Michael Bolling

While the Guerin College Prep High School freshman basketball team worked on their homework, their coach, Michael Bolling ’12, was surfing the Internet and checking social media. It was “a stroke of luck” that he saw the link for the MLB Fan Cave Dwellers application on Facebook. After writing a brief, 50-word essay, Bolling continued through the interview process and was one of eight chosen to be a Cave Dweller. With his love of baseball, his experience as a collegiate and Frontier League baseball player and his degree in Multimedia Journalism from Lewis, he was the perfect candidate for the MLB Fan Cave.

Bolling, a Chicago Cubs fan, has loved baseball ever since he was a little boy. He started playing at age four because of his mother, Maura, who’s from the Dominican Republic and knew family members of Sammy Sosa.

“She said, ‘It’s Cubs or nothing,’” Bolling remembers with a big smile. Although Bolling’s father, Darius, is a Chicago White Sox fan, Bolling continued to root for the Northsiders and for the player that made him most excited about baseball.

“Sosa got me excited about baseball because he was an outfielder, too, and was hitting the ball all over the yard,” he said. Bolling has been an outfielder since he was 11 years old and recalls what his coach told him about deciding to place him there. “You don’t have an arm to pitch or catch, and you’re too fast to play infield,” his coach said.

Bolling played baseball throughout high school. When it was time to go to college, he went to Triton College to play. (Coincidentally, that’s also where another one of Bolling’s favorite baseball players, the late Kirby Puckett, went to school and played baseball for two years.) During his sophomore year at Triton, Lewis’ Coach Tim McDonough went to see Bolling play.

“‘We don’t have tons of scholarship money to give you, but we want you to be a part of Lewis’ baseball program,’” Bolling recalls McDonough saying to him. Bolling happily transferred to Lewis University for his junior year. He was familiar with Lewis because he had visited the Romeoville campus with friends who went there and the location allowed his family to watch him play baseball.

Among his many accomplishments at Lewis University include leading the GLVC in stolen bases in 2011 (31) and 2012 (34), leading the team in runs scored in 2011 (37) and being selected to the All-GLVC First Team in 2012.

Academically, Bolling was a Broadcast Journalism major but then switched to Multimedia Journalism in 2011. He speaks fondly of his teachers in the Journalism department and the hands-on instruction he received.

“I liked the small school atmosphere,” Bolling says. “I didn’t want to be a number. I wanted to be someone people knew.” After graduating from Lewis, Michael continued his baseball career. He played in a winter league in Palm Springs, signing with the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League, but was released after

Spring Training. Although it was a hard learning experience, Bolling continued to play. A coach noticed him, and Bolling ended up finishing the summer league on the Frontier Greys out of Sauget, Ill.

Bolling landed a job as a baseball video evaluator at the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NSCA), which helps student athletes and their parents navigate their way through the college recruitment process. Asa baseball video evaluator, Bolling edits the highlight tapes for high school athletes which get sent to colleges and universities in the hopes of earning these athletes scholarships and the opportunity to play collegiately. For Bolling, his job at NSCA is important because his work is about “giving back” to other athletes who were in his position.
At the MLB Fan Cave, he is using Twitter, Instagram and Vine to respond to baseball fans who constantly tweet. “I’m interacting with fans 
through social media. That’s my job! If I could do this job for the rest of my life, I’d be happy.”

According to an MLB Press Release, “The MLB Fan Cave is a unique event space at 4th Street and Broadway in New York City’s Greenwich Village, mixing baseball with music, popular culture, media, interactive technology and art. In addition to watching every single MLB game each day, the Cave Dwellers will create a steady stream of digital content while interacting with MLB players and celebrities and chronicling their experiences in the MLB Fan Cave through social media.”

Another part of his job is occasionally writing what’s trending in baseball on the MLB Fan Cave Blog, which has included a compilation of his All-Wrigley Team in celebration of Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday and his memory of the 2008 Cubs Opening Day in a Cave Dwellers’ Favorite Opening Day Moments blog post. Bolling also participates in the taping of the show Off the Bat on Mondays, which airs on Tuesday evenings on MTV 2.

Being an MLB Fan Cave Dweller is just the latest chapter in Bolling’s baseball career, and he acknowledges that without Lewis University and the friendships he’s made, it might not have been possible. “I am here because of Lewis. The one-on-one time is where I got my knowledge. I have to thank Lewis. My experience was unbelievable. I met guys and girls who will be friends for the rest of my life. The relationships I made while at Lewis were very important to me because they helped me continue to be myself! My friends at Lewis made it easy for me to do things well because they accepted me for who I am.

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