Die-hard Dodger fan Aaron Roberts did what he had to in order to secure a spot in the Major League Baseball Fan Cave this season.
He made promotional videos, stayed active on social media, wrote an essay and interviewed third baseman Adam Kennedy (who played for the Dodgers and the Angels' World Series team) to stay alive in the MLB contest.
But the 28-year-old Huntington Beach resident knew that he needed to step it up a notch to stand out from the 25,000 other contestants hoping to win a spot in the MLB Fan Cave, a building in New York where select baseball fans are asked to watch and blog about every game of the season.
"One of the videos was me riding around Los Angeles on my Harley Davidson with a Dodger cape," Roberts said by telephone. "I made a Dodger cape for my initial application video, and that became the central point of my campaign: Get the cape in the cave."
And just like Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, when the Dodgers defeated the Oakland A's when an injured Gibson hit a walk-off homerun, Roberts hit a game-winning home run with the MLB and landed a spot in its Fan Cave for an entire season.
He is now in New York in a room with eight other "cave dwellers" from across the country. MLB executives gave the group a few simple tasks: Watch every game and connect with fans.
"I just sit on the couch, watch games, blog about it and tweet about it, and it is incredible," Roberts said. "It's an unreal experience. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it."
The Fan Cave, now in its third year, is an effort to connect with baseball fans by using social media, MLB spokesman Matt Bourne.
"We were watching the growing significance and importance of social media for our fans and how they were consuming information and entertainment," he said. "We talked about how can we give our fans what they want through social media but do it in a unique way. And after some brainstorming, we came up with the MLB Fan Cave."
Professional baseball calls it "a dream job."
Three floors of the former Tower Records building in Greenwhich Village were converted to accommodate more than 50 TVs, pingpong and pool tables, various gaming consoles and a performance stage where artists like Afrojack and OneRepublic perform live mini-concerts, Bourne said.
"We got to watch all of opening day," Roberts said about his first few days in the Fan Cave. "I got to see Dodgers do absolutely historical things. [Clayton] Kershaw was amazing. And then I got to watch (DJ) Afrojack with a couple hundred people here to watch him and it was insane. It's one of the better experiences in my life."
Orange County is known for the Angels, but Roberts, who grew up in Lancaster, brought his love of the Dodgers to Huntington.
"I will have to give credit to the Angels fans here," he said. "Yeah, there's obviously jabs and digs, but everybody is always super cool. I've never had an experience where the other fan is a jerk."
Roberts said he's also dating an Angel fan, but they make it work.
Two weeks in the regular season have already passed, but hundreds of games still lay ahead.
"I still have to remind myself of where I am, and remind myself to be grateful for what I'm doing," Roberts said. "I'm not on some roof swinging a hammer and doing construction. I'm living, essentially, what I would call a dream job. I'm sitting here watching baseball all day with eight other people who do the same and love baseball."
You can follow Roberts on Twitter: @bertsball.