The 2013 MLB Fan Cave contest is well under way for its third season. Last month, Major League Baseball revealed it’s list of the top 50 candidates out of the tens of thousands of submissions.
Every team has at least one representative, but this isn’t about them. This is about the Dodgers, their fans and more importantly their fanatics. This is about having a Dodger fan represent all of us in front of the rest of the country’s baseball fans.
In 2013 the Dodgers have three die-hard, true blue Dodger fans among the top 50 candidates vying to make the next cut where that number gets dwindled down to a top 30 and an invite to Spring Training to audition to be one of the nine 2013 Fan Cave Dwellers who will get to live in the MLB Fan Cave where they get to chronicle their lives in the Fan Cave through social media outlets, blogs and videos in their quest to be the last person standing as the ultimate winner.
This is the first of what I hope to be three interviews with each of the fans representing the Dodgers this year.
Mr. Roberts is a 28 year old high school substitute teacher living in Huntington Beach, California. He was born and raised in Lancaster until he moved to Orange County for college to attend Cal State Long Beach. He primarily substitutes for English classes while he is enrolled in his credentialing program.
Recently, Mr. Roberts sat down and answered a few questions I had for him on behalf of Dodgers Rumors.
Matt Rogina: I know you’re a Dodger fan. How long have you been a Dodger fan?
Thomas Roberts: I’ve been a Dodger fan all my life. When I was a kid, I rooted for the Texas Rangers as well because of Pudge Rodriguez. My entire family are Dodger fans and baseball is what we do. So, I’ve had the Blue coursing through my veins since birth.
MR: So, what made you want to compete to be an MLB Cave Dweller?
TR: The MLB Fan Cave is the ultimate dream for any Baseball junkie like me. The opportunity to live in New York and literally be part of the game while getting to meet some of my favorite players was just too enticing to pass up. I already eat, sleep and dream Baseball, this way I get to live it too.
MR: When did you attend your first game at Dodger Stadium?
TR: My very first memory of being at a game is Darryl Strawberry. It’s a little fuzzy and I could be mistaken, but I think I was at a game where he hit two home runs versus the Astros.
MR: What is your fondest childhood baseball memory?
TR: My fondest Baseball memory from my childhood is actually a bad mark on Baseball. In 1995, the Dodgers were playing the Cardinals and gave away baseballs as their promotion for that night. Well, after a series of events and bad calls, the fans threw the balls onto the field and the Dodgers had to forfeit the game. I was sitting in the right field bleachers.
MR: Interesting. Why would such a dark moment in baseball, especially for the Dodgers, be a fond memory for you?
TR: Well, how many people can say they were at a game as historic as that? Yes, the Dodgers had to forfeit the game because a few rowdy fans and yes that represents the worst of baseball fans but being at that game and witnessing something so unique in Dodger history is pretty cool.
MR: What was your first visit to Dodger Stadium like?
TR: The first live game experience where I completely remember was incredible. Dodger Stadium is uniquely situated so most of the entrances are level with the higher seats. When you walk in and over to the first row, you look down at this incredibly beautiful field with an amazing backdrop. Because it’s Los Angeles and the altitude at Dodger Stadium is a little higher, there’s always this very fine mist that fills the air and creates the illusion that you’re witnessing something mystical or legendary. It’s my favorite place in the world and I can remember as a child being absolutely awed by the sheer epic nature of the place.
MR: So, did you play baseball growing up?
TR: I sure did play baseball growing up and was actually two games away from the Little League World Series with the 1997 Monte Vista All-Star team.
MR: Very cool. What positions did you play?
TR: I played middle infield and pitched a little bit. When I got older and began to play pony league, I was a catcher and outfielder, which continued through college where I saw more time behind the plate than I did in the outfield. I still play in an adult wooden bat league and I love it.
MR: So, who were some of your favorite players in baseball growing up?
TR: My two favorite players growing up, strangely enough, weren’t Dodgers. I loved Ivan “Pudge” Rodriquez and to this day still have his catcher’s mitt model and Rangers jersey. Griffey was my other favorite player, but who didn’t list him as a favorite? That guy was a once in a generation talent and I can’t wait to see him in the Hall of Fame. Hopefully Pudge makes it in too.
MR: Seems how you brought up catchers and the Hall of Fame, what was your take on this past Hall of Fame vote that didn’t induct anybody? As perhaps one of the greatest hitting catchers in major league history, do you think Mike Piazza should have been elected? Do you think he will make it in the future?
TR: I actually really like that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens didn’t get in and don’t think they ever should! I wrote at length about why on my blog and I don’t mind that Biggio didn’t get in because I don’t think he’s a Hall of Famer. I’m VERY disappointed that Mike Piazza didn’t get in though. He’s the greatest hitting catcher of all time and an awesome underdog story! The guy was drafted 1,390th and he wasn’t even drafted on his talents. It was a favor for Tommy Lasorda. Then he goes on to win Rookie of the Year and have one of the best offensive careers ever for a catcher and this man is NOT in the Hall of Fame? I realize that a first ballot is special but come on! He definitely should have been elected in my opinion and I do believe that he’ll get the votes in the future.
MR: So, I know in your video, you show some pictures where you met Dodger greats Steve Garvey and Tommy Lasorda. Who else have you met?
MR: If you could meet any present player on the Dodgers, who would it be and why? Any current non-player in the dodgers organization? What about all time?
TR: I would LOVE to meet AJ Ellis. Not only is he my favorite current Dodger, he also seems like a hilarious guy on Twitter. Him and Clayton Kershaw have incredible chemistry and I love their “Between Two Palm Trees” videos on www.dodgers.com. Plus, I’m a catcher so I’d dig getting catching tips from him.
MR: And what about a non-player? If you could meet anybody in the Dodgers organization that wasn’t a player, who would you want to meet?
TR: If I could meet anyone in the Dodger organization, I’d meet Vin Scully. The things that man has witnessed and the stories he must have are beyond legendary. He embodies the Dodgers and seems like an incredibly nice guy.
MR: I think every Dodger fan would agree with that. Now, what about all-time? If you could meet any Dodger throughout their storied history, who would you want to meet?
TR: If I could meet any Baseball player in history I’d go with Jackie Robinson. That would be an incredible experience just to talk with him and hear first hand what he’s been through. Then I’d have him sign my Robinson jersey!
MR: If you were given the task of choosing one current person in the Dodgers organization to be the face of the Dodgers, who would you pick and why?
TR:Vin Scully Hands down. He embodies the Dodgers and his voice is synonymous with Baseball itself. He is the ultimate representative and the ideal person for the face of any franchise. I’m just glad he’s a True Blue Dodger.
MR: Again, I think the vast majority of die-hard Dodger fans would agree with you. Now, what about if you had to choose a player to be the face of the Dodgers? Who would you pick?
TR: If I had to choose a player, then Matt Kemp is the obvious choice. Not only is he the most popular Dodger, he’s also one of the more popular players in all of Baseball. He’s transcended the game and entered the Mainstream.
MR: Have you ever gone to Spring Training to watch the Dodgers?
TR: I go every Spring! I already have my tickets to two Dodger home games and two other games for this spring and my hotel is booked. I can’t wait! I love Spring Training. It’s an incredible experience that every Baseball fan should experience. It’s so intimate. The players are right there and you can literally have your face pressed up against a chain link fence watching Matt Kemp take Batting practice ten feet away. I’ve never been to the Grapefruit League in Florida though. I’d love to see some of the stadiums down there.
MR: How many major league ball parks have you been to?
TR: So far I’ve visited nine and been outside of two others. All while wearing my Dodger hat. I have plans on visiting three more this season if I don’t make it to the MLB Fan Cave.
MR: Which stadiums have you visited?
TR: I’ve been to all five in California (LA, OAK, SD, ANA, and SF,), Chase Field in Arizona and three others: Wrigley, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Obviously Dodger Stadium is my favorite but I have to admit that AT&T Park is the nicest stadium I’ve been to. Chase Field was awesome as well and Petco Park is super cool. Wrigley is dripping with history and mystique. Citizens Bank Park is huge and very awesome. Camden Yards was another one of my favorites because it’s so classy. Oakland was a little cold but definitely had it’s charm once inside and Angel Stadium felt very welcoming. I’ve been outside of Safeco Field in Seattle and PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Both looked incredible but unfortunately there weren’t any games going on when I was in those cities.
MR: If you were an MLB player, what would your walk up music be and why?
TR: I’d alternate “When I Come Around” by Green Day, “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode and “Let’s Go” by Trick Daddy. Each one puts me in a different mood but all three shoot my energy and motivation through the roof.
MR: What is the most outrageous thing you have ever done to show your support of the Dodgers?
TR: Well I haven’t done it yet, but I’m hoping to tattoo “Dodgers” on the inside of my lower lip. That way when anyone asks whom I root for, I just make a really wacky face and stick out my bottom lip. I wore my Dodger hat at a 49er game. That wasn’t a very good idea. I got a lot of crap. Trust me though, if I make the Fan Cave, there will definitely be some outrageous Dodger moments!
MR: Good to know. So, tell my readers and followers why they should vote for you to make it to the Fan Cave? Why do you deserve our vote?
TR: I deserve your vote because I am a Die-Hard True Blue Dodger fan and I will represent the Dodgers and the city of Los Angeles with class, personality, humor and a desire to be the best. In the Fan Cave, I will be entertaining and knowledgeable about all things baseball while being very engaging and accessible to the fans of the game. There’s never been a Dodger representative in the Fan Cave! We have to fix that! I know the players, the team, the history and the tradition of the Dodgers and there is no one who bleeds blue more than me. Thank You so much Dodger Nation!
MR: One last question, before I send you on your way. Tell the truth: have you ever played hooky from work to watch a Dodger game?
TR: I don’t have to! Ha Ha! I’m a teacher so I spend most of my days on the computer and I watch the Dodger day games on www.mlb.com. I did skip work to go to the Dodgers home opener two seasons ago. Can’t pass that opportunity up!
MR: Well, that’s about all the time we have today. On behalf of Dodgers Rumors and our fans, thank you very much for taking a few minutes out of what I suspect is a very busy time for you right now to answer some questions so we can all get an idea of who you are.
Here is another video of Thomas where you can get a better idea about the person who hopes to represent the Dodgers as a Fan Cave dweller.
What do you say, fellow fans? Do you have any questions or comments for Mr. Roberts? If nothing else, please be sure to send him well wishes in the comments section or you can follow him on these social network sites: