KANSAS CITY -- After watching all 1,283 regular-season games to date, what's an MLB Fan Cave Dweller to do while waiting for the heart-pounding excitement of the remaining 1,147? The new collective bargaining agreement called for an extra day off after the All-Star Game, so that's four straight days with no games in the standings.
Here's what you do: You go to the airport, fly to Kansas City, go to the player-interview sessions at Arrowhead Stadium, hang around your favorite All-Stars, then move into Fan Cave Midwest in the left-field seats at Kauffman Stadium.
By the end of Monday night, as they took in the live bands and fun at the All-Star Gala, the seven Cave Dwellers were shaking their heads in disbelief at everything that had happened. Had All-Star Ambassador George Brett really just visited them while Prince Fielder was busy winning the State Farm Home Run Derby? Were balls being hit to them?
Had Angels fan Ricardo Marquez really been on the giant screen for a long time holding a big cardboard Mark Trumbo head to fire up 40,351 fans in a packed house? Had Cardinals fan Kyle Thompson really been on the giant screen showing them how to go down the replica orange tube slide like the original one back home at Fourth and Broadway in New York's Greenwich Village?
Yes. And it only gets better for them, because they get to take personal batting practice Tuesday morning at Kauffman Stadium, and later they will be kicking back in the air-conditioned Fan Cave Midwest on comfy seats and entertaining fans and celebs and watching the American League and the National League duke it out for home-field advantage in the World Series. The 83rd All-Star Game starts at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
By the time the next Fall Classic ends, one Cave Dweller will be left standing, part of the deal they all accepted when they were among nine chosen from 22,000 applicants. They are being gradually eliminated, but MLB surprised them by announcing that all seven were coming to this event. Now that they are here, MLB.com asked each of them at the All-Star Gala what thrilled them most on Monday in Kansas City:
Lindsay Guentzel (Twins): "The best part about being in Kansas City? Besides the amazing food, it has been seeing how excited the city is to be hosting the All-Star Game. And the beautiful blue fountains."
Shaun Kippins (Braves): "Getting to talk to all four of the Braves' representatives, including Chipper Jones."
Smashley Chavez (Giants): "Getting to talk to Buster Posey and him knowing who I am. Did you hear what happened? He said he had seen me on TV. Buster Posey knows who I am!"
Ricky Mast (Braves): "Meeting Chipper Jones. Period."
Ricardo Marquez (Angels): "Just seeing Trumbo go yard. Multiple times."
Kyle Thompson (Cardinals): "Meeting all of five of the Cardinals players that are here in Kansas City and getting to ask them about their experience."
Gordon Mack (Phillies): "No. 1, talking to John Kruk. No. 2, talking to Chooch [Carlos Ruiz]. And No. 3, it actually happening."