Arriving at Sky Harbor, I went to collect my baggage and I recognized some of the Fan Cave Top 30 instantly. I grabbed my bag, met up with them, and felt liked I belonged instantly. Our shuttle came, and they got all 9 of us that were in that group loaded up and to the Embassy Suites, where we checked in. My room had 2 rooms; a living area with couch, chair, table and kitchen and a bedroom with 2 beds and bathroom. I found out I had this suite to myself, which rocked! I quickly unpacked and headed down to the lobby, met up with the people from our shuttle and we went over to Jerry’s Diner next door and found another bunch of finalists. They welcomed us, and some stuck around to talk and introduce themselves. I was nervous; I felt old and obsolete amongst these young, vibrant baseball fans. From Jerry’s, everyone went to the 7-11 to buy alcohol, and to the hot tub and pool area to drink. Sam Dingman, an Orioles fan, had a church key so I could open my Coronas, and I found out he was a pretty kick ass guy and near my age. Talking with him and a lot of the others, I felt a bit more at home. From there, I went to bed and didn’t sleep at all until the morning, where I went to breakfast and again, found more people like me.
We went up to get our packets after breakfast, which contained a cash stipend, a backpack with 2 shirts and a sweatshirt, a hat, a field pass, and instructions and itinerary for the week. Then off to Chase Field where the Diamondbacks play. Our giant MLB Fan Cave bus unloaded us, we went through security checkpoints, took some picks and sat down finally to meet Tim Brosnan, VP for MLB Business, and a slew of other MLB Execs/Production guys/MLBFC Staff. They told us we are lucky. They told us to feel good, that we represent the BEST fans of the sport. They were right. Ricardo, the fan I chose to follow last year that made it up to the end, was there to help out with the entire process. He reeks of passion, of the true essence of what a fan is, and it is contagious. Meeting him was outstanding. We had lunch, a meet and greet with the execs and staff, and interviews were starting. I was selected to do a bonus interview with Greg Amsinger at MLB Network as well. First, my main interview. I was seated in front of 14-20 executives and staff, and was asked questions about who I am, my life, and my goals. It was pretty light-hearted, and they all asked about mattresses. I left them with the fact that the right pillow will account for up to 30% of their quality of sleep. Jim Sergeant would be proud of me.
After that, we went down to the dugout at Chase for the MLB Network interview. It was orderly, brief, but fun. I listened to Greg through an earpiece, and again, we talked about mattresses. 🙂 One thing is for sure; I know what I’m talking about when it comes to the right stuff to sleep on, especially with Tempur-Pedics.
With that done, we went to one of the locker rooms to wait for our 60 second pitch interview. People had rehearsed, written notes, had props. Me, I told myself I have been in sales for a decade and I have 60 seconds to sell myself. If I can’t do that, I don’t belong here. I outlined 5 points I wanted to touch upon, and was going to go from there. I was 4th out of 30 to do my interview, and my wingman Sam was right after me. I went into a room with desks, dark except for lights shining down on a stage, cameras everywhere, and 20 execs present. I decided to make this light-hearted as well. They took me in, said this is Peter Gourlie, I said Hey everybody, how are all of you doin? and went down to my mark. They explained if I went over 60 seconds, they would hit a gong. I said well, that’s pretty cool, can they hit it anyways when I’m done? That got a smattering of laughs, they said yes, and I began. I touched upon the heritage and history of the sport (represented in the #42 jersey I’m wearing), the hopefully near future (as I took off the Fan Cave T-shirt I had on), and I got delayed taking it off. So, I told everyone don’t worry, I’ve been told my limits and the pants are staying on. Again, some laughter, and I continued: I had my autographed jersey on underneath which shows tenacity and determination and every autograph has a story and interaction behind it, and then my last layer was a Corey “The Condor” Hart T-shirt. This showed creativity, as he is our fave player. Last, my Brewers tattoo, which is for life, shows loyalty to my team. I want to bring these aspects to a new generation via Twitter and Facebook, and I feel I can definitely have an impact on outreach in the Fan Cave. Thank you. Hit the gong. And I was done. I received a round of applause, and left feeling good.
I talked to Sam after, told him to be himself and be great, and when he was done the first five of us went back to the holding room. I told some of them that they just need to be themselves, and I hope I helped take the edge off some of their nerves. Most everyone felt they did ok with this, which is great!
After this, we went back up to the suites, had some more food and split into groups again. Some people still had interviews, and the rest of us filmed the Les Mis parody that you can find on http://www.mlbfancave.com. THAT came together well, and I’m proud to be a part of it! The production guys really have a great vision, and their execution is damn near flawless! I hope they know I appreciate their talents, which can be seen in the video.
And that was it for business for the day. From there, open bar and dinner buffet, Trivia with Ricardo and Eric Byrnes and Porkchop from the MLB Network, and karaoke. I am no longer embarrassed to admit that yes, I sang karaoke with the Cubs representative, Katie. She’s still a Packers fan, so it’s ok. 🙂 She rocked it with Journey – Don’t Stop Believin, and carried my tone-deaf self through the song. Other songs heard that night would be Friends in Low Places, and Sweet Home Alabama, all sang by participants in the Top 30. From there, buses back to the hotel, and more hot tubs and beverages and mingling. Part 3 will account the last day.