"It's a big relief," Phillies fan Gordon Mack added. "We felt like we all met our goal. When we first signed up, we felt if we could make it to All-Star Week, that's awesome. That was pretty much everyone's goal, and we all hit it, so together as a group we are pretty happy."
Braves fan Ricky Mast won the right to be the designated MLB Fan Cave reporter during the Monday media interview-room sessions with All-Stars -- having won a challenge that included a sunflower-seed-spitting contest, a video-game home run derby and trivia.
As we talked Monday night, eight of the 12 games were in progress on the 15-screen Cave Monster before them. They watched while multitasking in various ways, whether editing a video or writing a blog post or tweeting game reaction or taking a phone call from a relative. Here is what they are each looking forward to the most about going to Kansas City:
Shaun Kippins: "I'm really looking forward to getting to hit and do batting practice at Kauffman Stadium. I'm going to have to visit some batting cages here in the city before we get out there so I don't embarrass myself. I'm mostly looking forward to shagging some fly balls during the Home Run Derby in right field, most likely some Trumbombs [from the Angels' Mark Trumbo]. And hopefully Giancarlo [Stanton, Marlins] is not breaking anything out in our area. I'm looking forward to bringing my glove and shagging balls in the Derby."
Kyle Thompson: "I'm looking forward to seeing Carlos Beltran in the Home Run Derby. He's got one of the most effortless, sweet swings. A lot of people are giving pub to other guys, but they have a lot more effort behind their swing. In a competition that requires you to be able to hit home runs throughout the evening, I think Beltran has a really good shot to hit a bunch in his original ballpark."
Ricky Mast: "Watching Dan Uggla and hopefully Chipper Jones take the field in Kansas City with barbecue sauce smeared all over my face. Did I mention I'm looking forward to having barbecue sauce smeared all over my face? More than anything, I'm just excited to see some Braves on the field during the All-Star Game, with barbecue sauce smeared on my face."
Lindsay Guentzel: "It's an incredible opportunity. We've been here all season, cheering on our favorite players and our favorite team. To get to go there and not only cheer for the Twins and for Joe Mauer, but to represent the American League is awesome. I'm most looking forward to the Home Run Derby and getting to be in the prime spot for all the home runs that are going to be hit. I'm especially excited to see what Giancarlo Stanton can do. I think he's really going to impress some people. The Home Run Derby is going to be one of the best in years. I'm excited to get back to the American League Central. It's a really fun city to visit."
Ashley Chavez: "It was very refreshing, because the way it was all situated, the way they came downstairs, the way they were laughing upstairs, we all kind of had positive thoughts. Plus, the mole over here, Ricardo, he was like, 'No, we're definitely all going -- I have a gut feeling.' So he kind of convinced all of us that maybe we all really are going, and then when it happened, it was screaming and craziness. I have never been able to watch an entire All-Star Game from first pitch to last pitch, because something always happens. Whether I'm camping as a child, or in my adult years I would always work the night of the All-Star Game. I am so happy and excited."
Ricardo Marquez: "First of all, I would like to say for the record that I am not The Mole. ... I'm really excited for everything, but I kind of had my heart set on the Home Run Derby, just because I've been annoyingly campaigning for Mark Trumbo for the past three weeks, and maybe longer. To actually talk to Robinson Cano here on the day he was announced [as captain], and then to find out today that Trumbo is in the Derby, that is insane. I don't want to say I was the reason, but ..."
Gordon Mack: "I'm looking forward to three things. Number one, Mark Trumbo hitting bombs and battling with Giancarlo Stanton. Number two, partying in left field during the All-Star Game. Number three, I'm looking forward to not having to make my bed for two days, because we are staying in a hotel room. When you go out and party and you come back and it's clean, you go, 'Oh my goodness.'"
The Home Run Derby can be seen on MLB.com and ESPN at 8 p.m. ET on Monday. The 83rd All-Star Game is on FOX at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.