2 Chicago baseball fans, 1 'cave'

How many games can a person watch? They're about to find out

April 01, 2013|By Matt Lindner @mattlindner | For RedEye

As a stringer for The Associated Press covering the Cubs and White Sox, Ravenswood's Travis Miller is used to watching a lot of baseball games.

"125 games I covered last year," he said.

Multiply that number by 40 and you'll have a rough estimate of how many he's going to be watching this year.

"When you're in the press box, you can't be cheering for teams," he said. "I just want to reconnect with why I love what I do."

The 27-year-old Mets fan was one of two Chicago-area residents—the other being 27-year-old Marcus Hall, a White Sox fan from Aurora—selected to be in the MLB FanCave in New York City for the 2013 season. The FanCave brings together nine fans to watch every single MLB game with participants being voted out periodically throughout the season.

"You are watching baseball from the moment it starts in the afternoon and sometimes the Red Sox play those 11 a.m. games," Miller said. "It is an unhealthy thing. It is watching TV for more than 12 hours a day."

"Never have I sat down and devoted an entire day to watching baseball," Hall said. "Baseball is something I love so it's not like it's going to be hard for me to sit down and watch baseball. I'm just going to be myself and have fun with this opportunity."

Since the formal announcement was made last month, both men say their lives have been turned upside down.

"My phone went crazy with texts from everybody," Hall said. "Strangers on Twitter congratulating me, I can't put it into words."

For Miller, getting the news meant putting all his stuff into storage and preparing to put his life in Chicago on hold. His lease is up in May, meaning the home he returns to will be completely different from the one he left.

"I trust my roommate wholly to pick a nice apartment," he said. "She has better taste than I do so I completely trust her to take care of these things."

Major League Baseball covers all living expenses for the cave dwellers and provides them with a monthly stipend, something that couldn't have come at a better time for Hall, an unemployed sales professional who is hoping this leads to bigger and better things.

"Hopefully this can turn into a career starter for me," he said. "Anything with social media would be cool. Anything covering a sport, I'd be great."

Participants were selected after submitting videos of themselves explaining why they should get paid to watch baseball for a living.

Participants will interact with celebrities and players who stop by and chronicling their adventures via social media.

"Who else gets to get paid to watch baseball all day every day, meet players and get to do these cool things, you know," Hall said.

Miller said it's going to be a different experience having players wanting to interact with him than he's used to as a member of the media.

"When you have that press pass on, you walk into the clubhouse and players, they turn and run," he said. "They do not want to see you. That's kind of scarring for someone who grew up loving baseball. That's something I'm hoping to fix. When you have players coming into the Cave, they open up, they show a bit of their personality."

The fact that he's single makes the idea of putting his life here on hold for up to six months to watch baseball more palatable, even if that does mean leaving behind his beloved dog Winston.

"I have been a career man since I've moved to Chicago," he said. "Gotta take care of me before I take care of the ladies. My roommate's got the dog, so that will be sad. I'm gonna try to Google Hangout with him but that's pretty much it."

You can follow along with their adventures on their Twitter feeds @attravismiller (Miller) and @_MHa11 (Hall).

Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.



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