Former college pitcher receives several gifts, including $10,000 in cash
BOSTON -- The 2013 Angels fell short of the postseason, but one of their fans went all the way.
Danny Farris, 24, of Garden Grove, Calif., was crowned MLB Fan Cave champion in an annual on-field ceremony before Game 6 of the 109th World Series between the Cardinals and Red Sox on Wednesday at Fenway Park.
Farris, Rangers fan Mina Park of Plano, Texas, and Blue Jays fan April Whitzman of Toronto were the last three Cave Dwellers standing after about 20,000 applications and an Opening Day lineup of nine Dwellers. There were three covered bobbleheads on a platform beside the Cardinals dugout, and upon request of MLB Network host and event emcee Greg Amsinger, Farris removed the middle cover and it revealed his likeness.
Complete with the Mike Trout fish head, of course -- one of MLB's hottest ballpark promos in 2013.
"The Trout Bobblehead makes the whole thing -- that's hilarious," said Farris, a former pitcher for Pepperdine and then Virginia Tech. "It's been unbelievable. After seven months of watching baseball, and we're all here at the World Series, it's hard to say I'm the actual just one winner. Us three have worked hard all year to get to where we are now, and it's just been unbelievable."
The trio survived a season-long elimination process at the Fan Cave, the 15,000-square-foot baseball fantasyland at Fourth Street and Broadway in New York. They watched all 2,430 games and the postseason, attended each World Series game so far and All-Star Week. They blogged, tweeted, made videos, hosted Major League players and celebs, building followings and friendships.
"It's become a community for us," said Tim Brosnan, MLB executive vice president of business, on hand to thank the three for helping to promote the game. "Every year, we test new things, we get new people, and it gets better and better. The interest and activity is great, but it's all driven by the folks who come and live in the Fan Cave for 2,430 games plus the postseason.
"I mean, we've almost trivialized the feat, but these folks have been living in a storefront every day for seven months. We owe them a great debt of gratitude. They've been terrific representatives of baseball, and again another year of really great success with the Fan Cave on social platforms. We couldn't be happier."
Farris receives $10,000 in cash, $500 in Majestic product, $500 in '47 Brand product, a $250 MasterCard gift card, every MLB New Era cap, one PlayStation 3, a VIP Player Gift Bag, a Nike Fuelband and a slew of Budweiser products including an electric guitar, dart board and iPod docking station.
Whitzman and Park each receive $5,000 in cash, plus the VIP Player Gift Bag, Fuelband, a $100 MasterCard gift card and a handful of Budweiser products.
"This has been a dream come true. We're just grateful to be here, especially to top it off and be at the World Series," said Park, who called Yu Darvish's near-perfecto in the second game her season highlight. "We've made so many memories together, but I think ultimately the thing I'll take out of this is making new friends. Danny, April and all the Cave Dwellers."
"If you would have asked me seven or eight months ago what I would be doing right now, I would have never had said I'd be at Fenway Park on the field right now," Whitzman said. "The only thing I'd change probably is having the Blue Jays represented in the World Series, but other than that, it's been a dream come true."
Applications are under way for the 2014 MLB Fan Cave, which returns for its fourth season. You will be required to reside in a location provided by MLB in New York (stipend included), create social content, take part in media events and interviews and more. The 2013 champion recommends it.
"It's been the most hectic, insane seven months you'll ever experience in your life. I'd say do it," Farris said. "I was in the same position last year, thinking that I would never make it, and here I am today at the World Series. It's been an incredible experience. It definitely doesn't hurt to apply."
Then Farris kissed his own Trout Bobblehead trophy. Someone said: "That's a little weird, Danny." After that, Farris posed for photos, looked for his buddy in the crowd and texted his family back home.
"I'd be sitting home and watching all this happen if I didn't apply," Farris said. "I'd be watching the amazing World Series Game 6 happen and hope for a good game."