Scottsdale, Ariz. -- Spring training isn't just that time of year when ballplayers discuss how they're in the best shape of their lives, or use clichés to smooth anxieties about making a 25-man roster. For many players, like Colorado Rockies prospect Ryan McMahon, it's also the time of year to keep things light away from the field and balance the stress of baseball.
For McMahon, that means watching The Bachelor, ABC's popular reality show pitting several dozen women against each other in competition to win the love of one man. And for McMahon on this season of the show, that means sticking with his initial choice to win, a Texas-based commercial real estate developer named JoJo Fletcher who now finds herself one of the final two contestants up for Ben Higgins' love ahead of the season finale next Monday.
"She’s gorgeous, and she has a cool personality, and I just picked her from the start," McMahon told Purple Row about JoJo, his choice to win this season's competition ahead of the other finalist Lauren Bushnell, a flight attendant from Los Angeles. "Really, I’ve just been sticking with my pick from the beginning."
Loyalty to his girl may be a testament to McMahon's personality, but in another week—the season's final episode will be next Monday, after the Women Tell All special airs this evening—the third base prospect may end up on the wrong end of the competition.
"I don’t know, that ‘I love you’ to Lauren B. was pretty passionate," McMahon mused in the Rockies' Scottsdale clubhouse with relief pitcher Justin Miller looking on. "While that one to JoJo was just kind of like, ‘Yeah, JoJo I love you, too.’ So, I want JoJo to win, but I really think Lauren B. is going to take it home. [Lauren] has been the frontrunner the whole time."
Lest you think McMahon is taking the show too seriously, he claims he only decided to get into the show alongside housemates Trevor Story, Tyler Chatwood, and David Dahl when the four were searching for a diversion over the winter.
"We were really just bored at our house and we decided we’re gonna watch The Bachelor, we’re gonna watch it all the way through," McMahon remembered, "so we started doing that, and it just went from there, and I just decided that I was gonna start tweeting about it."
Chris Forbes, the Rockies' manager of player development, is hesitant to let McMahon off the hook with a story as casual as being "bored" enough to watch the show.
"That’s one of his go-tos, you know, and sometimes I don’t ask," Forbes said, chuckling at McMahon's television preferences. "My wife roped me into the show at one point too, and tried to say it was our thing, but no, it was definitely her thing."
It's not just The Bachelor that McMahon and his ballplayer roommates have in common, though. Earlier this year, we spoke to the third baseman about the dynamic in the players' house, and he was quick to note the competitiveness that will likely serve all four well on the field.
"We all push each other at the field in everything we do, whether it's hitting, fielding, lifting, agilities," McMahon told Purple Row at the time. "Anything we do we want to do better than the other, so it's created a competitive work environment that has made us all better. In the end, we are all rooting for each other, but I know I personally don't like losing to any of them."
In a week, Lauren and JoJo will know exactly how McMahon feels.