I apologize for not posting sooner. I have been in Arizona for vacation/Fan Cave since Monday, and was waiting for a fellow Superfan to bring down a semi-decent computer for me to use. In fact, it is a $3000 laptop gaming rig that is ridiculously nice, and works way better than my ipad mini. I am going to start tonight from the beginning, from the core ideas and inspirations all the way through the struggles to the current waiting status I am in now. Here we go.
It started with an idea. Last year, I waited until the last minute to make a video, without planning anything, and it showed. I don’t even remember much about it myself. I promised myself, one more year to get it right. One more year, to try and achieve the childhood dream of being a part of MLB as a great fan. A Superfan. I had an idea for a while, but with a change of employment, that idea died. I won’t bore you with the details. A new idea was forming, one in which I could portray how I feel about the Milwaukee Brewers and baseball in general. Through discussions down at Wolski’s Tavern and via a facebook group, it slowly formed into a more polished, flowing idea… but it lacked one thing. Credibility. Is that the word? How about, it lacked references. I posted one night on facebook, just thinking aloud, “Wondering if I should try for some player endorsements for this FC vid…” The next day, Melissa Kintzler emailed me a video of her husband and Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler, doing just that. “Hi I’m Brandon Kintzler from the Milwaukee Brewers. Vote for Pete for the Fan Cave, no one deserves it more.” I watched it a few times, not believing what I saw. Sure, Brandon and Melissa are friends, and the idea had crossed my mind, but they gave me the push to go through with it, and that push was a 15 second endorsement.
I have thanked Melissa, but really didn’t get a chance to thank Brandon as much as I wanted to. I watched him pitch today, and he did pretty well. Got a chance to talk to some of his family, but I had to leave before he came out of the locker room. BK, should you take a minute to read this and not get bored with my ramblings, thanks for the push towards my dream. I needed it, and you gave it to me at the perfect time.
From there, I felt I needed a few more endorsements. I called my buddy Mitch Stetter, who signed with the Angels organization this year, and he and his wife Ali were pretty excited to be a part of it. I love his laid back pose in the video he sent me, and it was chock-full of kind words. I was really happy to see Mitch and Ali a few days ago, and go out to eat with them and their family. Also there’s nothing better than appliance shopping with Mitch and his oldest boy, CC. What a well-behaved and happy kid! I will see them again before heading back to the frigid wastelands of Wisconsin. Ali spent countless nights chatting with me, giving me ideas about who else would want to do an endorsement, and finally, I asked Manny Parra, from the Reds.
Manny sent a video telling me exactly what he thought of me, and it was enlightening to know that he sees me for who I try to be: hard-working, loyal and supportive. He has done a lot this off-season to change his style of thinking. Being “ego-free” allows him to focus on what he has to do to be successful, rather than dwelling on the past. I wish I could’ve seen him pitch two perfect relief innings today at Goodyear vs the Indians, but alas, I was at Maryvale for Mark Rogers and BK’s first day of pitching. Manny, wherever you play or whenever you retire, I support you because you have followed your dream just as I am doing. Should I be blessed with a spot in the Fan Cave, you are REQUIRED to stop by when the Reds play the Mets.
The production team consisting of Rob Gustafson, Jay Mack, Silvester Plascencia and myself filmed it, edited it, and posted it. We filmed in Jay’s Brewers room, with his dog and giant opening day ticket. I was happy with the final product and felt we had put our best foot forward showing people who I am and what I represent. I went to Brewers On Deck to try to gain some support videos, in case I did make it. I got Craig Counsell, Marcus Hanel, Marco Estrada, Dr. Taylor Green, and Mark Rogers to do vids with me saying “Vote for Pete” and I felt pretty good with that. Again, pending if I was chosen.
And then, while at work talking to Curt Sharkey about clearance mattresses on the phone, I got the email. I had been chosen. I was amazed, and sent it first to Curt who laughed and said this was awesome. He spread it around, voted for me, and got a lot of others to vote as well. I called everyone I could, posted on Facebook and Twitter, and the voting commenced. I emailed every news station and radio station, and got a few bites. For a moment, I thought “Is this enough?” And then Channel 7 out of Wausau, WI called me and said they would do an interview via Skype. I had half an hour to figure out what skype was, thank you Ben Topczewski for teaching me. I found support from every corner of the web, from people I haven’t talked to in over a decade, and from where it really meant the most, family. I mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again, my cousin, who was my best friend growing up, playing cards, drinking, shooting, and playing video games, he supported me. I remember once a long time ago, we went to an Alabama concert and we made two signs: Dixieland or Bust, and Cheap Seats. Cheap Seats, one of the best baseball songs I know, became my theme song. Thanks for believing in me Jason, and I won’t forget Beauregard Funglenutz. I got emails forwarded from my mother from all of the extended family, all voting and helping where they could.
All said and done, I again felt I did as much as I could (short of spray-painting a sheet and hanging it on an overpass, which we found out would be illegal) and the wait started. I got the email while at work the next day, the day after informing my Director of Stores about the dream I was chasing (and he supported me!). I was shaking reading it. Couldn’t believe it. Yet, here it was… I called my boss first, left a message, said the alternate schedule would be in effect. I called mom next, told her the news, had to go because I was at work. I called everyone I could, posted it where I could, and was on cloud nine. Then the email came with the details, and I was ready.
Josh and Val Riewe, both fellow Superfans, went shopping with me the night before I left and made sure I didn’t miss anything that I would need. Everything from shoes to toothpaste, I was packed and ready. Thank you for getting me prepared!
From there, Julio picked me up in a sweet Lincoln Town Car to take me to the airport. I helped him load up and got in the front seat, and then he told me that passengers usually sit in back and we laughed about it. I started falling asleep in the car, and woke up and explained to him why I was so drained; chasing dreams, work, Fan Cave… He said he knew who I was because of the articles he read and that he wished me luck. He got me to the airport safe and sound, I tipped him and checked into my flight and boarded. I slept a lot of the way, which was great.
Read the rest in Part 2!