"Boom! It happened so fast. All I saw was just red."
Ask Nats fan Drew Wildes about his favorite memory from the 2012 season, and he'll answer with that description of Jayson Werth's walk-off home run in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.
And now, the 24-year-old is looking to represent that sea of red as he campaigns to become a member of the 2013 MLB Fan Cave, which gives a few baseball die-hards the chance to spend a season in its event space in New York City, with their ultimate goal being to watch every single major league game of the season. These Cave Dwellers create articles, videos and more about their experiences, which in the past have included player and celebrity appearances and concerts from artists such as Nas, The Avett Brothers and LMFAO.
After finding out last week that he was one of the top 52 contestants, Wildes, who calls Charlottesville, Va., his home, has been campaigning to become one of the 30 contestants invited to spring training in Arizona. While he has been mainly reaching out to his friends on Facebook, he also uses Twitter (@DrewieLemoine) to ask his followers to vote before the Feb. 13 deadline.
"Being in New York City, the sports mecca that it is, that within itself would just be incredible," he said. "Just the interactions with people, I mean, it would be very cool to be around people of the game and people who follow the game professionally, write about it, talk about it. I mean, it would be an honor really. This is a very special opportunity, and I'm taking it seriously."
If selected for the top 30, Wildes will compete in various events at spring training, which will determine who will spend the 2013 season in New York City. While he would love to win to experience the Fan Cave for himself, Wildes also wants to win a spot in the Fan Cave for Nationals enthusiasts.
"It's more about representing the community, too - like Washington, D.C., as a sports fan base," Wildes said. "Because I still feel like we're sort of new, especially as a baseball franchise. And winning's new. You don't get noticed nationally until you win. Last season, it opened a lot of people's eyes to Washington, D.C., sports. I know that the Cave, they need a Nats fan."
Beyond being a baseball lover, Wildes also enjoys music, film and playing violin. While in college at the University of Pittsburgh, he had the chance to film a movie in Prague, which he feels will help him bring new ideas for skits and videos to the Fan Cave. He also graduated with a degree in history, and his interest in history overlaps with his love of baseball.
"I look at baseball through a historical perspective always," Wildes said. "The part of the game is so deeply embedded into the culture of the United States."
His passion for baseball was inherited from his father, who taught him to love the game from an early age.
"My dad's a huge D.C. guy. He was raised around the Fairfax area," Wildes said. "He actually attended an All-Star Game at Griffith Stadium. ... He saw the last professional game ever played at Griffith Stadium. So I learned a lot from him. I'm definitely a baseball fan because of my dad."
After Feb. 13, Wildes and other contestants will find out if they made the cut.
"It's sort of a dream," he said. "It would be crazy, and any baseball fan's dream to sit around and watch all the games."
To check out Wildes' video submission or to cast your vote for him, use this link: http://masn.me/DREWNatsFanCave