When he was growing up back East, Roland Green was a Red Sox fan, but he switched leagues and allegiances to the Rockies when he moved to Denver. Probably a bad decision if Green was interested in rooting for a winner, but throwing out the first pitch in a World Series game may be a good consolation prize.
Green, who also happens to be the distribution manager here at Westword, is one of four finalists in the Pepsi Max "Field of Dreams" Sweepstakes -- out of the 2.5 million people who entered. "The prize is to throw out the first pitch of the first game of the World Series, and play a baseball game against eleven Major League Hall of Famers," he says.
In order to win, Green needs to acquire the most votes online at www.mlb.com/pepsimax.
Robbie Tran, manager of sports marketing for Pepsi, provides the back-story:
"We kicked off an All-Star game this year [with the sweepstakes]. And the idea is, 'If you build it, they will come.' So we had fans go online to build their Field of Dreams Team, of which we had thirty nominees: three players per position. And every time you entered, you entered for the chance to bring the team to your town," she says.
"So last week we unveiled the final winning Field of Dreams Team, which includes eleven All-Stars, across all positions. And now we have four finalists, one in each region of the country, and the finalists are competing against each other to bring the team to their home town. So starting September 14 you can go online to vote for Roland ... to bring the team to your town."
Could this, like the Kevin Costner movie, be a dream come true for Green?
"Oh yeah, you could say that," Green says. "I'm excited. Just throwing out the first pitch is a dream come true in itself, and then playing with major leaguers just blows me away. [Baseball] means everything to me. I was born and raised a Red Sox fan when I lived back East, and when I came out here I switched alliances to the Rockies. With them having such a sucky season this year, I'm psyched to get a chance to enjoy baseball again."
"The game's going to be a big deal," says Tran. "If Roland wins, it will be played in Denver. Tickets will be either given away or sold. It's going to be thousands of people -- a really big event -- so it's not just for him and his ten friends; it's really for the city of Denver."
The videos of the four finalists will be posted on www.mlb.com/pepsimax Thursday, September 15. Also, you can tune in to ESPN at 8:30 p.m. mountain time on September 25 for a show featuring the Field of Dreams Team and all four finalists.
Here's the roster for Green's Hall of Fame team, which his own team will face on a ball field in Denver if he wins:
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Catcher - Johnny Bench First Base - Frank Thomas Second Base - Rod Carew Third Base - Mike Schmidt Short Stop - Cal Ripken, Jr. Outfield - Reggie Jackson Outfield - Tony Gwynn Outfield - Ken Griffey, Jr. Designated Hitter - Edgar Martinez Pitcher - Randy Johnson Pitcher - Dennis Eckersley
So come on, Denver -- let's play ball!