Posts Tagged ‘Kansas City Royals’

The MLB Fan Cave Top 30 Experience: Day Two

February 23, 2013

IMG_0932Technically, I’ve been home for almost two full days. But when the week prior is full of sleep deprivation, stress, lots of travel, and busy schedules, the last thing you’re physically ready to do is write up a blog talking about said list.

I’ve caught up on sleep and am in a reflective mood, so let’s talk day two of the MLB Fan Cave trip to Arizona! If you missed the first part, you can find my recap here.

Day two started with a group bus ride to Surprise, AZ to do a couple video challenges. Little did we know what an amazing surprise we would actually get! When we arrived at the complex (it was a beauty!), we saw Rangers and Royals players taking batting practice in the cages.

Immediately, we were split into two groups to film our video challenges. I held down the fort for the men in my group, joining Royals fan Angalena Scavuzzo, Yankees fan Stephe Rodriguez, A’s fan Vanessa Demske and Blue Jays fan April Whitzman. We each shot individual 15-second promos with Sony Bloggie’s, before collaborating on a 30-second commercial for MLB.com/tickets for our mystery team (the Orioles).

Look for those finished products on MLBFanCave.com very soon! The real craziness began after we finished that challenge. I had heard rumors that George Brett was in Surprise earlier in the week, but figured he had left already. Then, wouldn’t you know it, but the Hall of Famer himself walks up to our group in full Royals gear and shakes everyone’s hand before going back to the scrimmage.

The fact that this 2013 MLB Fan Cave journey has already allowed me to shake hands with and speak to Tommy Lasorda and George Brett is an absolute dream come true. It keeps me grounded as the anticipation swells for the Cave Dwellers to be announced, that even if I don’t make it, nothing will change the experience I’ve had.

After meeting George, we headed down to the field itself and met up with current Royals outfielders Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon. The Royals are kind of my fan-crush team of the year (the team I not-so-secretly root for when the Dodgers aren’t involved — I picked them to win an A.L. Wild Card this season!), so it was amazing to interact with two of their most notable hitters.

I can’t tell you what we filmed or many details about the rest of the day in Surprise, because, well…it’s a surprise. That production should be on MLBFanCave.com fairly soon as well. I can tell you that George Brett, Francoeur, and Gordon were three of the coolest dudes I’ve ever met. Gordon was more soft-spoken, but clearly very confident in himself. Francoeur, or “Frenchie,” is an absolute goofball. We had a good time chatting about Bacon Tuesday in Oakland and how the rightfield bleacher creatures at o.Co Coliseum love him more than their own.

I took pictures with both of them, including this gem that spread like wildfire through the Fan Cave social media pages:

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Yes, I can forever claim to be the guy who got photo-boomed (get it?) by a Hall of Famer. I’m honored! After the dream of an afternoon ended, we hopped back on the Fan Cave bus and rode it to the hotel in Phoenix. Many of the contestants were able to relax, take naps, and hit up the hotel happy hour before our last event. But I still had a panel interview on the itinerary, meaning I had to update you all on social media and then get to mentally preparing myself for one of the most important aspects of the week.

The panel interview is like any other job interview — except that everyone there has close ties to the top of the top in Major League Baseball. And there are at lest 10 of them there. And you’re in a chair in the middle of the round, surrounded by them. And you have no idea what they will ask and how they will react to what you answer.

Honestly, I didn’t get very nervous for this part of the process, because I’ve been through so many job interviews in so many industries before. It was a little bit intimidating that one person was firing questions while the rest watched and/or took notes. The anticipation of knowing what was on their notepads was killing me!

Without fully disclosing everything that was said in that room, I can tell you that I was asked a lot about my writing, my girlfriend, and a couple of questions related to personal experiences (i.e. “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?”).

All in all, I came out of the room feeling good, though I was disturbed at the simplicity of the questions they asked me. As I look back today, I was likely just over thinking every last detail, but I still worry that they couldn’t figure out a unique aspect of my story to grab onto, hence the unmemorable interview questions. That could be a killer in the end, but when looking at my body of work as a whole in Arizona, I still consider myself a very strong candidate.

After that interview, the tough part was over. I went back to my room, got dressed up for a night at Lucky Strike downtown, and met everyone in the lobby about 45 minutes later. I must say, we all looked fantastic in our best business-casual comfort clothes.

The party at Lucky Strike was fabulous. We had endless, catered food that was all delicious, an open bar, and a chance to party with our fellow contestants and mingle with the MLB executives again. I had a few really good conversations with people I hadn’t gotten to chat with enough on day one, and strengthened my bonds with a lot of the other finalists.

At the end of the night, a strange mix of relief, fear, and confusion set in as I realized the whirlwind of a trip was officially coming to an end. When we returned to the hotel, I drafted and sent a very brief, but heartfelt email to some of the MLB executives thanking them for the trip and the opportunity I was presented with.

I figured if I waited until the next morning to send the email, I might come across as a suck-up, as they were evidently discussing the finalists that day. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, though — I really just truly appreciated everything I was given and the overwhelming week compelled me to thank everyone as soon as possible. Hopefully they received and appreciated my note! IMG_0938

After a few beers in various finalists’ rooms as we all wound down and discussed travel plans for home (as well as travel plans to visit each other!), I finally crashed around 3 a.m. The trip was done. It was a resounding success, and flying back to San Francisco the next morning left me feeling upset, as I wished only to be back in the hot tub chumming it up with 29 of the coolest people I’ve ever met.

Now we wait for our results, less anxious than we should be. It’s hard to be nervous when you have a family of support around you and an unending Facebook group chain sharing pictures, videos and experiences from the previous few days. No matter what happens, this is a Fan Cave family. It doesn’t matter how many times it has been said, or how cliche it is, because it’s completely true.

The people, the places, the players and the challenges we faced in two short days is unrivaled. Regardless of results, this will be one helluva baseball season, as I share it with a whole new group of obsessive fans. Thank you, MLB Fan Cave!

Oh…and remember when I promised you all the secret parody video? Here it is, in all its glory:

http://mlbfancave.mlb.com/fancave/video.jsp?content_id=25607055&topic_id=19224580&fbid=AJnZFcY9hdV

Where Have All the Sluggers Gone?

May 16, 2012

Long lines suck. Coke lines are bad for you. And conga lines are cliché. But the worst possible type of line in the whole wide world is the Mendoza Line.

For those of you that don’t know, that’s a .200 batting average. If you are “below the Mendoza Line,” you are a really terrible baseball player.

Some players manage to play an entire 162-game season and hit below the line, yet still sign lucrative contracts (that’s you Carlos Pena and Mark Reynolds). I won’t ever understand THAT, but it’s not the topic of conversation tonight.

What I want to know is how in the world three incredibly talented hitters are flirting with Mendoza so hard that their wives think they are being cheated on!

Namely, Albert Pujols (.212), Jose Bautista (.195) and Eric Hosmer (.182). These are some of the better hitters in all of baseball, and they are all struggling mightily.

If it were still early in the season, it can be excused as a slow start, but we are almost 1/4 of the way through. Now it becomes worrisome. All three teams have serious playoff aspirations in 2012, but I can guarantee none will get there without these players stepping up.

Here’s my outlook for the power-hitting American League trio:

Pujols – He is Albert Pujols. He will be fine. He hit his second homer tonight and will probably go .300/30/100 by the end of the season. Sure, he took more time to adjust to the AL than many expected, but there is a reason the guy is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame at age 32.

Bautista – The Jays’ main man has bloomed late in his career and hit nearly 100 homers combined in the last two seasons. In 2011 he really put his game together, raising his average and improving his plate discipline. So is 2012 a fluke or was 2011? I think he’ll have a rough average (maybe .265 at best) but should post another 30 homer, 100 RBI season. Don’t worry, Canada!

Hosmer – This kid is the one I’m most worried about. He’s making my trendy Wild Card pick of the Royals look ridiculous with his play right now. The Sophomore Slump is in full effect for Hosmer, who looked like the next great star in baseball. With a swing like his, I think he’ll have a fine career. This season? If he hits 25 homer I’ll be shocked at this point.

There you have it. What do YOU think about Pujols, Bautista and Hosmer? Comment below or tweet me @Jamblinman!

Thanks for reading. Until tomorrow, please don’t snort any Mendoza lines.

No Excuses

April 14, 2012

There are no excuses in this business. So when I was experiencing blogger’s block earlier today, I thought “HEY. Cut it out! No excuses. No crying in baseball.” And this is what I’ve come up with for today’s Jam Shots:

There is no excuse for whoever that doofy-looking dude on the MLB Network representing the Rays, picked an answer of “Pete Rose” for the category “Hall-of-Famers who played in the 1971 All-Star Game.” I hate you, sir.

There is no excuse for Harold Reynolds on MLB Network choosing Dee Gordon, who started the season almost 100 at-bats over the maximum to be considered a rookie, for his NL Rookie of the Year in 2012. Give me your job, Harold.

There is no excuse for Shin-Soo Choo not knowing how to get out of the way of a fastball that’s coming at him. He fractured his thumb on an inside fastball from Jonathan Sanchez in 2011, and was hit in the same thumb this year by Chris Sale. Both times, he failed to even try to turn his back to the mound, like we are taught at a young age. #Idiot

There is no excuse for Joe Thatcher of the Padres walking Andre Ethier on four straight pitches with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth last night. Especially given Ethier’s deficiencies against lefties. But I’m not complaining!

There is no excuse for whoever designed and built the new Miami Marlins stadium. Center field is already 418 feet deep, but you had to make the actual fences 20 feet tall? At least we won’t have to see much of that stupid home run structure.

There is no excuse for whoever hired Skip Bayless.

There is no excuse for blogger’s block. Hence, this gem. Thanks for reading, and comment below if I missed anything that should have no excuses.

Follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman.

Chowin’ Down: Bacon Tuesday

April 11, 2012

Note: I cheated. I won’t deny it. I originally wrote this for Three Up, Three Down’s blog (3u3d.mlblogs.com) with the intention of sharing it on here. I’m lazy. I’ve also been watching baseball all day, so get off my back, yo!

My first official MLB game of 2012 came with quite a few surprises. Despite the rain-delayed first pitch and the game being called due to that very same storm 7 and a half innings later, it was a fun time. The A’s lost 3-0, but the action on the field was nothing compared to the gloriousness that took place in the right field bleachers.

Here’s the back story for all you unfortunate fools who have yet to experience a Bacon Tuesday at o.Co Coliseum in Oakland:

As I understand it, the right field bleacher crew, (some of the most die hard fans in baseball, I assure you of that) started a tradition last year of bringing bacon treats to Tuesday home games. When the Royals strolled into town, their right fielder was intrigued by the tradition.

Because A’s fans are the coolest kids around, they developed a unique bond with Mr. Francoeur (aforementioned right fielder), and donated some bacon to his mouth. He responded by tossing them a baseball with a $100 bill wrapped around it.

Needless to say, the right field bleacher crew at A’s games is now in love with Francoeur, and it seems as if the compassion is shared equally. I was at the game on Tuesday, and every time Francoeur came out to the field, the fans chanted his name and he turned around and smiled or waved.

He seemed to be having a legitimately great time with those fans, a rare spectacle for a visiting player. By the way, Frenchie (as he’s affectionately known) scored major points with me. I thought he was just a “blah” player with below average stats, but he’s clearly the greatest player in the game today. I mean…he loves bacon!

Anyway, when they came back to the Coliseum this week, the right field bleacher crew had shirts ready, reading “2nd Annual bacon Tuesday,” and below that, “Sponsored by Jeff Francoeur.” Yes, he got a shirt. Duhh.

My friend Taylor and I went up to the bleachers around the fourth inning to meet the guys and gals up there and laugh about the tradition and talk a little baseball. Little did I know that adventure would lead me to the most delicious oral extravaganza of my life. Whoa. Re-word that. Uhh…

I chowed down on chocolate-covered bacon. Incredible, of course. Chocolate. And bacon. A match made in heaven. Then I was handed a bacon-wrapped jalapeno stuffed with peanut butter. It was a little strange, naturally. But entirely enjoyable.

The most memorable treat came in the form of a pretzel stick. Ready? Wrapped in…candied bacon. No, there’s more…DIPPED IN NUTELLA. My mouth just started watering like Niagara Falls remembering that finger-lickin’ morsel.

A’s fans, and baseball fans everywhere – let’s be real. The A’s could use a little revenue. So go to o.Co, especially on Tuesdays. You might get to share in the epicness of the bacon treats. Which may very well be the greatest things ever created. Hashtag: NOM.


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