Opening Day lineup set for MLB Fan Cave

From an initial pool of 22,000 applicants, Major League Baseball today revealed the nine fans who will begin the season in the MLB Fan Cave, watch every single MLB game each day, chronicle their experience via social media, and compete with each other along the way for the right to stay in the MLB Fan Cave through the World Series.  The nine “Cave Dwellers” campaigned extensively to be among 30 finalists earning a trip to Spring Training last week, then survived two days of interviews, challenges and other activities in Arizona to ultimately be selected by MLB as one of the final contestants. 

The nine “Cave Dwellers” – Ashley Chavez, Benjamin Christensen, Lindsay Guentzel, Shaun Kippins, Gordon Mack, Ricardo Marquez, Ricky Mast, Eddie Mata and Kyle Thompson – will relocate from across the country later this month to the MLB Fan Cave, a 15,000 square foot location at 4th Street and Broadway in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village that was formerly the home of Tower Records. Currently being redesigned to feature new technology and interactive elements, the MLB Fan Cave is a unique event space mixing baseball with music, popular culture, media, interactive technology and art.  Supported by MLB Advanced Media, it also serves as a content factory providing fans with a constant flow of online video and conversation via social media. 

“The MLB Fan Cave in 2011 accomplished our goals of engaging fans via social media in an entirely new way, and now it’s time to take it to the next level,” said Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President, Business, Major League Baseball.  “Choosing these nine fans out of the 30 amazing finalists in Arizona last week was a difficult decision, but we’ve arrived at a truly entertaining group representing a wide range of our fan base. We think fans are really going to enjoy following their adventures online throughout the season while playing an active role in determining who gets to stay in the Fan Cave all season long.”

Ashley Chavez (@smashleychavez), 24, is a San Francisco Giants fan from Lathrop, Calif., who as a child owned multiple stuffed animals named Will Clark and at age 12 once bypassed a series of All-Stars in order to seek Peter Gammons’ autograph. She is leaving behind her job as operations/formalwear manager at The Men’s Wearhouse in Stockton, Calif., to move to New York. She studied fashion design at City College of San Francisco. In her submission video, she shares her experiences following the Giants’ 2010 World Series run.

Benjamin Christensen (@shakabrodie), 29, is an Oakland Athletics fan from Bakersfield, Calif., who (as of today) has tattoos depicting 38 MLB mascots and logos past and present in a variety of cartoon poses arranged on either side of his torso (AL teams on right, NL on left), earning him national media attention last month. Recently, he’s been working as a bartender/cook/trivia writer at a local pub while completing a two-year B.S. program in news/editorial journalism and magazine journalism at the University of Oregon.

Lindsay Guentzel (@lindsayguentzel), 25, is a Minnesota Twins fan and aspiring sports journalist from Minneapolis who has worked at multiple television and radio stations throughout the state, covering the Twins and other local sports teams. Last fall, she broke the news of Joe Mauer’s engagement on her blog, earning the attention of mainstream media outlets throughout Minnesota. While campaigning for the MLB Fan Cave last month, she contributed to Yahoo!’s Big League Stew blog with a post titled “The 10 Best Things About Being a Twins Fan.”

Shaun Kippins (@SkippinsYNN), 25, is an Atlanta Braves fan from Latham, N.Y., thus enduring the pain of the 1996 and 1999 World Series among many friends and family rooting for the Yankees. Currently an assistant sports producer at YNN Hudson Valley, he earned a degree in sports communications from Marist College in 2009. While at Spring Training last week, Shaun was the unwitting recipient of a prank by Troy Tulowitzki while attempting to interview the Rockies slugger about his endorsement deal with EvoShield.

Gordon Mack (@GordonMack), 24, is a Philadelphia Phillies fan originally from Bethlehem, Penn., who recently has been working as a video editor in Manhattan.  He initially drew the attention of the judges by balancing a chair on his chin while rapping in his submission video. Mack graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2010 with a degree in mechanical engeineering. His original dream job was to design roller coasters until he learned the MLB Fan Cave existed and he could watch baseball as a profession.

Ricardo Marquez (@iBlogBetter), 26, is a fan of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim who describes himself as a “failed comedian” from Los Angeles currently living in Covina, Calif. After his initial MLB Fan Cave submission video, Ricardo followed up with a video featuring Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, Stephen Strasburg, Tony Gwynn Jr., and other players working out at San Diego State University advocating his candidacy. He also contributed to Yahoo!’s Big League Stew blog last month, offering his “10 Best Things About Being an Angels Fan.”

Ricky Mast (@RickyMast), 28, is an Atlanta Braves fan from Rockbridge Baths, Va. (population: 922), which Mast claims is primarily considered a town because it has a post office. He is leaving behind his current job as a hazmat cleanup specialist (working with his father, former NASCAR driver Rick Mast) to move to New York and the MLB Fan Cave. A self-described academic overachiever, Mast spent the better part of a decade completing his education at James Madison University. His MLB Fan Cave submission video included multiple musical impressions.

Eddie Mata (@EddieMata), 36, is a New York Yankees fan originally from Brooklyn who more recently has been working as a hitting instructor in Los Angeles while pursuing a career in acting and entertainment. In 2007, Mata earned the opportunity to work the red carpet at the Emmy Awards alongside Ryan Seacrest for E! Entertainment News, and also was on the YES Ultimate Road Trip. While campaigning for the MLB Fan Cave, he received many endorsements from celebrities including Michael Rapaport, Jon Lovitz and Jerry Ferrara.

Kyle Thompson (@Kyle_D_Thompson), 25, is a St. Louis Cardinals fan from Lawton, Okla., whose MLB Fan Cave submission video was a spoof of the popular SNL skit “Like a Boss.”  With hopes of a career in the sports industry, Thompson earned an MBA from the University of Central Oklahoma in December 2011, graduating with honors with a 4.0 GPA.  He married his college sweetheart nearly three years ago, and she will move with him to New York this month as he pursues his dream in the MLB Fan Cave.

The group will begin the season in the MLB Fan Cave with the goal of watching all 2,430 MLB games on a large wall of big screen Sony televisions while chronicling their experiences online through videos, blogs, and social media.  Along the way, they will compete with one another over the course of the season in a series of challenges, with fans online helping decide who gets to stay in the MLB Fan Cave and who gets eliminated with one eventual winner crowned before the end of the World Series.

The MLB Fan Cave has more than a quarter of a million combined followers on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/mlbfancave) and Twitter (@MLBFanCave). The MLB Fan Cave features products and services provided by nearly 50 companies, led by Budweiser, Majestic, New Era, Pepsi, Scotts, Sony and State Farm.