Andy Bishop isn’t just a randomly selected contestant. He has the full support of Chicken Friars because he is a Padres fan. I had a chance to catch up with Andy to discuss baseball, the Padres, and MLB FanCave.
Tell us a little bit about MLB FanCave
The MLB FanCave is any baseball fanatic’s dream job. The inhabitants of the FanCave have to watch all 2,430 games during the 2012 season from a 15,000 square foot studio in New York City, while blogging, vlogging, tweeting, facebooking, etc. about all the games and top MLB storylines. In addition they must entertain MLB players and celebrities by interviewing them and/or creating entertaining video content. 2011 was the first year of the FanCave where just two baseball fans enjoyed the season from the Cave. This year six lucky contestants get to live their dream, at least for part of the season. It will be more of a competition this time around and the contestants will be voted off throughout the year until one remains at the end of the season. So right now we stand at 50 finalists, who were chosen from roughly 22,000 applicants. In a week MLB will narrow it down to 30 finalists(they will be selected based on fan vote, quality of original video submission, and one’s ability to create buzz/interest in the FanCave), who will then get the chance to go to Spring Training in Arizona, and battle each other in a series of challenges. From there 6 contestants will be chosen and be given the opportunity of a lifetime in NYC.
What makes you the best candidate?
In a word: balance. Just like all the other finalists, and even other applicants that didn’t make it, I’m a diehard baseball fan. I’ve been playing and watching the game since I was a toddler. I’ve followed the sport very closely, and am obviously a huge Padres fanatic. I’m a also a well versed communicator. Whether it be social media, writing, or on-camera work I have a lot of experience and am very comfortable with it all. But a lot of the other contestants can say similar things. I think what separates me from the pack is my ability to be extremely creative, entertaining, and crazy. I’m not afraid to take on any risk or challenge, and I’m pretty good at doing crazy acts to make people laugh. So it’s the balance that sets me apart. A lot of these contestants are really really really into baseball. And some of them are pretty creative and funny. But I believe I strike the perfect balance of knowlege/passion for the game and ability to be entertaining/crazy.
How long have you been a Padres fan?
I’ve been a Padres fan as long as I can remember. I grew up in Poway from the time I was born until I was 11 years old. In the summer of 1998, our World Series year of course, my family packed its bags and moved to Northern California in small town called Camino(about 45 miles east of Sacramento). So for about 10 years I had to endure being surround by SF Giants fans. It was hell on earth. After graduating college in 2010 I came back to San Diego, where I’ve been living the last 2 years. I will say I went through a strange phase as a small boy for about two years, where I like the Atlanta Braves in the early 90s. The Pads were obviously terrible and my favorite athlete was Neon Deion Sanders. With him, the Crime Dog, and all those pitchers it was a fun team to watch. But I got my act together soon after.
What’s your fondest memory?
This one’s easy for me. Going into LA down two games with three to play and sweeping the Dodgers to win the NL West title in 1996. Even though I was only 9 I remember it like it was yesterday. And the coolest thing is that TG’s brother Chris came up with the big two-run double in the final game to break the scoreless tie. And that season of Keeping the Faith was truly magical.
What’s your most heartbreaking memory?
A lot of heartbreak as a Padres fan obviously, but I think it had to be the 1998 world series. And more specifically, when Scott Brosius hit that bomb to center of Trevor Hoffman in game 3 that propelled the Yankees to victory. At that point, when they had gone yard and taken the lead off your best pitcher, no amount of faith could deliver you team from it’s ultimate demise. You knew it was over.
Given the changing of the guard in the front office, what are your expectations for this year and beyond?
I’m excited with our front office. I think the franchise is at a better point right now than it has been for several years. Moorad seems like a good guy, and I would say the same for Garfinkle and Byrnes. They want to win, and they also want to give fans a good experience at ballgames. With that being said, I like what I see in the upcoming year. I’m never really worried about pitching since we play at Petco. It’s just a matter of whether our offense can muscle up a bit and get some timely hitting like we did in 2010. Looking at the roster, I’m pretty satisfied and the thing I really like is we have solid depth at several positions. Really looking fowards to the next few years with seemingly good young talent like Maybin, Guzman, and Alonso. And you gotta be excited that we have the best farm system in baseball. The future is looking bright.
What do you think of the offseason moves this year?
I think with what Byrnes had to work with he made the most of acquiring free agents. Getting Quentin was huge. Hopefully he can stay healthy and be fairly consistant producer in the middle of the order. I guess the bigger deal was getting Volquez and Alonso, and getting rid of our young ace. I think Alonso has a bright future. I wasn’t big on Latos, especially his demeanor towards fans. So I’m excited about that change, as well as the addition of Huston Street to be our closer. All in all, I like our additions, but several of them have a history of injuries. So I’m hoping they can at least stay healthy for a majority of the season.
What’s the best thing about being a Padres fan?
The best thing about being a Padres fan is that you get to play the underdog role most of the time. I know it may seem like a sad thing to say, but because we have had a less than average franchise through the years, it makes it all the more special when our team is competitive like in 2010. There isn’t a lot of pressure or a lot of hype surrounding our team, so we easily fly under the radar. Nobody ever picks us to win the division, and I’m sure it will be the same this year. But I’ve got a good feeling about 2012, and I think it’s goign to be a fun year as a Pads fan.
Make sure to vote for Andy here.