As one of the strangest off-seasons in memory comes to an end, a reminder of just how great baseball can be presented itself at just the right time. The 2012 campaign will feature a very different look in St. Louis, and three Cardinal faithful are one step away from catching every inning of it.
That is if they don’t get voted out of the MLB Fan Cave, of course.
Nick and I had a blast talking to the four fans who made the Top 50 here, and the final votes were counted revealing 30 new occupants for Spring Training in Arizona. Taking some time to reflect on the amazing ride thus far, I caught up with Kyle, Nick, and Kelsey before their lives are turned even more upside down next week.
It has been a blur the last 48 hours as each explained how they found out they were needing to pack for a trip unlike any other.
Nick Straatmann: I found out by checking mlbfancave.com. I plan on doing the same thing I’ve been doing the last couple weeks. I’m going to promote the Cave as much as I can and continue putting out material.
Kelsey Shea Weinrich: I was actually scheduled for my first day of work at Disney World in a long time yesterday, and all morning I kept thinking I was going to miss a phone call. And then on one of my breaks I checked my email and there it was! I, of course, started shaking with excitement, but no one around me was a baseball fan…so I think they thought I was a little crazy.
Kyle Thompson: I was in a hotel room in Austin, TX (when I found out). I was with my wife, who may very well be more excited than I am about all of this. She kind of feels helpless because it is all up to me to get to NYC now, but she is remaining positive, helpful, and supportive!
Each Cave candidate has found plenty of support along the way, and they know that Cardinal Nation is ready to see some World Champions gear all season long. What do they have prepared to make it that far?
KSW: What am I not willing to do?! Like I’ve said before, I’m very passionate about being a female fan and it’s obvious that I’m very passionate about the Cardinals. We’re such a different kind of fan base than all others and I really hope the MLB can see that and realize that one of us needs to be in the Cave. I plan on representing Cardinal Nation by just being myself and standing apart in that way.
KT: No surprises. I’ll just be straightforward. No crazy gimmicks. I will be taking pics and putting them on Facebook and Twitter periodically to chronicle what’s going down. I’m looking forward to it!
NS: I’ll eat dirt. I’ll sleep in a dumpster every night. I’ll eat my own arm with mustard on the side.
While they don’t know exactly how things in Arizona are going to play out, the Top 30 all have one goal in mind. For the three St. Louis supporters, making it to New York takes on a special meaning knowing they would be representing the best fans in baseball.
KT: I feel that I have a different mindset than a lot of the other finalists. Humbly, I’m not unemployed or desperate for exposure. I’m an incredibly driven 25 yr old with a Master’s degree and a vision for a future in baseball. This is where my passions and my skill set meet, and I plan to give it my all down in Spring Training. I will leave there knowing that I gave it everything that I had, and I will be happy to live with MLB’s decision.
KSW: I’m also thrilled with the support I’ve gotten from the Cardinals organization, themselves. I was extremely lucky to go to Spring Training for a few days last week and KSDK got me a press pass to get into the clubhouse! It was a Cardinal fan’s dream! (I can probably die happy now…) What impressed me most was that players who I had met the day before remembered my name and asked how I was doing. (GM John) Mozeliak was even asking me about my Fan Cave candidacy. That says a lot about the group of guys that we idolize.
NS: My Dad is usually not a super excitable person, but even he is really into it. They’re (his family) almost as excited as I am. They know how much baseball has always meant to me, so they can understand just how excited I am. I’d like to say that I’m going to do everything I can to represent our fan base with every ounce of class and creativity that has defined us since 1892!
One thing is certain for the next week, and that is I will be paying attention to both Spring Training sites instead of just what takes place in Jupiter. If you are not following the three potential Cards’ Cave Dwellars on Twitter or Facebook, stop whatever you are doing (within reason) and go show your support!
And as always check back with PH8 for more exclusive content as we support all three finalists making it to NYC! (being a little greedy is ok, right?)