It’s time for the San Francisco treat, the World Baseball Classic finals! We have two teams that everyone expected to be there in Japan and the Dominican Republic, plus two upstarts that have surprised everyone along the way in the Netherlands and Puerto Rico. The latter two knocking out two of the big favorites in the tournament in Cuba and the United States. Mapes is just excited he gets to yell HONKBAL for at least one more game!
It’s time though for the final WBC Fantasy draft on Three Up, Three down between Mapes and Jeremy. Jeremy dominated “Round Two Pool One” 161-121 after Mapes took the USA side “Pool C/D Round One” draft 124-121. Mapes came back to crush Jeremy in “Round Two Pool Two” 115-63 on the strong backs of Gio Gonzalez and Fernando Rodney and the bad back of “Captain America” David Wright for Jeremy. Mapes now leads the overall score 360-345.
For the final with only three games, we’re going to draft the same nine offensive positions, but only one SP and one RP each. Again, we must have at least two from each country and no more than four from any country. Jeremy had first pick last time, so Mapes starts us off for the finals!
Pick #1 – Team Mapes: Kenta Maeda, SP (Japan)
If I had just picked Maeda in the last draft with the Japanese teams, I’d be coasting to victory. Maeda is rested and ready to go, he gets to face a Puerto Rican team who just had to travel from Miami to San Francisco with no rest day. Maeda’s been the best pitcher in this tournament and is the clear #1 pick to get a win and advance to the finals.
I’m snagging the guy that killed me last round, and it’s not just for revenge. Out of the four teams left, I think Rodney is the closest thing to a guarantee to get me some save points, as he’s been automatic since…well, since Opening Day of the 2012 season. If the Dominican Republic somehow doesn’t advance, I’ll be shocked. But we’ve seen crazier things happen.
Not picking the best hitter in the tournament would just be plain silly. Cano is going to rip up the Netherlands’ pitching, and likely have a second game in the tournament to do more damage. I expect to see at least one ball clearing the outfield fence when he’s hitting at AT&T this week. Watch out, McCovey Cove!
You said Abe was the Japanese Buster Posey. The finals are in AT&T Park in San Francisco. I like that symmetry there and I’m not letting him have a multi-homer game on your team again. Yes, I know this lets you take your boy Yadier Molina later and stay in your girlfriend’s good graces.
I know this is the third straight time I’ve taken Beltran, and he hasn’t exactly produced. But the guy has given me no reason to doubt him over a clutch postseason career, and he’s still one of the most productive hitters in the history of the World Baseball Classic. Plus, he kind of likes hitting in AT&T Park (.328 there over the last three years).
You’d think you’d learn by now that I’m not going to take Beltran, ever. My crush on Andrelton Simmons is tremendous right now. It’s to the point that I’ve made a custom Netherlands shirsey for him, but not sure to pull the trigger on ordering it. If the honkballers win the title, I will for sure.
Pick #7 – Team Jeremy: Yoshio Itoi, OF (Japan)
This guy has been absolutely crushing the ball lately, driving in 7 runs in his 6 games. If he’s good for a couple hits, a run and an RBI in Japan’s first game, I’m happy. That being said, Japan should get two games. Double the pleasure, double the fun for me!
Pick #8 – Team Mapes: Hirokazu Ibata, Util (Japan)
He’s been DHing a lot for Japan, but I have no qualms with just putting him in my utility spot. He’s 8 for 14 for the Japanese and hits in the middle of that lineup. I’ll pair him with Abe and hope for the best. I think you can tell by now, I believe Japan make the finals for the 3rd straight time.
I thought about waiting a little longer to snag my boy here, but didn’t want to risk you finding a way to sneak him on as a third baseman or something. It hasn’t just been the WBC — Ramirez has been hitting the ball hard all spring. He’s going to get me some points hitting in that lineup, especially in two games, hopefully.
Pick #10 – Team Mapes: Nelson Cruz, OF (Dominican Republic)
We’ve strangely never drafted the “Lord of the Boomstick”, but he’s been one of the Dominican’s top hitters and way better than Hanley’s pitiful .176 average in the WBC.
Pick #11 – Team Jeremy: Mike Aviles, SS (Puerto Rico)
We don’t get points for batting average. So you can keep your Cruz, I’ll take my Hanley, who has the same amount of runs scored and homers in this tournament, even with the big gap in average! That being said, Aviles is hitting around .300 in the tournament and has been the only RBI threat on the team thus far. His 8 RBI are five more than the next closest in that lineup.
Might as well load up on the middle of the Dominican lineup after you’ve made the terrible mistake of not taking Jose Reyes at shortstop with your utility already filled. I’m ready for Encarnacion to put out a bomb like he did 42 times in 2012.
Oh, you mean the Reyes who has 2 RBI and 0 stolen bases in this tournament? That Reyes? No thanks. I’ll stick with Aviles, who has been far more productive. I love Smith, too, and I’m not sure why. But he seems to be the most consistent threat in that Honkbal lineup behind Simmons, and I don’t want to miss this chance.
I’ll finally cave and take a Puerto Rican, not that I’m bitter for them knocking out the United States. We should make them the 51st state just so these shenanigans don’t happen again. Pagan leads Puerto Rico in total bases and picks up an occasional steal. If they’re going to have a chance against Japan, Pagan needs to play like he did at AT&T Park last season.
Now why do you have to bring up Pagan at AT&T Park last season? That’s a low blow! But I’ll snag your boy Andruw here, who is Team Honkbal’s third most consistently dangerous hitter. You can have Simmons, I’ll take the talents of their other two offensive stars to South Beach (seriously, there’s an area in San Francisco called South Beach…don’t laugh at this, I don’t deserve it).
Please just stop being terrible for one game Rios. It’s all I ask.
Pick #17 – Team Jeremy: Nobuhiro Matsuda, 3B (Japan)
I can’t believe I’m only going to take two Japanese players in this draft, but it’s equally shocking that I get Matsuda this close to the end of the draft. All he’s done at the hot corner for Team Japan thus far is hit .389 with a homer, 5 RBI and 5 runs scored.
Pick #18- Team Mapes: Jonathan Schoop, 2B (Netherlands)
I need a second baseman AND another Honkballer so I’m going with the Orioles prospect that I know has some pop.
You said earlier that this was to stay in Kelsey’s good graces. Is it any coincidence that I’ll be telling her about this draft later today? Yes, believe it or not. I actually had my eye on Carlos Santana of the Dominican Republic, just because they should have two games, as opposed to Molina’s one. But I won’t complain about getting Yadi again. He’s been good for me so far.
HONK IF YOU LOVE HONKBAL!!!
Pick #21 – Team Jeremy: Edinson Volquez, SP (Dominican Republic)
Your first overall pick of Maeda did end up putting me in a bind. We don’t even know who is going to start for the Netherlands, and Puerto Rico’s pitcher will get rocked. Volquez is a guy I rarely trust, but with that lineup behind him, he could have a mediocre start and still pick up 10 points for me. I’m just glad he’s not facing his own team.
Still can’t resist a submarine-throwing closer. Just can’t do it.
Can Jeremy mount a comeback in the finals? Or is the 15 point lead going to hold up for Mapes? Should Jeremy have take Jose Reyes? Let us know in the comments or tweet usand thank for enjoying WBC Fantasy, we’ve had a lot of fun doing it!
We couldn’t just stop with the opening round of pools C and D! Jeremy and Mapes of course had to delve into the 2nd round of pools A and B. It will give Mapes something more to root for than just saying the word “honkbal” over and over and over. The first WBC fantasy draft and rules can be found here.
There are only four teams in this round two so the rules change to where we need at least two players from every team and a maximum of four from each team. The same positions and point scoring system applies! We’re choosing from Cuba, Japan, Chinese Taipei, and the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands. Jeremy had the first pick in the pools C and D draft so, Mapes will take the opening pick in this draft Let’s roll!
Cuban. Barry. Bonds. Let’s just move on.
Pick #2 – Team Jeremy: Shinnosuke Abe, C (Japan)
Did you really have to go the “Barry Bonds” route? Why not the Cuban Babe Ruth? In any case, this guy is the Japanese Buster Posey. No, seriously. He won MVP on the champion team, named the Giants. And he’s just as good with the bat, better with the glove.
Pick #3 – Team Jeremy: Alfredo Despaigne, OF (Cuba)
What more do you want? This guy has a 1.636 OPS in the World Baseball Classic so far, which was capped off by an absolute monster three-run homer against Japan in the opening round. Despaigne is en FUEGO right now.
Pick #4 – Team Mapes: Chien-Ming Wang, SP (Chinese Taipei)
I really loved what I saw from Wang in his first start of the WBC. His sinker ball was really working and I expect him to go for a full six innings and contend for a win in this round.
Pick #5 – Team Jeremy: Danny Betancourt, SP (Cuba)
My team will be stocked full of Cubans. There’s good reason. Yes, these guys can mash on offense, but if you watched Danny Betancourt’s first round performance (eight strikeouts, by the way), you know this dude is straight filth.
Pick #6 – Team Mapes: Andrelton Simmons, SS (Netherlands)
Homer pick! I wasn’t letting Simba get away from me with my love of the Braves. He hit over .300 in the first round, plus gets plenty of at-bats atop the Dutch lineup.
Pick #7 – Team Jeremy: Diegomar Markwell, SP (Netherlands)
Depending on Markwell’s matchup in the quarterfinals, this could come back to haunt me. But he was downright nasty in the first game of the tournament against a powerful Korea team, so I’m hopeful he’ll score me some big points.
Pick #8 – Team Mapes: Jose Fernandez, 2B (Cuba)
I wanted to ensure that I was strong up the middle and also take as much of Cuba’s powerhouse lineup. I’m doubling down on those with Fernandez, who led Pool A and B in the first round with a .625 batting average. I hope it carries over to round two.
Pick #9 – Team Jeremy: Yoshio Itoi, OF (Japan)
Itoi had a big first round, hitting .300 with four RBI and two stolen bases. He has a unique blend of speed, power and contact hitting abilities, which I hope he will continue to ride into round two for my team.
I thought about going symmetry and taking the other “Ching-Ming” on Chinese Taipei, but instead I’ll go with Dai-Kang Yang who played in all three games for Chinese Taipei. He led the team in total bases in round one, which is what I need to rack up points!
Pick #11 – Team Jeremy: Frederich Cepeda, OF (Cuba)
My outfield is just unfair. Itoi, Despaigne, and now the latter’s Cuban teammate, Cepeda. He tied for the team lead with 9 total bases in their first three games, including two doubles and a triple. The .500 batting average and .615 on-base percentage sealed the deal for me, though.
Pick #12 – Team Mapes: Kazuhisa Makita, RP (Japan)
Can’t resist a submarine-throwing closer. Just can’t do it.
Pick #13 – Team Jeremy: Loek Van Mil, RP (Netherlands)
This picture is not photoshopped. Van Mil is 7’1″ and comes at the hitters from seemingly inches away. He got the job done for the Netherlands in the first round, and I expect him to close out any games that they lead in round two.
Pick #14 – Team Mapes: Hung-Wen Chen, RP (Chinese Taipei)
I needed to grab another reliever, with Van Mil gone and my strategy of only grabbing Cuban offensive players, that leaves me with Hung-Wen Chen who picked up a save in round one.
Pick #15 – Team Jeremy: Curt Smith, 1B (Netherlands)
I think this is a big sleeper pick. I love this guy filling in at first base. If there’s one player who was unknown among other big names on this team’s roster, it was Smith. He only had seven at-bats in the first three games (thanks to four walks), but hit .286 in that span.
Pick #16 – Team Mapes: Yulieski Gourriel, 3B (Cuba)
I know, I know. Gourriel went 1 for 13 in round one, but he still hits in the heart of the Cuban lineup. I’ll gladly take his upside, when I need a third baseman anyway this late!
Pick #17 – Team Jeremy: Xander Bogaerts, 3B (Netherlands)
You can have your Cuban missile launcher, I’ll take my all-around stud in Red Sox top prospect Bogaerts. If defense counted, he’d be even more valuable. But so far with the bat, Bogaerts has been relatively quiet. That won’t last long for the career .296 minor league hitter. I hope he breaks out when he’s on my team.
Pick #18- Team Mapes: Hisayoshi Chono, OF (Japan)
This is where I panicked, but I like Chono’s upside. I think he bounces back after hitting .200 in round one, but will get all the time in left field for team Japan.
Pick #19 – Team Jeremy: Chih-Sheng Lin, SS (Chinese Taipei)
At this point, I’m still in need of two Chinese Taipei representatives. With middle infield to fill, I looked at Lin to provide some offensive pop for my team. He hit .300 in the first round, and also got on base quite frequently (.417 OBP).
Pick #20 – Team Mapes: Andruw Jones, OF (Netherlands)
My other Braves homer pick! I love that Netherlands has control of Curacao so they can use Simmons and Jones in the WBC. I can’t resist not having a player I grew up watching in Atlanta on my team and he was even pretty good in round one.
Pick #21 – Team Jeremy: Alexei Bell, OF/Util (Cuba)
With my utility pick, I had to go back to the bats of Cuba. I could have closed my eyes and picked any of the hitters, but I settled with Bell because I still can’t get his ridiculous homer the other night out of my memory. Hopefully there’s more where that came from.
Pick #22 – Team Mapes: Erisbel Arruebarruena, SS/Util (Cuba)
The guy can hit and I really just took him so I would have more reason to learn how to pronounce his last name.
I ruled out the Cuban closer by selecting Bell with my previous pick, but that’s all fine and dandy. I don’t know if Settsu will get me any saves, but he did lock down one of Japan’s two wins in round one. He’s unhittable and could score me a few sneaky points.
Pick #24 – Team Mapes: Dashenko Ricardo, C (Netherlands)
Well I have to take a catcher and Ricardo hit .400 in round one. Honk if you love honkbal!
Pick #25 – Team Jeremy: Yen-Wen Kuo, 2B (Chinese Taipei)
Well, I wasn’t going to leave his double play partner alone on my roster! I fill out the team with a necessary pick of the Taipei second baseman, and can’t complain about his .333 average in round one!
Pick #26 – Team Mapes: Masahiro Tanaka, SP (Japan)
With Jeremy taking his starting pitchers super early it let me take my choice of Japanese starters to round out my team. I like Tanaka’s upside, even though Kenta Maeda had the better numbers for Japan in round one. Plus, this opens me up to plenty of “you have no marbles” jokes like Tanaka from Major League 2.
Now all four pools are represented, even if we showed up a bit late to the party (Can you blame us? We’re still waiting for Jose Abreu’s home run ball to land, okay?). We have our teams and will let fate dictate this the rest of the way. Follow along with us on Twitter at the tags below, and don’t forget to vote for who you think has the best team below!
The World Baseball Classic is in full swing! Congrats go out already to Japan, Cuba, Chinese Taipei, and the Netherlands for advancing to round two! Somewhere around 3:30 AM while admiring the wonder that is the word “honkbal” myself and Jeremy Dorn wondered why we didn’t have a fantasy game for the World Baseball Classic? We’re going to rectify that now with another Mapes vs. Jeremy battle!
1) There is a draft for each remaining round. That means the 2nd part of round one, each grouping of round two, and the championship round will each have a draft that you can find here!
2) Each fantasy team must have at least one player from every country and no more than two from any country. The round two and the championship rounds the totals are upped to at least two from each country and no more than four from any country because there’s only four countries to choose from.
3) Most points at the end of the championship round wins!
C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF, OF, OF, Util, SP, SP, RP, RP
Single: 1, Double: 2, Triple: 3, Home run: 4, Run scored: 1, RBI: 1, Stolen base: 1
Out recorded: 1, Hit or walk allowed: -1, Run allowed: -2, Strikeout: 1, Win: 10, Loss: -5, Save: 5
Countries in 2nd half of Round One:
USA, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Spain
Mapes won the toss and elected to pick 2nd/3rd, so Jeremy is up with the first pick!
Pick #1 – Team Jeremy: Miguel Cabrera, 1B (Venezuela)
Do I really even need to explain this pick? Cabrera is fresh off of a Triple Crown, MVP season and is already feasting on pitchers this Spring. It doesn’t matter who is on the bump; Cabrera is going OFF in the World Baseball Classic.
Pick #2 – Team Mapes: Ryan Braun, OF (USA)
I was going to go with a surprise pick at the top, but with you taking a first baseman at the top will let me wait a little. I’ll start off with Ryan Braun who hits for average, has power, and can steal a base. He should be good for quite a few points.
Pick #3 – Team Mapes: Carlos Gonzalez, OF (Venezuela)
Might as well stock up on outfielders and there’s another player who should go in the top 10 of regular fantasy drafts this season. Gonzalez will be a stud in a strong Venezuelan lineup. He’ll rack up runs or RBI’s no matter where he is hitting.
Pick #4 – Team Jeremy: Giancarlo Stanton, OF (USA)
I don’t know how breakable the scoreboards are in Arizona, but Stanton will take his shots. This kid is still incredibly raw, but opposing pitchers are going to find out just why MLB teams dread the inning that he steps into the box.
Pick #5 – Team Mapes: Jose Reyes, SS (Dominican Republic)
I watched the Dominican Republic’s drubbing of the Phillies in an exhibition and was so impressed with Reyes that I wanted to make sure I got him. He’s the best shortstop in this portion of the tournament. I expect plenty of chances for points atop the Dominican lineup.
Pick #6 – Team Jeremy: R.A. Dickey, SP (USA)
It should be a tough match-up for Dickey against Team Mexico, but I’m banking on ten points for a win from the reigning N.L. Cy Young winner. Did you see Stephen Fife of all people shut down Mexico’s offense? Yikes. Good luck with the knuckler, guys.
Pick #7 – Team Mapes: Brett Lawrie, 3B (Canada)
Thanks for grabbing your 2nd American early! Now I know I can wait until the end of the draft and still get the player I was targeting. Here I’ll lock up my Canadian spot with Brett Lawrie. I know Joey Votto is better, but I still have a plan for that 1B spot, which means I’ll grab the 2nd best offensive player from the Great White North.
Pick #8 – Team Jeremy: Carlos Beltran, OF (Puerto Rico)
When has Beltran ever NOT come through in a big spot? (Cue Mets fans everywhere grumbling about 2006 NLCS…) Beltran is one of the most decorated postseason hitters ever, and he will have no problem handling the best of international competition, either.
Pick #9 – Team Mapes: Yadier Molina, C (Puerto Rico)
Every time we do these battles you always end up with Yadier Molina. NOT THIS TIME. Molina might be the best offensive weapon on Puerto Rico and knowing you can’t take Joe Mauer at catcher, so this will put you in a nice little bind!
Pick #10 – Team Jeremy: Pablo Sandoval, 3B (Venezuela)
I hate taking Giants players, but who am I to pretend that Sandoval isn’t one of the most rapidly improving hitters in the game right now? He dominated the Winter Leagues and will put up some big points for my team over the next couple weeks.
Pick #11 – Team Mapes: Anthony Rizzo, 1B (Italy)
Here’s the player that I almost took first! The drop from Rizzo to the 2nd best player on Italy is such a big drop that I wanted to make sure I grabbed the Cubs future superstar and stick you with the Alex Liddi’s or Nick Punto’s of the WBC.
Pick #12 – Team Jeremy: Carlos Santana, C (Dominican Republic)
Silly Mapes. You thought I’d be “in a bind” with my catcher pick? How about I just snatch up a powerful, switch-hitting, on-base percentage machine in a stacked lineup? That’s the sound of points ringing up in my register, buddy! Cha-ching!
Pick #13 – Team Mapes: Robinson Cano, 2B (Dominican Republic)
Sometimes in draft plans change! I was going to try to grab Spain’s 2B Paco Figueroa for this spot and then take the best player available for my utility, but I realized that best player might be Robinson Cano anyway! I love locking up the D.R.’s double play combo, hopefully Cano knocks in Reyes a ton.
Pick #14 – Team Jeremy: Angel Pagan, OF (Puerto Rico)
I KNOW. Really? Two Giants players on my squad? As much as I hate to admit it, Pagan is in his prime and will only get better in 2013. Hitting atop a good lineup for Puerto Rico will give Pagan plenty of stolen base and run-scoring opportunities.
Pick #15 – Team Mapes: Sergio Romo, RP (Mexico)
Neither of us have grabbed a reliever yet and I needed a player from Mexico, so I’m grabbing the guy with the nastiest slider in the game. There’s potential for him to get saves points for me against Italy and Canada. Plus, I know you can’t counter with the closer for USA or Venezuela.
I’m hoping that Gallardo gets the nod on the mound against Italy in Mexico’s first game — otherwise, I’m pitting my two starting pitchers against one another. Either way, I’m going to get a good chunk of points from the righty hurler.
I need a Spain guy. I’m going to go with the one that is regarded as the best hitter on the team and even had a cup of coffee with my favorite team, the Atlanta Braves.
This has absolutely nothing to do with Punto being a member of my favorite team, the Dodgers. None whatsoever. Zero…correlation…OKAY FINE. But I needed an Italian representative and all the good second basemen are gone, so why not?
Pick #19 – Team Mapes: John Axford, RP (Canada)
I wish I could take Fernando Rodney, but I’ve already met my maximum of Dominican players. There’s a limited amount of closers on teams that could get wins left, so I’m going to snag John Axford and hope he closes a win against Italy.
I was very worried I had run out of options for relievers at this point, but after scanning the rosters one more time, it was like Christmas morning seeing the American League’s best closer from 2012 still available. I’ll be sure to see a few arrow poses in the WBC.
The American I was able to wait on! There’s one reason I’m going with Vogelsong over the other Americans, he gets to pitch against Italy. He’s economical with his pitches and should get through enough of the game to get a win vs. the Italians on Saturday.
Strikeouts for days! I’ve got to assume that Grilli will be Team Italy’s closer, given that he’s the best reliever on the roster. If Italy is in a save situation, it will be a mini miracle, but Grilli is still going to rack up some K’s for me and steal some points.
While you grabbed to Venezuelans early, I was able to wait and get one of my favorite players in the league to complete my outfield. Prado’s going to want to play so I know he’ll get at-bats, which hopefully will result in points. I’ll take my outfield of Braun, CarGo, and Prado over yours any day.
This is my Spain representative, and I think it’s a big-time steal! Sanchez is mostly unknown, but he did push the team into the WBC against Israel in qualifiers with a huge, three-RBI game. He’s got some pop in that bat!
I had to go with a starter from Puerto Rico, Spain, Italy, or Mexico for my last pick. Since I’m not entirely sure who is going to pitch against Spain for Mexico, I’m going to take my chances with Alvarado pitching in his team’s first game against Spain on Friday.
This will be the first and last time in the history of fantasy drafts that Joey Votto goes with the final selection. Team Canada’s best player is going to be providing most of the offense on that team, and I will be the benefactor! By the way, Mapes. Don’t pretend you didn’t just pick that Spanish rep to have someone named “Giancarlo” on your team…
Our first World Baseball Classic is complete! Feel free to use this as a guide for your own! Players like David Wright, Adrian Gonzalez, Craig Kimbrel, and Edwin Encarnacion, we’re sorry. It’s just fantasy business. What picks would you have made? Let us know in the comments!
We’re just over a week since the MLB Fan Cave Top 30 met in Arizona for first time. You’d never believe how people can bond over a short period of time, but apart from meeting your newborn child, I don’t think you could fall for people any quicker than the Fan Cave 30. The MLB team has the arduous task of selecting who goes to New York City and I don’t envy them one bit. In my mind, anyone and everyone could be taking up residence on 4th and Broadway and here’s why. In random order:
Superfan Pete Gourlie: His name says it all! Pete is a fun-loving guy that would represent the Brewers with great passion. I’m not sure there’s someone who loves their team the way Pete does. It’d be quite the story to go from mattress salesman to Cave Dweller. He’s the only one of us that stayed in Arizona to watch his team play. Pete’s Twitter: @SuperFanPete
Alex Justice: I won’t lie, I came in thinking Alex was going to be more of a tom boy with the hats and and bandanas I had seen her wear in her application video. I wasn’t more wrong. She’s a beautiful, talented, and confident girl. Plus, this would be the biggest thing Cleveland has won in years. Alex’s Twitter: @alexjustice4all
Michael Clair: I love Michael’s blog so much. It’s great to see someone so dedicated to America’s pastime’s past time. (Apologies if that was terrible.) Michael is also so funny and if there’s a year to put a Pirates fan in. It’d be the year when I truly think they crack .500 for the first time in eons. Michael’s Twitter: @clairbearattack
Calder Cahill: Who’d think that a kid from Vail, Colorado would be just a big baseball fan. Calder is just a great guy that comes up with pure gold. Like this video about the wait to see who makes the MLB Fan Cave. Did I mention he’s good looking? He is. Calder’s Twitter: @Calder_CO
April Whitzman: The girl with the hopes and dreams of an entire nation on her shoulders. Then again, most of that nation is paying attention to hockey and not this. April has gotten the most support from her team the Toronto Blue Jays. Not to mention, her near 6,500 followers gives her a huge advantage. April’s Twitter: @Alleycat17
Thomas Aaron Roberts: I still haven’t figured out what his actual first name is. Name aside, he’s one of the most fun-loving people in the top 30. He also represents a huge fan base with the Dodgers. The “Cape in the Cave” gimmick could also be pretty solid. Thomas’ Twitter: @BertsBall
Nick Mendillo: Personally, I think Nick is in. He’s arguably the funniest and most creative person in the top 30. He represents Red Sox Nation, a great fan base who up until this point have never had a full-time Cave Dweller. Plus, like Calder, he’s really good-looking. Wait a minute. Nick’s Twitter: @grevalt
Christine Lorigo: There hasn’t been a girl more dedicated to getting her name out there for the MLB Fan Cave this past season. I tried carrying around a sign for one day at Braves spring training and it was ruined in like three hours, to carry a sign all season is pretty impressive. She really wants this opportunity. Christine’s Twitter: @TineLorigo
Angalena Scavuzzo: Like April, Angalena has gotten a ton of support from her team the Royals. You can tell from her videos that she’s fun loving and quirky. Either way, she got to meet George Brett, she’s already won! If MLB thinks the Royals are for real, it’ll help her chances a ton. Angalena’s Twitter: @Angalena
Katie Gregerson: *Channels nice things to say about the Nationals fan* Katie is great fan of the team I don’t like. She also is a very safe pick. She’s cute, will get her work done, and stay out of trouble. She rocks Tumblr too, which I’m not the strongest at. Any girl that also dabbles in WWE is pretty hardcore! Katie’s Twitter: @katiegregerson
Lindsay Beaver: I met Lindsay during last year’s MLB Fan Cave process. She wasn’t old enough then, but I knew when she was she’d have a great chance at making it to NYC. Glad to know I was right. She’s beautiful, creative, and awkward dances like a fool. Plus, representing the defending American League champions is a great boost. Lindsay’s Twitter: @LindsayBeavs
Kelsey Shea: Kelsey is a perfect fit for the MLB Fan Cave. She’s dedicated, cute, and talented. I still need some more of the crazy hair Kelsey gimmick though. She also has an underrated skill of blogging, which she’s worked on the past year. The Cardinals are also are one of the biggest fan bases and as we saw with Kyle Thompson’s followers last year, love the MLB Fan Cave. Kelsey’s Twitter: @kelseyshea11
Hayden Moss: I think the rest of the top 30 won’t be mad when I say Hayden’s the best-looking member of the group. He doesn’t just have his team’s fan base, but also the fan base of the reality TV show “Big Brother”. With over 45,000 followers, Hayden has by far the most followers on Twitter. He’s also a really nice guy, no wonder why he won that show. Hayden’s Twitter: @Hayden_Moss
Stephanie Rodriguez: I think Stephe knows her greatest strength in this competition and that’s she represents Latinos. Her 2nd greatest strength is that she represents the New York Yankees, who have had a Cave Dweller each of the last two seasons. She’s also energetic, photogenic, and outgoing. Pretty good total package. Stephanie’s Twitter: @Stephelovee
Jay Tuohey: Jay is unlike anyone in this competition. He has a great look, he’s quick-witted, creative, and he’s the best video editor in the competition. Like Lindsay, you have to like that’s he’s representing the Detroit Tigers, who should be a playoff team. ROAR, indeed. Jay’s Twitter: @TheRoar_24
Mina Park: Mina seems quiet on the outside, but when asked to show her stuff she nails it. I loved her opening the “Les Miserables” parody song. She has a tremendous look and knows how to represent both her fan base of the Texas Rangers with the flair of coming from Los Angeles. Mina’s Twitter: @MinaPark
Ben Wietmarschen: Speaking of quiet people that nail their stuff. Ben is so humble, almost to a fault. However, from his application video and from recording a commercial with him, I know how hilarious he can be. Representing the Reds, who are clear NL Central favorites, helps Ben out a ton. Ben’s Twitter: @BenWeitmarschen
Travis Miller: Travis’ has had the longest journey to this point and as a friend, I hope it’s his time to make it. Travis just has this way about him that makes everyone he comes in contact with adore him. His writing skills are top-notch, he’s beyond creative, and everyone would like you to know he looks like Tim Tebow. Travis’ Twitter: @attravismiller
Andrew Fleming: It’s pretty safe to say that Drew had one of the best application videos in the contest. He’s strong when it comes to his thoughts and also shows his creativity in unorthodox ways. I don’t like the Cardinals but thought his “huSTLer” hat was fantastic. He may go by “The Film Jerk”, but deep down he’s a good guy. Drew’s Twitter: @theflimjerk
Jeremy Dorn: I don’t even know what to say about Jeremy. He’s my blogging partner-in-crime and if we made the MLB Fan Cave together we’d do amazing things like bringing to life our jersey draft. Jeremy’s so knowledgeable and dedicated to the game as evidenced by his “30 teams in 30 days” preview on Bleacher Report. He’s a great guy and the George Brett photo bomb with him and Jeff Francoeur is the stuff of legend. Jeremy’s Twitter: @JamblinMan
Martin Jones: I didn’t really have a read on Martin until karaoke happened. They played the wrong version of R. Kelly’s “Ignition” and instead of freaking out, he rolled with the punches and came up with a creative rendition that had us in stitches. Being able to think quick is a great skill to have. Martin’s Twitter: @BackPackJones
Jay Ducote: I loved getting to know Jay. His story of how he was on MasterChef made me so happy. Jay may be representing the worst team in the league, but that’s not going to hinder him. He has a great fan base through his blog “Bite and Booze” he’d make a great fit to represent the South in the Fan Cave. Jay’s Twitter: @biteandbooze
Vanessa Demske: Vanessa is unlike anyone in this competition. There are people you can group together and think one of them are making it, you can’t do that with Van. She’s quirky, funny, smart, and beautiful. Any girl that would get a Bill Dickey tattoo on her leg just proves how much of baseball fan she is. In my opinion, she had the most thought-out recap blog out of all of us. She’s going to do great things, whether or not she’s chosen. Oh, and LATOS. Vanessa’s Twitter: @vdemske
Eitan Levine: Eitan is just straight-up funny. I don’t think he said a non-funny thing the entire time in Arizona. If the MLB Fan Cave is looking for a local boy to represent New York City, Eitan’s the clear pick. If not, we’ll always have this. Eitan’s Twitter: @eitanthegoalie
Danny Ferris: Danny is flat-out a nice guy. He’s also benefits from knowing how to play the game as he played in college at Virginia Tech. That in-game knowledge is what could carry him far in this contest. Hopefully, he doesn’t go on a Tinder binge if he doesn’t. Danny’s Twitter: @ohshootitsdan
Marcus Hall: It’s time for the Chicago portion of the blog! There’s never been a Chicago representative in the Fan Cave and these next two could end that drought. Marcus is a great guy and would connect well with the fans. He nailed his part in the “Les Miserables” parody as well as our 30-second commercial together. Marcus’ Twitter: @_MHa11
Katie Cernek: There’s no one better to represent the small-town fan in New York City. She’d be a fantastic story of someone living out their dreams and going from tiny Gratiot, Wisconsin to New York City. She adores her Cubbies and would be a great role model for young girls that love the game. Between her, Alex, Lindsay, Stephanie, and a girl coming up, the game is in good hands with that demographic. Katie’s Twitter: @katiecernek
Sam Dingman: I came in with no expectations for Sam, but was blown away by him. He’s hilarious, dedicated, and I didn’t kill him over six hours in an airport and plane together. That shows a lot. If you’re an Orioles fan, check out his podcast here. Sam’s Twitter: @samdingman
Ally Williams: It’s amazing that the person last in alphabetical order came up last in the random order on the website for this. Ally doesn’t let anything get to her. She’s the most organized person in the contest and it bodes her well. She’s cerebral and in this contest you need a good head on your shoulders. She knows the game as well as any female and even more than most males. Her photography background working with the Giants this past season is great for her chances. Her gifs about the contest have been spot on and have I mentioned Ally, that I love your hat? Ally’s Twitter: @itsallyduhh
There’s a reason for everyone in the Fan Cave 30 to make it to New York City. It’s just finding the right mix that will work for the fans this season. That’s what the MLB Fan Cave is really about, connecting with the fans outside of the MLB Fan Cave, not about the ones who are inside it. I think everyone in this group (including myself) knows that. Now to just continue sitting, waiting, and wishing that I’m the one that gets to interact with MLB fans this season from in front of the Cave Monster.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
To say that being a part of the MLB Fan Cave Top 30 is amazing would be a gross understatement. The people are spectacular, the MLB team is phenomenal, and the experience is something that a baseball fan couldn’t even fathom. Here’s a recap of one of the most ridiculously fun days in the history of mankind. That’s a lot of days.
There was no better way to get to know some of the fellow contestants than by warming up with a catch by the pool. Thankfully only the baseballs ended up in the drink a couple times and not us.
Next came a magic bus that Miss Frizzle would be jealous of to take us to Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Chase Field would be where all of the exciting things would happen.
I hunted down a Miguel Montero picture and reminded everyone that Jason Heyward is the true face of MLB. When the Fan Cave 30 arrived, we were whisked away to a suite where we met MLB’s Executive VP for Business Tim Brosnan. He gave us quite a pep talk and I think if you weren’t ready to go by then, you were ready to impress now. The Fan Cave 30 also met with Jeremy Brisiel from MLB.com who is the “master of ceremonies” for the top 30 experience.
I had one of the earlier interview times and met with the entire MLB team about my campaign so far. It’s a little nerve-wracking knowing you have fifteen minutes of time to really drive home why you should be heading to New York City.
From there, I was lucky to be chosen to go down to the Diamondbacks dugout where I would do a quick interview with Greg Amsinger from MLB Network. He was looking quite dapper as always and agreed to follow me when he caves and signs up for Twitter finally. Amsinger did give me the unfortunate question of “If you’re on an island with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz and could only save one, who do you save?” Glavine and Smoltz, you’re two of my favorite players, but I had to save “The Professor” Greg Maddux.
Next was the one of the big events, the elevator pitch. The potential Cave Dwellers get one minute to show why they should be heading to 4th and Broadway. Video should be available on MLBFanCave.com soon enough, but I’m happy to report that I nailed what I wanted to say.
Afterwards, it was time for the first big group project. The New Wave entertainment team had prepared a baseball song parody of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from “Les Miserables”. The Fan Cave 30 bounced all around Chase Field to complete it and I can’t wait to see it premiere around Oscars time!
It was time for the main event. The one contest where I knew I could shine, trivia! We were broken up into five teams and I was joined by Nick Mendillo, Jay Tuohey, Christine Lorigo, and Ben Wietmarschen. I can humbly say, I dominated, even knowing that Eric Bruntlett was the last player to turn an unassisted triple play. There was one team that matched us question for question. We both nailed the final question of the four teams that don’t have a mascot (Yankees, Cubs, Angels, and Dodgers). We lost on the tiebreak though, where we were only able to name 3 of the 5 teams that MLB Network’s Eric Byrnes played for.
The night was rounded out with stirring renditions of karaoke ranging from Celine Dion to N’Sync to The Killers. We ended the night with the karaoke classic, “Sweet Home Alabama”.
The entire day was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and as I type I’m getting up to head to Goodyear, Arizona the spring training home of the Indians and Reds. Let’s see what today holds! Keep checking out #FanCave30 on Twitter and follow me @IAmMapes. Thanks for your support!
Back in November, there was a deal for a Southwest Airlines flight from Hartford to Orlando for $190. There were two real options coming from booking the flight. Either I was going to be lucky enough to be in the MLB Fan Cave top 50 (or 52) or I was going to be lucky enough to spend five days with my grandma. Unfortunately for grandma, she got bumped to just a Valentine’s Day visit, but she couldn’t have been more understanding.
As I sit here in a nearly empty Champion Stadium at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, I can honestly say that this was the most incredible vacation and experience I’ve ever had. I had no idea what to expect when I landed in Florida. Would I be able to get field access? (sadly, no) Would the players even come talk to me? (strangely, yes) How quickly would I have to explain the MLB Fan Cave for them to do something? (I think I have that down to a science) Would they agree to do a video of any kind? (also strangely, yes) Luckily, I had some success keeping it short and simple. Plus, the phrase “Brave in the Cave” is pretty easy to remember.
Every day I came to the ballpark, I was one of the first fans to arrive and always the last one to leave. I think the players might’ve gotten sick of seeing me. The first hour of the first day, I was able to snag video endorsements from Cristian Bethancourt, Evan Gattis, and 3rd base coach Brian Snitker. I was off and running and never looked back. I couldn’t believe how nice everyone in the organization was. The key I believe is just having confidence, the worst they can say is no, there’s no risk with a ton of reward. General Manager Frank Wren was so nice and I thought was he said was hilarious.
Staying late also proved incredibly effective. There were promotional photo shoots going on after the workouts for Jonny Venters and Eric O’ Flaherty that turned out to be fantastic for me. You can tell that these guys joke around a lot.
Wednesday was the big day. The top 30 announcement for the MLB Fan Cave would be coming down after voting ended at 5PM. I knew if I was going to anything to keep momentum up and score some late votes I’d have to hustle.
At 8:30 in the morning I spotted ESPN’s Buster Olney doing a spot on SportsCenter. I knew I had one connection with him. I attended his “Going to Bat for Vermont’s Farmers” charity event last November. Surprisingly, no one was around. I went up to him, explained that I had gone to the event and that I was in the top 52 for the MLB Fan Cave. He said that he tries to stay out of those things, but because I had gone to the charity event and was a fellow New Englander, he’d throw his support behind me. I couldn’t even believe it.
While Olney was doing his taping for SportsCenter, I spotted Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez walking alone through the ballpark. I quickly ran down and just started yelling “Fredi!”, he looked over, and I have my now patented quick Fan Cave spiel. He was happy enough to oblige, even though as he said “doing this stuff really isn’t my thing.”
Finally on Wednesday, just two hours before the deadline, Braves star pitcher came out for a promotional photo shoot. I had brought a new Braves hat to Orlando with me in hopes that Meds would break it in. He was nice enough to!
I got the video up with 90 minutes of voting time to spare and put it on Twitter. It was retweeted by the Braves, Jason Heyward, and Paul Maholm.
The Medlen video was the final piece in the puzzle that advanced me into the top 30 for the MLB Fan Cave. I yelled in the middle of an empty Champion Stadium because I was so excited and honored to make it to the next round. Well the stadium was empty except for the grounds crew, who think I’m crazy.
When the top 52 announcement came down, Braves pitcher Paul Maholm was nice enough to retweet the news without me even asking. I contacted him through Twitter and then talked to him Tuesday about pulling off a creative video. He agreed and “Paul Maholm Connects with the Mahomies” was born! It’s my favorite thing I’d done so far during this MLB Fan Cave experience. Maholm could not be a nicer individual.
There were a few players who weren’t comfortable doing a quick video, but were nice enough to sign cards for me to giveaway to fans on Twitter, including Craig Kimbrel and Mike Minor.
I did take one “off day” in Florida. The aforementioned Valentine’s Day with grandma in Daytona Beach. Even then the off day consisted of putting together a “thank you video” for Braves fans support at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. I even learned a thing or two, like Robinson wore #9, not #42 with the Montreal Royals when he played the first integrated spring training game on 3/17/1946.
The last day in Orlando, I wanted to take advantage of Tout, a newer social medium, that allows users to tape 15 seconds videos and send them out with tweets. I used it all week to get Braves fans a firsthand near live look at the goings on of Braves camp, with almost no delay on Twitter. It’s one thing to say what the players were doing, it’s even better to show them. I think Tout would be a great use in the MLB Fan Cave this season, especially to have fans on Twitter ask players questions and send them back personalized 15 second videos answering it. It would be a fantastic way to continue the growth and connection between players and fans in the MLB Fan Cave.
Which bring me back to the MLB Fan Cave. I’m so stoked to be heading to Arizona on Monday for the top 30. I’ve done everything I can for this opportunity and I hope that it shows. It’s been an honor to represent Braves Country so far and I hope to continue on for the whole MLB season in the MLB Fan Cave. Thanks again for all of your support from Braves fans, players, and management! I think they’re ready to kick me out of an empty ballpark again! Back to Connecticut for two day to repack and I’ll see you in Arizona!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Last time, we told you that four of the five members of this blog and podcast were trying out again for the MLB Fan Cave. While we were hoping to get all four of us to 4th and Broadway, we did have two of us make the top 52. We would love your support as we continue our dream of representing our teams in New York City.
Bryan Mapes: Atlanta Braves Fan
You can vote for Bryan by going here!
Jeremy Dorn: Los Angeles Dodgers Fan
You can vote for Jeremy by going here!
We’ll have more on our journey as it progresses. I can personally say day one of the top 52 has been a whirlwind for me to say the least. I almost drove off the highway when I found out from my brother that I had made it. I wasn’t able to do anything at work, and having my bar guests vote for me while I worked was so nice of them. I ended up gaining 100 Twitter followers because of the support of the best fans on Twitter: Braves fans! (Sorry Jeremy) I posted two promotional videos that you can watch here and here. Plus, I got retweets from Kris Medlen, Paul Maholm, the Braves, and Adam Greenberg. The latter two even followed me on Twitter. Almost forgot the part where I pulled Troy Tulowitzki and Bruce Sutter game-used memorabilia out of Topps packs on a live video, crazy! Day one has been a blast, and I can’t wait for the next 13 of top 52 voting!
Jeremy woke up to the good news and was running on pure adrenaline all day because of it. He also got a ton of love from the Twitterverse (follow @Jamblinman), and was able to secure what will hopefully be the first of many interviews. He even convinced his fellow interns at San Francisco Magazine to tweet on the Giants-friendly publication on his behalf. Jeremy was in the top 50 last year and remembers well the difficulties, pressures, and sleepless nights involved with campaigning for the top 30 cut. It was a great start to a great campaign, and he hopes to continue the posivibes all the way into New York to represent 3u3d and the Dodgers in the Fan Cave!
Angelo and Brian both put out awesome videos and have our utmost respect. They were great candidates for the MLB Fan Cave as well.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
As many of you know, or more likely didn’t know. 3U3D came together through friendships and a love of baseball formed from the 2012 MLB Fan Cave competition. We all can’t imagine what it’d be like now if we had never met last year. The MLB Fan Cave is back for it’s third season and while we’d love and hope for us all to get in (along with a lot of our other friends), that might just be a pipe dream. We can assure you that we’re going to give it our best shot and we think any of us would be a great fit on 4th and Broadway. Without further adieu, enjoy our application videos!
Jeremy Dorn: Los Angeles Dodgers Fan
I’ve always loved baseball. From coach pitch to Little League to Varsity in high school, it’s been my favorite thing to do. Once the “become the next Derek Jeter” dream died, I turned my attention to another passion: writing. Eventually, I married sports and writing together on the blogosphere and worked my way up through the Bleacher Report ranks to become a Dodgers Featured Columnist. In 2012, my love affair with baseball really took off when I made the Fan Cave top 50. There, I met my girlfriend of 10 months now, my lovely 3U3D co-hosts, and many other great people who I’m lucky to call friends. Now, I spend most of my non-working hours watching, talking, writing, reading, and thinking baseball. And after much debate I decided to campaign again for this year’s Cave! Despite my location in San Francisco, my undying loyalty to the Dodgers will never waver. I hope you like my video and I would be thrilled to have your vote! Here’s to hoping you see and hear a lot more 3U3D from New York City this summer.
Brian Boynton: Texas Rangers fan
I have always been a baseball fan. I mean what kid didn’t pretend or even dream that they were pitching in a tie game, in the ninth inning, of Game 7, of the World Series? All kids have that dream and then most realize they will not get the opportunity to play baseball forever. I have always wanted to work in and around baseball. I may not have the ability to play baseball but watching every game on the Cave Monster has to be the next best thing, right? Making the Fan Cave Top 50 in 2012 really just made me like baseball that much more. Even though I wasn’t a Cave Dweller last season with every game I watched on T.V. I pretended I was. Meeting my 3U3D co-hosts has proven to me that there are people out there who enjoy discussing sports and especially baseball as much as I do. All year I have been thinking of skits I want to do and have a folder on my computer dedicated solely to those skits. I hope you enjoy my video and help me live out my adult dream of watching every game of the upcoming season live from the Cave. Lastly, who doesn’t want to hear a 3U3D recording from the Fan Cave?
Bryan Mapes: Atlanta Braves fan
I think that I would be perfect for the MLB Fan Cave not just because of my love of baseball, but my love of the Fan Cave as well. I was able to visit 4th and Broadway on a few occasions, including seeing The Fray and Young the Giant perform. I’ll never forget when Isaac Slade, the lead singer of The Fray, made a reference to Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive games streak and asked how long it was. I instinctively just blurted out “2,632 games” from the audience. Even funnier is that many of the Cave Dwellers knew it was me that had yelled out the answer. I also love social media from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tout, and more I enjoy them all. I was lucky enough to attend game 3 of the ALDS between the Yankees and the Orioles, when Raul Ibáñez hit the pinch-hit game-tying home run. I captured the moment from the bleachers and posted it to YouTube. It was seen by ESPN, they contacted me through Twitter, and used the footage their “Social Highlight” on SportsCenter the next day. That’s the power of social media. I also would love to find creative ways to raise money for baseball charities like Stand Up To Cancer and Baseball Assistance Team. Finally, I have so many ideas floating in my head I have a whole place in my phone filled with skits, interviews, and promotions to do in the Fan Cave should I make it. I would be ecstatic for that opportunity.
Angelo Fileccia: Detroit Tigers fan
I would be the ideal fan to be in the MLB Fan Cave because on top of what some might call an unhealthy infatuation with baseball, I’m able to network extremely well and have already built rapport with several major leaguers. I am completely comfortable talking to anyone, making him or her feel welcome and engaged in anything that we are doing. I’m very well rounded when it comes to topics like of pop culture, sports, and world news to name a few. I have a unique way of socializing with people and have been told by many people that I have a contagious personality. When it comes to meeting, interacting, and getting to know the MLB stars, I’m not the type to get star struck and act unprofessional by any means. While I wish I had the lifestyle, I understand what a MLB star goes through on a day-to-day basis. I feel it’s that type of knowledge that not everyone has but people want to know. It can also make for better interviews, skits, and all other interactions. In all, I’m passionate about what I do in life and I’m passionate about baseball. When baseball becomes my life, the greatest things will happen.
The 5th member of 3U3D, Kurt Peter, decided not to apply this year, but he had great things going on for him. Make sure you check him out on Twitter too @FalconKP! We would love to have your support in our quests for the Cave! Thanks from all of us at 3U3D!
It’s Election Day! Make sure you get out and vote for everything from President to State Representative and everything in between. I figured today would be the perfect time to announce my campaign for the 2013 MLB Fan Cave! Please support me by following me on Twitter @IAmMapes and liking my Facebook page. Together we can put a Brave in the Cave again!