An Oklahoma baseball fanatic is one step closer to achieving one of his biggest dreams.
Lawton native Kyle Thompson was named one of 30 finalists for the MLB Fan Cave and now takes off for Arizona and the next round of competition at spring training.
"The reaction was immediately excited and then not but two or three seconds later I had shifted focus to what I would need to do to make sure I can get to New York City," said Thompson.
The 25-year-old Edmond resident emerged from more than 22,000 applications into the top 50 in early February. From there, after two weeks of intense campaigning and more than one million total votes, MLB cut down the finalists from 50 to 30 with Thompson being the only participant remaining from Oklahoma.
He and 29 others from across the U.S. and Canada will travel to Arizona this week for two days of interactive challenges and interviews that will ultimately determine the final group that will start the 2012 season in the MLB Fan Cave in New York.
"Going into spring training I am trying to just keep reminding myself to just be myself," said Thompson "I just really want to go out there and do my best and put my best foot forward and make it into that top six to eight."
The trick is that none of the competitors know what to expect as spring training, MLB is keeping all the details under wraps to keep an even playing field.
"Nobody has an advantage because no one knows what's going on," said Thompson. "We only know that there's going to be a 60 second elevator speech that we are going to have to give where we say why we want to be in the Fan Cave."
"I would say in terms of my strengths going into spring training is in any type of interview setting whether I am interviewing someone or I am being interviewed by Major League Baseball I am incredibly comfortable in those situations," said Thompson.
"It's hard to know what I am nervous about because I really don't know what they're going to make us do, I don't know what's expected of me," added Thompson. "There's not really much that they could throw at me that I won't be able to do, it will just be whether or not I enjoy it and do well or not."
Thompson, who graduated and now works at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, is one of three St. Louis Cardinals fans named finalists.
"I'm not really thinking about my competition, I want to focus on what I am going to go out there and do because out there in spring training it's not that there will be six to eight winners necessarily it's six, seven or eight that are the best," added Thompson.
Even though it's been a long road of campaigning for the participants, Thompson sticks with his goal of making it to the Fan Cave in New York to report on all 2,450 MLB games this season—something he continues to see as a huge opportunity and dream job come true.
Kyle will spend two days at an undisclosed training camp in Arizona. He will be detailing his competitions and travels via his personal Twitter account @Kyle_D_Thompson.
After training camp, MLB will narrow down the 30 finalists to the final six to eight competitors that will move to New York in hopes of making it all the way through to be crowned this year's MLB Fan Cave winner.
"To be the only representative from the state is great," said Thompson " I hope I can represent them well all the way to New York City."