6 March 2013: Interview with Canada's WBC/MLB Fan Cave Representative
London, Ontario's Daryl Andrews is Canada's representative in Major League Baseball's Fan Cave for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He's currently in New York City watching all the games, but he took a break from that to answer a few of our questions.
How did you win the Fan Cave contest? What's your prize?
I'm still not exactly sure how I won a spot in the Fan Cave, but I am very thankful to be selected to represent Canada. I know Major League Baseball (MLB) had a couple of thousand, or more, amazing applicants for the 16 positions in the Fan Cave: World Baseball Class (WBC) edition. With that said, I can explain the application process I had to endure. In short, I needed to prove my case that I am a baseball super fan, by collecting and composing some writing samples, and creating a short video. Also, I had to participate in some interviews, and in the end, get lucky! My prize is the opportunity to be part of the MLB Fan Cave family. From Feb 25th to whenever Team Canada is eliminated from the WBC, I have an all-expenses paid trip to/from New York City. Furthermore, the Cave dwellers and I have been spoiled with incredible experiences: ringing the opening bell for the New York Stock Exchange, being on the Today Show with Al Roker & Matt Lauer, and I even got to play catch on Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.
Why are you a baseball fan?
I can really trace the origins of my baseball fandom to two influences. First, when I was a young boy, my Uncle Keith would take me to baseball games. As my mother was a widow, this was a significant male bounding experience for me, so going to ballgames with my Uncle made a lasting impression in my life. I fell in love with the sport of baseball. I collected cards, played on travel and house league teams, and even named my dog sparky, after legendary Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson. Like the line from the movie Fever Pitch, "I like being part of something that's bigger than me, than I. It's good for your soul to invest in something you can't control."
The second major influence towards making me a baseball fan is my favourite baseball team: The Toronto Blue Jays. During my prime years of childhood, the Blue Jays managed to win back-to-back World Series Championships. After seeing those glorious moments, I was hooked for life.
What's your favorite baseball memory?
As mentioned previously, one vivid memory I have involving baseball was watching the Blue Jays win the World Series. It was so exciting! Getting to stay up late as a young child was always a big treat. But what I remember most was the joy I felt, and specifically the sound of grabbing the pots from my kitchen, smashing them with a wooden spoon, and cheering at the top of my lungs when the Jays finally won. Pure joy! However, I think I might have experienced something in the last couple days, with the MLB Fan Cave, that has become one of my favourite baseball memories of all time. Before ringing the opening bell for the New York Stock Exchange, I got to have my photo taken with Candy Maldonado ('92 Blue Jays World Series MVP) & Al Leiter (All-star pitcher and member of the '93 Blue Jays), while wearing each of their World Series rings on each hand. I seriously teared up, I was so happy.
Any words of encouragement for Team Canada in this year's WBC?
I am so proud to be representing Team Canada in the MLB Fan Cave. I plan to represent them as best as I can. I believe we have the best Canadian team we have ever fielded in World Baseball Classic history. Furthermore, each player on the Canadian team is passionate and excited to be on this team. I am confident, that special combination of talent and determination will result in great success. My encouragement to Team Canada is to give it all they have, and be confident that no matter what, Canada will be cheering loud and proud for them. Team Canada has the unique position to be the Cinderella story of the tournament, and everyone likes a good underdog story. Go Canada Go!
Are you at all worried that you'll be sick of baseball after watching it daily for the next few weeks?
The fear did crossed my mind momentarily. However, I don't think I need to be concerned. I truly love watching and talking baseball. I have been on many road trips, watching over 100 ball games in person, in over 15 different MLB stadiums across North America, and I have never gotten sick of watching baseball in the past. Furthermore, I have the amazing company of 15 other passionate baseball fans from around the world. It is so amazing to hear their unique perspectives and listen to their creative cheers, during each of the WBC games. Finally, I am getting to watch the games in the greatest space imaginable. The MLB Fan Cave is baseball paradise. It's difficult to explain all the amazing details of the Fan Cave in a few short sentences. Simply, it's a space designed by real baseball fans, for real baseball fans. I am confident I will be sad to leave after only a few weeks.