Thursday, February 16, 2012

Interview: MLB Fan Cave Hopeful, and Mets Fan, Travis Miller

Mets fan, Travis Miller, was kind enough to talk with us about his bid to join the MLB Fan Cave in 2012. The 26-year-old New York native, who now calls Chicago home, is among 50 finalists vying for a spot in the Fan Cave.

If you have not yet seen Miller's audition, here ya go:

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been covering the Cubs and White Sox as a freelancer for the Associated Press for two years. Before that, I wrote on a freelance basis in upstate New York where I grew up. I covered a variety of high school sports for the Poughkeepsie Journal, where I started as an intern. That led to covering Marist College football and men’s and women’s basketball for the AP.

There was not a direct bridge from New York to Chicago, I actually moved to the midwest without a job and sold shoes for four months before scoring the gig covering Major League Baseball. It was a surreal day when I received that phone call.

What is your favorite memory as a Mets fan?

My favorite memory as a Mets fan is Robin Ventura’s grand slam single in Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS against the Braves. Down three games to one, the Mets and Braves were deadlocked at two runs apiece heading into the 15th inning. The Braves scored a run in the top of the frame, and given how they had owned us the entire decade, we appeared dead in the water.

Then the second sweetest swinging Met in history (Johnny O is No. 1 in my book), Robin Ventura, came through with the true first walk-off grand slam in postseason history. Sorry, Nelson Cruz. I’m giving you an asterisk.

Sure, Kenny Rogers drove the nail in the coffin a game later by walking Andruw Jones to send the Braves to the World Series, but I’ll never forget the feeling of pride I had after Game 5. It had been a long time coming for us Mets fans.

Least favorite memory?

So many to choose from! There’s Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, the agonizing months of September 2007 and September 2008…but without any doubt, my least favorite Mets memory is losing the 2000 World Series to the Yankees.

Growing up a Mets fan in the generation I did, it was tough enough to watch the Yankees win all those titles, let alone fall victim to them as they clinch their third straight ring after sneaking into the playoffs with just 87 wins.  I was convinced we would finally take them down and take over New  York – we were the good guys, after all. Roger Clemens’ famous bat throwing incident was just earlier that summer and the Yanks had enlisted the help of all those former Mets (Cone, Gooden, Vizcaino)…

Yep, it still stings.

I know you’re a lifelong Mets fan, but is there one team in particular that you would consider your favorite?

Though the 2000 and 2006 teams had more hype, my favorite Mets team is the 1999 squad, and that's based entirely on infield defense. Up the middle, Edgardo Alfonzo and Rey Ordonez combined to make just nine errors. John  Olerud and Robin Ventura had nine apiece on the corners, and although only Ventura and Ordonez took home gold glove awards, all four were justifiable candidates. 

Al Leiter's gem against the Reds in game 163, Alfonzo's ninth-inning grand slam against the D'Backs in the Division Series...there was nothing not to love about this team. Roger Cedeno also put himself on the map by swiping 66 bags and hitting over .300.

I would have loved to see this team get its shot against the Yankees. 

Why did you decide to audition for the MLB Fan Cave this season?

The idea of watching every single baseball game seems like a challenge that I was meant to take on. I had applied for the Fan Cave last year while I was covering the White Sox at spring training in Arizona, but I was holed up in my little hotel room with a shoddy digital camera, so I really just talked into the camera for two minutes for my audition. After seeing the videos of the two guys who made it into the Cave, I had a much better idea of what they were looking for this year. Applications were also due earlier this time, so spring training wasn’t in the mix yet. I had friends around to bounce ideas off of and help me shoot a more entertaining video.

If you are selected, you will be involved in a reality show-style competition all season long. Are you a fan of reality t.v.? 

I’m selective with my reality TV, but only because I know how addicting it can be. Here goes my random list: I used to watch Real World and Road Rules on MTV back in the day, I watched a season of “Average Joe” my freshman year of college with some of my buddies as a guilty pleasure-type thing. When I was interning at SNY, the Mets TV station, in 2007, my fellow interns and I were obsessed with “Kid Nation,” which only lasted one season and still isn’t available on Netflix…what a shame.

Nowadays I’m a big Jersey Shore enthusiast – still waiting for some story arc where the producers actually do something positive with their platform. Not holding my breath, though. I watched Celebrity Apprentice last season. I saw the cast for this season and I’m fairly certain that was a one time deal.

If you could choose just one Mets player, past or present, to interview in the Fan Cave, who would it be and why?

Nolan Ryan is my favorite player of all-time. He wasn’t incredibly significant with New York, but if I had to choose one former Met to interview in the Cave, it would be him. I used to collect his cards and I probably still have 30 or so in cases at my parents’ house. Before my dreams of going pro died, I wanted to be a pitcher and I wanted to throw 100 miles per hour just like him. The no-hitters, the strikeouts…and he threw over 5,000 career innings! Legendary.

Why should Mets fans vote for you to be in the Fan Cave?

Mets fans should vote for me for the MLB Fan Cave because there may not be a lot to cheer for on the field this season if the stars don’t align, so we should at least come together and celebrate true loyalty – ones who stick by their team through thick and thin. Maybe there will even be a Yankees fan in the Cave with me – I promise to mop the floor with their tears as he or she hides behind those 27 rings. Must be nice.

I live and breathe this game. I learned both love and heartbreak from the New York Mets, and I think any true Mets fan understands that.

Miller has been creating additional videos as he tries to win over voters. Here's one that I think many Mets fans can relate to:

So sad, yet so true.

To vote for Miller, visit the MLB Fan Cave. Voting ends February 22. You can follow Miller on Twitter @AtTravisMiller.


  1. Marist College represent! Great interview, good luck Travis!

  2. Thanks Cindie! You know Marist '08 has TWO in the top 50? Shaun Kippins made it, too!

    ...but vote for me