Life in MLB's Fan Cave

By Greg Cannon

Marist graduate Shaun Kippins in MLB Fan Cave

Shaun Kippins ’09 was one of nine finalists picked from 22,000 applicants in Major League Baseball’s Fan Cave competition.

Shaun Kippins ’09 spent four months earlier this year living in a cave. Instead of isolation and a diet of nuts and berries, he feasted on baseball, Tweets, Likes, and pizza.

Kippins was plucked from a pool of 22,000 applicants for one of just nine spots in the second season of Major League Baseball’s Fan Cave—making it one of the few things tougher to get into than Marist. Another Marist alumnus—Travis Miller ’08—just missed making the cut. Marist’s offices of Alumni Relations and Public Affairs spread the word over the winter, encouraging members of the Marist community to vote in support of fellow alumni.

Launched in 2011, the Fan Cave at first set for two megafans the challenge of watching all 2,430 regular-season Major League games from a comfortable space in lower Manhattan furnished with a wall of televisions. The competitors also hosted visits throughout the season from Yankees, Mets, and visiting team’s stars.

The format was changed for 2012 to an elimination challenge in which Kippins and his fellow Cave Dwellers were given the job of growing their personal followings through social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook while also creating original content in the form of videos and blogs on the MLBFanCave.com Web site, where fans could vote for their favorite contestants.

As a communication major with a concentration in sports communication who was working in Albany as a sports producer for the YNN cable news network, Kippins was up to the task.

“My Marist education definitely helped me throughout the journey,” Kippins says. From the internship requirement that landed him the YNN job that he believes made him a stronger candidate to the editing and production skills that he brought to bear on his Fan Cave work, he credits Marist with providing him with a solid foundation.

The Latham, NY, native defied geography and grew up a diehard Atlanta Braves fan, so the highlight among many memorable moments (ringing the bell at the NASDAQ, lighting the Empire State Building, getting his own baseball card made, taking batting practice at the All-Star Game) was meeting Braves star Chipper Jones.

“He was nice enough to chat me up for a few minutes,” Kippins recalls. “That's certainly something I'll always remember.”

Many more baseball thrills are sure to come, because even though Kippins didn’t make it to the end of the season—he was cut in July—his experience paid off with a new job as an associate producer for MLB.com.

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