NEW YORK -- Ashley Chavez, Ricardo Marquez and Kyle Thompson are headed to the 108th World Series, where one of them will be declared MLB Fan Cave champion after watching all 2,430 regular season games and then all postseason games in 2012.
Now it's time to start finding their successors.
Major League Baseball announced on Monday that the MLB Fan Cave, supported by MLB Advanced Media, is returning for its third season in 2013, and applications are under way through the end of the year at MLBFanCave.com to find the next batch of Cave Dwellers. There were 22,000 applicants for 2012, with elimination rounds and an Opening Day lineup of nine fans.
"If you are held back by wondering whether you can work seven days a week for six months straight, don't be, because this is not work," Chavez said in an e-mail on Sunday night before watching her Giants against Thompson's Cardinals. "Imagine your perfect day off: You're relaxing on your couch, you're watching the games all day, hanging out with your friends -- oh and some of the D-backs are going to come over to watch the night games with you, no big deal. That is Dweller Life. You would be insane not to apply. I didn't think I had a chance, but I tried anyway, and now I'm going to all the World Series games."
"All in all, this has been the most incredible experience of my life," Thompson said. "It has truly been a huge blessing to say the least. We have met some of the biggest baseball, movie, TV and music stars, and we haven't even needed to leave our 'office.' In my opinion, there is no better way to spend a season than inside the MLB Fan Cave. If you are a real baseball fan and have a crazy dedication to your team, don't think ... just apply."
Counting Crows will perform a concert at the MLB Fan Cave at 5:30 p.m. ET on Monday to celebrate the return of the MLB Fan Cave and Wednesday's start of the World Series. The group will perform tracks off their new album, "Underwater Sunshine," plus their classic hits. The Cave Concert Series has featured top artists such as Adam Lambert, Nas, Jason Aldean, The Fray, OneRepublic, Far East Movement, The Avett Brothers, Ziggy Marley, Neon Trees and Daughtry.
A new spot highlighting the 15,000-square-foot facility in Greenwich Village and calling for entries debuts this week and airs during each World Series game on FOX, in addition to running on MLB Network and ESPN. The spot features The Script and their song "Hall of Fame" from their recently debuted album "#3." The band, which opened for Paul McCartney at Citi Field, performed at MLB's postseason launch party as part of the Cave Concert Series.
More than 400 celebrity visitors, including nearly 200 past and present Major Leaguers and entertainers, have visited the MLB Fan Cave since its launch in 2011, participating in more than 500 online videos for fans to share via social media. The Fan Cave has more than 1.2 million combined followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Guests in 2012 have included Major Leaguers Aroldis Chapman, R.A. Dickey, Dexter Fowler, Adrian Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, Derek Jeter, Adam Jones, Matt Kemp, Evan Longoria, Joe Mauer, Andrew McCutchen, David Price, Sergio Romo, Chris Sale, Justin Verlander and David Wright. Former players included Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, George Brett, Dennis Eckersley, Reggie Jackson and Phil Niekro.
In both of the first two years of the Fan Cave, the Cave Dwellers were sent to All-Star Week and the World Series. At Kansas City in July, the six surviving fans at that time got to take batting practice the morning of the Midsummer Classic, gorged on barbecue at Oklahoma Joe's, and were housed in the special Fan Cave West in the left-field home run seats at Kauffman Stadium, appearing throughout the game on the giant scoreboard to help entertain fans.
Eliminations are based on fan voting and MLB judges, and exact personnel numbers for 2013 will be determined at a later date.
If you are selected for 2013, you will watch all 2,430 games inside the Cave; interact and film video content with current and former players, celebrities and musicians, discuss the hottest baseball and pop culture topics through blog posts and social media, and more.
It is seen by many as a "dream job," but you have to be up for it. There will be some extra long nights with extra-inning games on the West Coast followed by early wake-ups to host visitors the next morning, so it does require some endurance.
MLB provides nearby housing for the entire season and a stipend to Cave Dwellers, who tend to just order-in for food season-long. Take it from Marquez, the Angels fan:
"After hearing that the MLB Fan Cave is coming back in 2013, the first thought I had in my mind was, 'I need to re-apply,'" he said. "This year has been, hands down, the greatest baseball season I will ever be a part of. From George Brett making us ribs to cheering on my Angels at the All-Star Game to becoming a part of the MLB family, there is absolutely no reason why a baseball fan shouldn't apply.
"Being a part of the MLB Fan Cave was truly life changing and I couldn't be more excited for baseball fans to have the opportunity to do some of the things we got to do while Cave Dwelling. Time to get weird for another year."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.