NEW YORK -- There is one more season-long battle of attrition in Major League Baseball that will be settled between now and the World Series clincher, and that is the game of survival being played out around the clock at the MLB Fan Cave on Fourth Street and Broadway.
Another cut was made this week as the cast said goodbye to Phillies fan Gordon Mack, so that leaves three superfans from the original 22,000 who applied last offseason: Ashley Chavez (Giants), Ricardo Marquez (Angels) and Kyle Thompson (Cardinals). Entering September, all three have dogs in this postseason hunt -- goodbye to the East region -- as they continue their bid to watch all 2,430 regular-season games on the Cave Monster's 15 TV screen.
Each fan hopes to be the last one left standing when the 108th World Series is decided. In the meantime, the trio continues to entertain visiting Major League players and celebrities, posting blog entries and social media content, testing their creativity, facing challenges and proving themselves to the MLB powers that be. They are one-third of the Opening Day lineup of Cave Dwellers, and MLB.com asked each of them to email their own best case for why their team will win it all and to predict which Legends Are Born In October:
Ashley Chavez of Lathrop, Calif.
Why the Giants will win it all: "We have all the necessary tools in skill, chemistry, and experienced leadership from both players and coaching staff. When we won in 2010, we had two things going for us: lights-out pitching and a sudden burst of clutch offense. This season (although our pitching is very good, it's not 2010 status just yet), we have strong outings from now-experienced postseason pitchers, amazing defense and a greater offense than what we've had in a while. We're looking pretty solid in our division, and I know we will make our way into October with the tools I've just listed."
Legend who will be born in October: "Our star will be Buster Posey. He is our leader, is now experienced in postseason play and is our offensive cornerstone. He is hands-down MVP of the team and has potential to be one for the league. It's easy to forget this is his first full year in the bigs. He is definitely a force you wouldn't want to mess with."
Ricardo Marquez of Anaheim
Why the Angels will win it all: "Due to the sheer fact that the September push to nail a postseason spot will only carry on the momentum. The Angels don't sleep and will never give up fighting. With an incredible starting staff and the power of Albert Pujols, Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo, combined with the speed of Mike Trout, the Halo will certainly be lit once the World Series is over."
Legend who will be born in October: "Once the confetti has fallen, I see Mike Trout taking that role. Trout is having an amazing rookie year and is Mr. Clutch of the team. Hopefully we see some October fireworks from the Prince Fish."
Kyle Thompson of Lawton, Okla.
Why the Cardinals will repeat: "It all comes down to experience. Aside from a few subtractions and additions to the roster, it is relatively the same team that made that magical run last season. This team knows how to win, and they know how to come from behind to do so. Furthermore, they are in a much better position now than they were at the same time last season. It is well-chronicled at this point that the Cardinals were 10 1/2 games out of a playoff spot in late August 2011, but now they are in a position to defend their playoff standing against the rest of the NL's elite teams. It was all about #11in11, now it's about #12in12."
Legend who will be born in October: "Yadier Molina is and has been the MVP of the Cardinals for a while. He is a fan favorite who has a tremendous effect on many aspects of the game. If you were to ask his teammates, they would tell you that his worth cannot be measured in dollars and cents. He is having a breakout year at the plate and has been the most clutch player for the Cards. If they are to repeat, it will be because of the heroics of Molina. He will become legendary before our eyes."