It’s a sad day in BBQLand.
MLB announced this morning that they plan to shut down the MLB Fan Cave. It’s currently unclear exactly what they plan to do with the physical space as well as the over 500,000 Twitter followers, but for us here at the Cespedes Family Barbecue the news is most certainly sad. We were lucky enough to spend a fair amount of time at the Cave this past summer and while we were impressed with the awesomeness of the actual facility, what really struck us was the depth and breadth of creative content the people over there had created.
We don’t know why the Fan Cave is ceasing operations, and we might never know, but I think it’s important to recognize some of the amazing content those behind the scenes were able to create. So here are a few of my favorite videos/vines/whatever that they developed over the past four years.
Vlad Guerrero/50 Cent
https://vine.co/v/MptdYeqY3Ep/embed/simplehttps://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.jsThis is arguably the best baseball-related thing of all time. If I could either watch this or Barry Bonds for the rest of my life, I’d probably pick Barry Bonds highlights, but it’s really, really close. This Vine captures what really set the Fan Cave content apart: it had a perfect combination of the ideas, resources, and abilities needed to achieve a vine as perfect and as beautiful as this one.
Chase Utley Always Sunny
I still think about whether or not Chase Utley actually watches the show or if the people at the Fan Cave had to sit him down and make him watch Charlie and Frank fighting over a dog painting that Hitler may or may not have made (I know it’s not the same episode).
Puig Through A Wall
This is at least 70-grade video editing. People always say Yasiel Puig plays like he’s gonna run through a wall. Well… here you go.
How Many Altuves
For those of you unfamiliar with Jose Altuve, he is short. For those of you familiar with the website How Many Altuves, it’s amazing. The Cave actually got Altuve to use Altuves as a ruler. Who knows, maybe we’ll all be measuring in Altuves in a few years.
Cespedes Family BBQ Slide Bat Flip
Dempster/Holland Harry Caray
Just watch and laugh. If you don’t laugh, that’s ok too. The funniest thing about this video might be that Ryan Dempster is on the Rangers.
Cespedes Magic https://vine.co/v/MYYZYLznbXM/embed/simple
We love Yoenis to the moon and back. This Fan Cave Vine was able to artistically manifest that love. A friend who appreciates Yoenis like us is a friend indeed.
Obviously not all the content was great. While the traditional Fan Cave never felt forced, last year’s Off The Bat show had all the awkwardness of a Joe Lieberman stand up show. In trying to synthesize pop culture and baseball it feels like MLB just lazily threw some C-List celebrities on a set and told them to talk about baseball. That’s like trying to make Sprite by squeezing some limes and lemons together into a glass with some ice. Yes, the MTV show with Fat Joe and his friends was painful, but it’s clear that the forces behind that show were not the same as those behind all the other more impactful content.
For me and many others the Cave was never about the dwellers, or the physical space, or the MTV show. I loved the entire project because its videos made me laugh, simple as that. Fans like me love seeing the real personalities of MLBers and the Fan Cave’s videos gave us a small glimpse into that world.
The enormous following that the Fan Cave was able to generate reenforces the fact that a new generation of fans are willing to interact with the game. Sure it was just a social media project, but the Fan Cave has played at least a small role in spreading baseball’s appeal to a different audience. Baseball has repeatedly stated that it is trying hard to appeal to a younger demographic, but isn’t that exactly what the Fan Cave was doing?
Time will tell how exactly MLB decides to rework it social media approach, but we think that replacing a project as successful, unique, and interactive as the Fan Cave will take some time.
Rest easy, my dear Cave. Do not go gentle into that goodnight.