Ever since she can remember, MLB Fan Cave hopeful April Whitzman has been unconditionally supporting her beloved Blue Jays.
This spring, the tables have turned with the Jays now in full support of Whitzman, who was recently named one of 30 Fan Cave finalists. Whitzman, along with the other candidates, was invited to Arizona this week for Spring Training to further audition for the Fan Cave -- but not before the Blue Jays sent her off in style.
Whitzman, who founded a website focused on Jays prospects and currently works as a public relations consultant, was instructed to go to the Jays team store at a specific time before her departure. Upon arrival, Whitzman was greeted with some parting gifts courtesy of the Blue Jays.
"They've been totally behind me and supporting my quest and my dreams in baseball," Whitzman said of the organization. "They contacted me and were like 'We'd like to support you further, head on down to the Jays shop at such and such time' and they gave me a track jacket and a jersey of my favorite player, Brandon Morrow. It just got me even more excited for this whole experience."
The experience started with a submission video in which Whitzman calls out her favorite player. In the two-minute video, Whitzman declares she can throw more "strikes" than Morrow before rolling three consecutive strikes at a bowling alley.
Ironically enough, after days of interviewing players, singing karaoke and compiling videos, the Fan Cave event scheduled for the group's final night in Arizona on Wednesday is a night of bowling. Whitzman admitted she feels some extra pressure to beat her fellow competitors Wednesday night, but in a way she's felt that pressure all week.
After all, Whitzman is the lone Canadian finalist and would be the first Canadian representative in the Fan Cave. Her native country has become almost an identity for the North York, Ontario, resident this week and it's something Whitzman embraces.
"I feel like I'm representing not just a team, but an entire country here," Whitzman said. "I've got my Canada jersey -- the red jersey that the Blue Jays wear -- and I've been just trying to represent Canada to the best of my ability."
Regardless of the competition, both at the alley and for a spot in the Fan Cave, Whitzman said the 30 finalists have formed a tight bond this week over their common love for the sport. The final list of 2013 MLB Fan Cave Dwellers is expected to be announced near the end of next week.
For now, Whitzman will simply continue to enjoy the experience, as well as the support of the team she has pledged her allegiance to her entire life.
"A couple weeks ago at the Jays' State of the Franchise event, I spoke to [manager] John Gibbons and [general manager] Alex Anthopoulos, and they're seriously behind me. There's no better feeling than that," Whitzman said. "I would be blessed to be the first Canadian in the Fan Cave, but I know that without all the support the Blue Jays have given me, I wouldn't have even been able to make it this far."