Tribe Fan for Life, Levey Hopes to Advance to MLB Fan Cave
By Laurel Wilder
If there’s one thing an Indians fan knows how to do well, it’s support their team. Through all the heartbreaks and triumphs, Clevelanders possess a loyalty to the Tribe that never seems to falter. And, Tribe fans, Jonathan Levey is looking for you to pass that support onto him.
The 29-year-old Cleveland native and self-proclaimed “biggest Indians fan alive” recently was chosen as one of the top 52 finalists in the MLB Fan Cave 2013 Contest.
Out of the top 52 finalists chosen by MLB, 30 then are selected based on fan votes, the contestant’s ability to garner press and media coverage and MLB’s own opinion of how each contestant has performed in getting him or herself public recognition. These 30 travel to spring training, where they compete in a variety of challenges MLB organizes. MLB then makes the final decision as to which of these contestants are chosen as the final group of official Cave Dwellers. They must choose a minimum of three fans to be part of the MLB Fan Cave; last year’s group consisted of nine individuals. Eventually, MLB recognizes a winner at the end of the 2013 baseball season based on performance and participation as a Cave Dweller.
“I was definitely happy that I made it,” Levey said of his acceptance into the group of finalists. “I was very set from the beginning that my goal was to make the top 50.”
According to MLB.com’s press release, the top candidates were chosen from a pool of thousands of entries. Each applicant submited writing samples, their photo and resume, and an original video to be considered to “live the dream baseball experience during the 2013 MLB season.”
For Levey’s original video, he took the idea of a “dream” baseball experience to the next level. The video opens with Levey in a personalized Indians jersey and sporting a Rick Vaughn haircut straight out of “Major League.” A voiceover informs viewers that Levey is pitching for a World Series win for the Indians. The outcome of the game is never known, however, as Levey is rudely awakened from his dream by none other than Indians’ mascot Slider.
“I was out to lunch with some coworkers back in November, and I talked to them about my ideas and we sort of bounced ideas off each other,” Levey said about the development of his video concept.
“I knew I was limited,” he said. “I knew right away I didn’t want to do the standard webcam video; I wanted something that would tell the story, that would make it entertaining. I wanted to come up with an idea that was definitely interesting and memorable. I knew I was limited in space; I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to film downtown at Progressive Field, so in order to recreate my own little ‘Fan Cave,’ I decided to do it this way.”
The video continues with Levey talking to Slider and telling the story of his Indians fandom. This is where is becomes obvious that Levey isn’t your average baseball fan.
His dad took him to his first Indians game when he was 3 years old, and his passion for the Tribe has not faded since. Levey attended Game 3 of the 1997 World Series with his grandfather, and was in attendance at all three home games of the 2007 ALCS. During his senior year of high school in 2002, Levey spent a month and half interviewing and working on his senior project with the Indians scouting department. During college (Levey attended Indiana University Bloomington), he interned with the Lake County Captains for two summers, and the organization hired him after his graduation in 2006.
With the Captains, Levey worked his way up through the organization in various sales and marketing roles to eventually become the director of promotions, a position which he held during the 2009/2010 seasons.
Levey’s experience with the Captains also allowed him to make several important connections that appear in his video. Craig Deas, the voice of the Captains, provides the opening voiceover, and Levey was able to snag Slider because of his involvement in Cleveland baseball.
“I was able to get Slider because he’s a friend from my past. I worked for the Lake County Captains for seven years, so I’m close with Slider and all the mascots of Cleveland sports,” Levey said.
“I’m probably one of the only MLB Fan Cave finalists that actually had a career in minor league baseball,” he said. However, Levey left the sports industry in 2010 and now works as an online marketing professional. His enthusiasm for baseball, though, remains as strong as ever.
“The reason I applied for the Fan Cave was because I have always been a passionate fan of baseball, been a loyal Indians fan my entire life and I saw this as an opportunity to get back into baseball,” Levey said.
Though he might physically be out of baseball, Levey’s mind never left the game or his beloved team.
“I’ve always been a loyal fan, always know who the starting players are on the roster,” Levey said. On the current roster, Levey is a fan of Jason Kipnis.
His favorite player growing up was Roberto Alomar, and in Summer 2011, Levey and his cousin drove to Toronto to attend Alomar’s Blue Jays’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which Levey described as a great thing to be able to attend.
Other Tribe memories that stand out to Levey are the “amazing comeback in August 2001, when the Indians came back to beat the Seattle Mariners,” and being in attendance at the 2011 game during which Jim Thome hit a homerun on his 40th birthday.
Like any true Cleveland fan, though, Levey remembers a few sadder games as well.
“The ’97 World Series, Game 7. We were two outs away from winning,” Levey said without hesitation when asked which of his Indians’ memories is the most heartbreaking. “The second most heartbreaking, I would have to go with the 2007 ALCS.”
But, win or lose, Levey enjoys every minute he spends watching his favorite team. “Every time I go to an Indians game, it’s a memorable event.”
Levey’s steadfast love for the Indians is the main reason he thinks fans should vote for him in the MLB Fan Cave Contest.
“Now that everyone knows how passionate I am, as an Indians fan and a Cleveland sports fan, they know my personality and how it would be a dream come true to be in the Fan Cave,” Levey said.
“People should vote for me because I’m a fellow Clevelander and I’m the most loyal Indians fan. It’s a dream of an opportunity to be in the MLB Fan Cave and to represent the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland Indians.”
With your votes, hopefully this will be a dream that Levey won’t have to wake up from any time soon.
Video: MLB Fan Cave