April Whitzman is counting on the continued support of her loyal Halifax fan base to ensure she keeps her spot in the big leagues.
The recent Mount Saint Vincent University graduate is the only Canadian and one of only 30 left standing in the 2013 MLB Fan Cave Contest.
The prize is a huge one for Major League Baseball fans. Contest organizers describe it as an opportunity to "participate in activities with MLB stars and celebrities and participate in exciting challenges" against other fan cave contestants.
Much like a reality show, contestants are voted out of the fan cave until only one remains standing for the final pitch of the 2013 World Series.
For Whitzman, making it into the top 30 is a dream come true. She recently moved to Toronto, home of her beloved Toronto Blue Jays. On Feb. 18 she flew out to Arizona for the first leg of her MLB Fan Cave journey and was still beaming to have made it so far.
Her love of baseball runs deep. Whitzman lived and breathed baseball to the extent that while growing up, she was the only girl on the local boys' baseball team in her New Brunswick hometown of Campbellton.
"I don't think my first word was mama, it was likely Rondell White or Larry Walker or something like that," she joked. "I always wanted to be a major leaguer as a kid."
Although she couldn't realize that dream, the public relations grad did the next best thing. She started a website www.JaysProspects.com so she could live vicariously through others who are living the dream.
To date, she has interviewed more than 200 Blue Jays prospects for her popular website, which offers an in depth look at the franchise's prospects.
The entire endeavour is a labour of love, as Whitzman also holds down a ‘regular' job in addition to many hours each week researching and writing for her website.
"Baseball has a crazy amount of drafts, 30 rounds or more, and only about three per cent will ever reach their dream," she explained.
"My website gives them a chance to have their voices heard and their stories told and it's really incredible because they are always very thrilled to do the interviews, and I'm honoured to do them. In turn I get to learn about the Blue Jays system through them."
When Whitzman threw her hat into the ring for the MLB Fan Cave contest, she knew her application would be one of tens of thousands so she worked hard to make it stand out. In addition to an essay and writing samples, she submitted a video in which she challenged Brandon Morrow to a strike throwing competition--at the bowling alley.
"I have 6,000 followers on Twitter and really have the best support group. Everybody in Halifax was voting, Toronto, and my (New Brunswick) hometown," she said.
Her next goal is to make it into the top 10, which will involve a move to New York City to become a ‘fan cave dweller' where she'll write, talk, and live nothing but baseball.
"You're tasked with watching 2,400 baseball games if you make it to the top 30 ... I still need people to keep up the social media support," she said. "The fan cave committee want to make sure I have the reach so as the only Canadian now, I have a whole nation not just Nova Scotia or New Brunswick behind me, and nothing's more special than that."
Follow Whitzman on Twitter, @Alleycat17, and check out her MLB Fan Cave details at http://mlbfancave.mlb.com/fancave/vote.jsp?fliqzid=a4f59bb5abb74acabb2db9876f920fc2#fbid=coGyNF5o3DT .