It took several weeks of competition and days of deliberation, but Thursday Major League Baseball announced that nine super fans have been invited to the MLB Fan Cave including Oklahoma's Kyle Thompson.
MLB whittled down the more than 22,000 original applicants to 50 and then invited 30 finalists to Spring Training in Phoenix.
Thompson, a Lawton native and current Edmond resident and huge St. Louis Cardinals fan, campaigned his way to the top of the competition and impressed along the way to earn his spot at this dream job.
"Choosing these nine fans out of the 30 amazing finalists in Arizona last week was a difficult decision, but we've arrived at a truly entertaining group representing a wide range of our fan base," said MLB Executive Vice President, Business Tim Brosnan. "We think fans are really going to enjoy following their adventures online throughout the season while playing an active role in determining who gets to stay in the Fan Cave all season long."
Thompson and the nine "cave dwellers" will uproot their lives and move to New York City to spend the summer watching every single MLB game this season. Each day they will record their experiences and share it with fans via social media all while competing for the right to stay in the Fan Cave through the World Series.
The ‘cave dwellers' will make the move to NYC in about two weeks, just in time for the games in Japan on March 28th and 29th . The Fan Cave is a 15,000 square foot location at 4th Street and Broadway that was formerly the home of Tower Records.
All nine competitors are paid an undisclosed monthly stipend for their time spent in the cave to compensate them for their work during the season.
"It is sufficient enough that all these people had no qualms about leaving their lives behind to come take this shot," said MLB spokesman Jeff Heckelman.
Details on the eliminations throughout the season have not been laid out, but their social media efforts and performance in video content and interaction are considered in specific challenges along the way. Heckelman added that the eliminations are based on both fan voting as well voting by a panel of MLB judges that will take all factors into account and make the final decision.
This season's other finalists include San Francisco Giants fan Ashley Chavez, Oakland Athletics fan Benjamin Christensen, Minnesota Twins fan Lindsay Guentzel, Atlanta Braves fans Shaun Kippins and Ricky Mast as well as Philadelphia Phillies fan Gordon Mack, Anaheim Angels fan Ricardo Marquez and New York Yankees fan Eddie Mata.
"We were looking to identify a group of fans that each brought something unique to the fan cave and was representative of our fan base," added Heckelman. "We've got a huge fan base across the country in major league baseball so it was important to have people representing multiple teams, diverse in every way. It was important to have a female presence in the Fan Cave -45 percent of our fans are female it's the highest percentage of any sport and we take great pride in that so Lindsay and Ashley are outstanding and it's going to be cool to see them all there."
It's game on for Thompson and the other finalists as Opening Day of the 2012 MLB season is Wednesday April 4th and their work schedule includes all 2430 MLB baseball games this season.