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YORK -- Aliya Baghbani is going to marry Dexter Fowler on Nov. 10 in his hometown of Atlanta after the Rockies' season winds up. The ceremony will be about one year after they were engaged in Italy. He proposed to the native of Tabriz, Iran, on 11/11/11, during a visit to the Vatican while he was on a European Big League Tour for children's baseball camps.
On Tuesday afternoon, the couple did some shopping in Manhattan before Fowler headed for the team bus that would take him out to Citi Field for a night game against the Mets. Before that, Baghbani accompanied him to the MLB Fan Cave in Manhattan, where Fowler, infielder Chris Nelson and right-hander Adam Ottavino were able to enjoy some lighthearted moments touring the Major League Baseball hub and shooting a "Truth or Dare" video segment that will be released soon on MLBFanCave.com.
"I'm concerned," Baghbani said with tongue in cheek as she watched her future husband chatting with four Cave Dwellers. "I'm concerned that he's going to want to make our whole house look like this. He loves this way too much. The TVs, the games -- I'm not going to be able to have a closet. I love it, but I'm scared."
"Definitely, I'm gonna have a bunch," Fowler said at that news, gesturing to the 15-screen Cave Monster. "I'm gonna have to see where they got that Sony thing, because I'm having all these TVs in here. A slide, maybe not. And definitely that floor over there, for sure."
The slide? Fowler went hurtling down the giant orange tube slide (hold your breath, Rockies fans) just like the Cave Dwellers have done to celebrate every home run that has been struck this Major League Baseball season. They have even gone down it 12 times for Fowler during a season that is gradually growing more impressive.
Fowler has been a catalyst in the Rockies' offensive surge lately, and he continued his production in the opener of this current trip. After R.A. Dickey struck him out in the first inning on Monday, Fowler singled off him in the fourth, and then led off the seventh and ninth innings with walks -- scoring after the second one. Fowler has seven multihit games in his last 10 games since Aug. 8 at Dodger Stadium. He entered this trip ranked ninth in the National League in OPS, which was .889 heading into Tuesday.
Fowler is one of just seven center fielders in the Majors with an OPS over .800, and his OPS entering this trip was second among them only to Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen (1.012).
Since the All-Star break, Fowler is batting .311 (37-for-119) and has scored 22 runs in 31 games. He has scored 73 runs in second-half games over the last two seasons, good for fourth among NL players. Not surprisingly, Fowler's mood is optimistic right now, even though the Rockies are all but mathematically out of the 2012 postseason picture.
The outfielder's goal is to finish strong, get married, live happily ever after. Stopping by the Fan Cave with a pair of teammates was certainly a step in that latter direction, as everyone is happy there.
"I think it's bright," Fowler said of the Rockies' outlook, having just taken down Dickey, one of the league's Cy Young Award favorites. "We've gone out, and as of late we've been playing well, and we can just carry this on into the end of the season and into next year."
His Cave tourmates echoed that sentiment.
"It's been great. We're just trying to finish on a strong note," Nelson said. "We've been playing good baseball. We just take that into next season."
"We're just optimistic going forward," Ottavino said. "Everybody's been starting to play better. The team is starting to jell a little more as a unit, getting the pitching and hitting at the same pace. That's a good sign for finishing out the year and heading into next year."
Ottavino has been lights-out as an extended reliever this month, with a 1.08 ERA in August and carrying a ray of hope for the club toward 2013. Entering Tuesday, he had allowed just two earned runs over six appearances and 16 2/3 innings this month.
Coming to New York for a Mets series is a homecoming for Ottavino, who is originally from the Big Apple. He said adding the Fan Cave as a stop on his itinerary made this trip even more enjoyable. How can you not have fun watching Nelson try on a gold thong for a camera, with fans gawking through the window?
"I just learned how Chris Nelson looks in a thong," Ottavino said. "I may not have ever wanted to know that, but now that I know it, so that's new.
"It's just good overall, because that way we don't wind up sitting in our beds all day doing nothing. We get to come out here and get a great experience and take your mind off the game tonight a little bit, then when we get there, we re-energize and get ready to play."
After signing the wall and taping video footage upstairs and down in the basement, the trio of players said goodbye to the hosts and headed out the door. Fowler and Baghbani left for the shops. There is still much planning to do, as a big Georgia wedding looms ahead.
"Two months from now," she beamed. "We're excited. As soon as we can."