Twins host Fortnite event before series finale

September 9th, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- Hours before the Twins took the field for their series finale with the Royals on Sunday, Minnesota reliever and some of his closest friends were putting in hours for a different kind of competition.

May and the Twins hosted Fortnite Day at Target Field, a live streaming party where May and several professional gamers teamed up to play Fortnite, a popular video game, in front of a live audience of 350 fans. The Twins also announced the event drew 80,000 views through various Twitch streams.

The event featured May, who is in his fourth season with the Twins and also games professionally and represents Luminosity as a streamer, as well as Minnesota catcher , an avid gamer as well, who was the MC of the event.

Professional gamers Jordan Fischer, who has won Dancing with the Stars and starred in Hamilton, and Marcel Cunningham, better known by his Twitch streaming handle "BasicallyIDoWrk," were also on site with their computers set up under a canopy near the Twins dugout, streaming game action to the video scoreboards. But the main attraction for the event was the presence of Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, the most watched Twitch streamer in the world.

"So, we were joking about it," May said. "Me, Marcell, Ninja and [professional gamer] Tim the Tat Man were in a group. We were all playing and were talking about how the Brewers had been playing up in the stands. I was like joking, 'I'm gonna put my desk up on the mound.' But it was like, 'What if I got you guys out to play?' They were like, 'Dude, that would be so awesome.' But the thing is, we decided to do this like 13 days ago. Ninja is traveling all the time, so he couldn't swing it. He doesn't like to take all that time away from home. I told Marcel, he was like 'I'm in. I'm there.' … It was kind of a realization of a cool idea. That was pretty cool."

The dream team of streamers played five games with varied success and captured their first win in their third match. In between matches, Garver fielded questions from the crowd and turned the mic over to the streamers for answers.

One young fan asked May how he balances the duties of being a big league baseball player and full-time streamer.

"In the offseason, it's just gaming 24/7," May joked.

May, who has also dabbled as a techno DJ in the past, knows all too well that technical difficulties can upend any promising event and was anxious to make sure that equipment was going to work. But he believes that a similar event in the future, with more planning and promotion behind it, could draw a massive audience.

"I think Ninja could fill a stadium," May said.

May has been streaming for Luminosity since February of 2017 and isn't the only Twins player who has taken a liking to Fortnite. Garver plays heavily on the XBox and linked up with Cut4's Cespedes Family BBQ earlier this season to stream a session.

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Former Twins pitcher Phil Hughes once ousted Ninja during a match and didn't hesitate to share the tale on Twitter.

"I think a lot more guys than people realize play," Twins reliever said. "We have weird down time. We're up late a lot of times. TV at that point a lot times isn't that great anyway. A lot of guys watch Netflix. We're all competitors naturally."

Sunday's event was sponsored by the WorldGaming Network, an international E-sports and competitive video gaming platform, and fans who purchased a ticket to the event also got a reserved seat for the 1:10 p.m. Twins vs. Royals game. The first 500 fans to buy received an exclusive Twins "Fortday with Trevor May" T-shirt. May is already tinkering with ideas for future events.

"If you were to actually get Ninja and Tim or Marcell and get a little rotation of guys playing, maybe even a little longer," May said. "Like we could have a night game, and we come out at like 11 that day and play until 2 or something. Like do a live stream and make it a whole event where the fans get to pick what we're gonna do or try to make it a little more challenging for us. That would have been really cool."