Major League Baseball announced on Monday that 16 fans, one representing each of the participating World Baseball Classic countries/territories next March, will cheer on their respective heritages from New York as part of the MLB Fan Cave: World Baseball Classic Edition.
Applications are now being accepted through Jan. 11 at MLBFanCave.com/WBC for those who want to live and breathe international baseball for 18 consecutive days during next Spring Training. Nail the essay and video submission and you could be a Cave Dweller and show your national pride inside the same 15,000-square-foot baseball playland at the corner of Fourth Street and Broadway in Greenwich Village, where fans have watched every game the past two years.
"The World Baseball Classic is a logical extension of the Fan Cave, which has been enormously successful in generating entertaining baseball content for social media," said Tim Brosnan, MLB executive vice president of business. "So much has changed in the media landscape since 2009, the last time we held a World Baseball Classic. The Fan Cave's ability to show a different side of baseball and the players to fans around the world instantaneously is perfectly suited for the World Baseball Classic in a rapidly changing media environment."
The goal for each of the 16 Cave Dwellers will be to watch every game of the World Baseball Classic live at all hours of the day and night. They will share their national pride, meet baseball personalities and chronicle their experiences online through videos, blogs and social media. Each time a team is eliminated from the tournament, the fan representing that country/territory will leave the Fan Cave.
Fans of the final four teams will travel to the championship round in San Francisco to watch their countries/territories compete for the World Baseball Classic title. Fans are eligible to represent any country/territory that they reside in or the country/territory of their heritage.
"The goal of the World Baseball Classic is to grow the popularity of baseball around the world," Brosnan said. "Bringing fans in the participating countries with the opportunity to win a trip to New York City to be a part of the Fan Cave gives us a fun and appealing new way to reach both avid and casual fans around the world. We are looking forward to the fan response."
Nine Dwellers began the 2012 season inside the Fan Cave, culled from an original 22,000 applicants. The cast of survivors was gradually reduced by MLB, and then three finalist were brought to each game of the 108th World Series, where Giants legend Will Clark presented 25-year-old Ashley Chavez of Lathrop, Calif., with her trophy as the 2012 Fan Cave champion.
More than 400 celebrity visitors, including nearly 200 current Major Leaguers as well as musicians, actors, former players and others, have visited the MLB Fan Cave since its launch in 2011. They have participated in more than 500 online videos for fans to share via social media. Some of the biggest stars in baseball have visited the facility, including 2009 World Baseball Classic participants Miguel Cabrera (Venezuela), Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic), Aroldis Chapman (Cuba), Adrian Gonzalez (Mexico) and Derek Jeter (USA).
Back for a third time, the 2013 World Baseball Classic will feature many of the world's best players representing Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Spain, the U.S. and Venezuela. Japan won the first two tournaments in 2006 and '09.
Thirty-nine games will be played in seven venues in four nations and territories from March 2-19, with MLB Network serving as exclusive English-language broadcast partner. Semifinal and final games will be March 17-19 at AT&T Park, hosted by the Giants. Second-round games will be March 8-12 at the Tokyo Dome and March 12-16 at Marlins Park in Miami. First-round games will be March 2-6 in Fukuoka, Japan; March 2-5 in Taichung, Taiwan; March 7-10 in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and March 7-10 at Chase Field and Salt River Fields in Phoenix.