate a guy that has earned the sport’s respect with his play and his demeanor.

I remember watching an E:60 special on Mo a few months back. He hails from a small town in Panama, where he often returns in the off-season to help rebuild and financially strengthen a poor community. He is trying to spread the gospel of baseball in the place he grew up.

That’s not necessarily out of the ordinary for a successful Major Leaguer. But, Rivera is one of those once-in-a-lifetime players whose scope of influence is so vast that it can literally touch any fan, player or person on multiple continents.

Rivera never had a controversial moment in New York, even under the bright lights of the big city. He never basked in that spotlight, even amidst a wealth of prima donna teammates like A-Rod.

And perhaps best of all, Rivera is a great sport. Despite serving up the World Series-winning rally in 2001 to the Arizona Diamondbacks in one of his rare moments of failure, Mo never made excuses about his play.

Rivera is a true champion and a model human being. For my sake, your sake, and baseball’s sake, let’s hope he sticks around for another contract or two and continues to dominate hitters for a living. Bromantic tribute, end.

National Treasure

March 1, 2012

I hate myself for that title. Cool movie, but anything with Nicolas Cage in it is going to piss me off. Anyway, it has nothing to do with the actual film. This is more a matter of sports, as a post of mine should be. If you missed it, I’ve already locked in my predictions for the 2012 Major League Baseball season. This isn’t what I think will happen, this IS what will happen. Wait and see.

My boldest prediction is that the annual N.L. East doormats in D.C. are going to win the division this year, after getting healthy and stacking their rotation with the likes of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson this winter. Call me crazy, but they are the overall most talented team in the division. Yes, better than the new-look Miami Marlins, the powerhouse Phillies and the consistent Atlanta Braves.

You’ve got to love this offense – young guys at shortstop, second base and catcher that can absolutely rake. They’ve got Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman to beef up the middle of the order, and potential game-changing guys in AAA in Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon. And if Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche or Rick Ankiel put it together for a full season…watch out.

So the news today is this: Nationals manager Davey Johnson says ‘Fire me’ if Washington misses the playoffs. And I love it.

Swag is a good thing. You want your players to have confidence on the diamond, why not the guy directing them? And why not say it? First of all, Davey Johnson isn’t getting fired no matter what happens. So it’s an empty offer. But secondly, this team has a legitimate chance to contend.

The fact that these young Nationals are so set on making the playoffs and their manager is so confident in their abilities is setting the table for a special season in the nation’s capital, methinks. Looking at the National League, I see nine serious contenders: Arizona, San Francisco, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Philly, Miami, Atlanta and Washington.

By a mile, the Nats would be the biggest surprise team out of those nine to make the playoffs. But beating four of them should be very do-able for such a talented roster. Their pitching is as good or better than the D’Backs, Reds and Marlins. And their offense definitely matches up or dominates teams like the Giants, Phillies and Brewers.

All I’m saying is this team has the makings of something special in 2012. I think people underestimate how good their rotation will be with Stephen Strasburg, Gonzalez, Jackson, Jordan Zimmerman and John Lannan. It’s going to be young and they will have their struggles, but if the Nats aren’t at LEAST in Wild Card contention in the last week of the season, I will be shocked.

And apparently, so will Davey Johnson. Long live the dark horse!


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