Q&A with Fortnite Superstar Trevor May

I posted an interview with Twins pitcher Trevor May a few weeks ago. We talked mainly about his lengthy rehab from Tommy John surgery. All of the feedback I got however, was about the video game, Fortnite. I quickly learned that May is one of the world’s most prominent players. And Fornite is a Big Deal.

Since I am not gamer and know nothing about Fortnite, I talked to my friend and golf pro, Aaron, my nephew Austin, among others, and got some background information and a few questions.

Here goes…

DZ: I talked to you a couple weeks ago and I got a lot of feedback from people who were like, “How did you not ask him about Fortnite?” I’m pretty ignorant on video games so, I got some (help with the) questions.

First off, there’s a lot of games out there. What keeps you interested in Fortnite?

MAY: It’s general popularity top to bottom. It’s built to stream around it, kind of community around it. You’ve got a YouTube channel now, so relevant content is important. Things that people care about watching is important.

That’s exciting for me, that makes it even more fun. Because people play the game to try to do things that no one’s done before or try to mess around or try to win a lot or have funny banter. That creates more opportunities for having fun in the game. Right now, I all the guys I like to play with are playing Fortnite.

Then you have the fact that I’m hyper competitive, and it’s like, a really high skill cat game so if you get to a point where you really get all the elements of the game, you can dominate. Running into really good players is really fun, so that and other elements. Just add all those together and it’s just a good time. Every day I play goes by so fast. It’s playing video games at the end of the day.

DZ: I guess there’s season 6 coming out. What are your thoughts on that?

MAY: You know, seasons are like, themed. Season 4 was super heroes and then there’s this in-game event where a rocket took off in the village to kill everybody or not kill everybody, but tried to destroy somewhere. It all happened in real time, we were watching it in a match which was really unprecedented in video games.

(In Season 5), it just rips open in the space time something and they changed the map to where it turned into a desert and there’s ecosystems crossing, that kinds of stuff. And then they call up a bunch of new skins of the characters and purchased in-game stuff so that’s how they make money.

So, season 6 is just gonna be a big new thing of challenges. The challenges are accumulative. Number of kills, experience, and you get special skins for playing a lot. Special in-game stuff so they have really cleverly built system like that, too. Every time a new season comes out everyone’s trying to get the new stuff as fast as humanly possible. If you stream the game, you really wanna get it fast so then you can create the YouTube videos…People see new stuff, whoever hasn’t played in a while will come to you to find it. That’s kinda what happens. I’m not one of those people. People I play with are. That’s why it gets exciting. It’s just fresh. They change up the map a little, there’s usually a new place to land and new unexplored stuff. They take stuff in and out of the game all the time. New guns, new elements of the game to learn how to play. It’s a different game every time. That’s why everybody’s really excited and that happens (September 27).

DZ: So this Ninja guy, I’ve actually heard of him. He’s gotten pretty big. Do you play with him quite a bit? How’d that all start?

MAY: Pretty regularly, yes. One of my friend’s, whose name is TimTheTatMan, he’s another very big Fortnite streamer. One day we were just playing, me and another guy that he used to play Overwatch with, he’s a pro player whose really good at Fortnite. We had three and a group of four and he was like, “Hey you mind if we grab Ninja?” He knows Ninja personally because they both have the same manager. Ninja’s bigger.

Ninja and I have also been on the same stream team for two years with Luminosity Gaming. He used to play Halo for Luminosity and then he just became a streamer. He doesn’t play professionally on stage anymore, but he plays in tournaments remotely. Because he’s him.

So, he said “Oh I know you.” And Tim was like, “He plays major league baseball.” And at that time, he’d just played with Drake and he’d just played with a bunch of rappers and a bunch of other athletes. So, he was kind of in that mode and I think he thought I was going to play on console and I was going to be bad.

We played for a couple hours and I just hung with him. Every time he called someone out, I was right there with him fighting them. I even saved him a couple times. He was like, “You’re actually really good. I thought you were going to be terrible.” Because he just assumed that I didn’t really have time (to play often). But I had Tommy John surgery (on his right elbow), so I’d been practicing for a year.

So yeah. That happened and then, you know, Tyler Blevins. Tyler has his guy that he plays with a lot, Lupa, he’s a pretty good friend. So we’re all kinds of friends with each other and then we’re friends in the game so if we’re online, Ninja hardly grabs me. Usually, his group joins Tim’s group and I’m on Tim’s group.

DZ: Have you ever met (Ninja)?

MAY: I haven’t met him personally. TwitchCon is at the end of next month and all the guys are going to be there.

DZ: Where is that?

MAY: It’s in San Jose, California.

DZ: You did a promotion at Target field (Fortday, September 9), right…Do you put that together?

MAY: I put that together. We had two guys. One’s a big YouTuber named BasicallyIDoWrk and the other guy’s name is Jordan Fisher. He won Season 25 Dancing With The Stars, he’s a big video game guy. He’s a professionally trained dancer. He’s in Hamilton. He’s an actor. He’s in a bunch of ABC shows. I didn’t know he had all those accolades until they said them all when he was throwing the first pitch (at that night’s game).

So he’s an incredible celebrity….He has like 5 million subs. He’s got a fair group following on the video game base. He’s from Tacoma growing up, so we’re the exact same age. We graduated the same year in high school, he’s from Tacoma and I’m from Kelso. So we’re about an hour and a half away from each other and a bunch of guys he went to high school with who were on the baseball team, I played them in the playoffs a few years in a row and beat them. His catcher knew his older sister who went to college and was roommates with my sister. One of his best friend’s from high school’s older sister, roomed with my older sister. That’s a small world.

But yeah, it turns out he lives in Orlando now. Again, he’s in that group with Ninja and all those guy that play.

DZ: Do you think you’re more famous as a baseball player or a Fortnite player?

MAY: Fortnite passed it. Maybe not being seen, I think the real test is gonna be at TwitchCon. I’m gonna go there and I’m gonna probably get noticed quite a bit. Just because I stand out a little bit. I’m a little bit bigger and more athletic than most people. There’s a few guys who are my size but very few. I tower over them…I got noticed a bit last year when I played Player Unknown Battlegrounds. I was just a really small streamer, never really broke a hundred viewers usually. And now I’m, you know, anywhere from 200-500 every day. I play with those guys. I played with Tim all morning and he had 25,000 viewers. All of his stream noticed me.

Now I’ve had my cam up for a long time so people know what I look like. It’ll be weird to be noticed but I got noticed (while rehabbing my elbow) in minor leagues a lot. In the bull pen, little kids would walk by and be like, “Hey man, will you sign my ball? Like, with your twitch handle?” I was like “No,” but that’s hilarious.

DZ: My nephew watches you on YouTube. And he didn’t even know you pitched for the Twins.

MAY: The clubbie with the A’s, his son is like in my stream every day. And he never says anything but he’s like, “My son watches you every day.” I’m like, “What?” And he was too afraid to come say hi in the clubhouse. And I was like, “We’re in a major league clubhouse. Mike Trout is in here like in here ten times a year. And you don’t care at all, but you care that I play Fortnite.”

It’s just where, I mean … I don’t want to say it’s where we’re going, but now the kids who are a bit more into that, they also play sports, or they wouldn’t fit in. The guys who are kinda iffy on sports or really love video games are starting to spill out on video games. I like it. I think it’s great. I just think a lot of people who didn’t have anything as an outlet or something, to be like they’re ashamed of how into games they were; because it was nerdy. Now it’s not nerdy anymore.
So being good at Fornite is like being good at baseball.

DZ: Yeah, I had no idea how big it was. I take golf lessons by with golf pro. Same thing; he was like, “I was just watching him (play Fortnite) before I came out here to give you this lesson.”

MAY: So the other day, we’re in Detroit and the guy who sits in our bullpen is a grounds crew guy and he’s supposed to help do mounds. There’s this drain in the bottom of the little bullpen dugout that overflows all the time and fills up. He has to squeegee it out because it just gets stuck there. It’s a broken pipe that’s been broken for ten years. I think his job, but he was sitting there bored and just watching. And I heard Fornite guns and I’m like, “Are you watching Ninja?” He goes, “Yeah.” And then he came in chatted the other day, and he didn’t talk to me really about it. He goes, “By the way, I’ve been here a lot. I know you play with Ninja all the time. I just didn’t think you wanted to talk about it.”

DZ: So, I was gonna ask you what your off-season plans were. I know you said you’re going to that convention.

MAY: I’m going to that convention. So, my wife and I have come up with a plan.

DZ: How does she feel about the video games?

MAY: At first, she was like (gives disapproving facial expression). But now, it’s important that you have to schedule and structure it right. So, when she does her work during the weekdays, I’m going to stream twice. So, I’m going Fortnite full-time. I’m going to stream 40 hours all week. And just see what happens. Just see what it’s like to be a full-time streamer.

Obviously, I can’t do that during the season, that doesn’t make any sense. But, I want to see what these guys have to do and if I even like it. I finish right when she gets home from work so the evenings can be for us and the weekends I’ll do one in the morning on Saturday before she even gets up. Offday on Sunday, so I’ve just made a second job. But I want to see what happens.

I’m going home October 2nd. I’m starting my stream at 7 AM. 7-11 AM pacific, take three hours off then go 2-6 PM pacific. So, eight hours a day. And see what happens. I have a YouTube editor that watches all that eight hours of content and he chops it up into like, ten-minute videos, and he puts those on YouTube.

DZ: Wow, this thing’s huge. I’ll have to look into it a little more.

MAY: It is. It is.

See more of David Zingler’s 2018 player interviews:
September 10: Jake Cave
September 5: Max Kepler
September 1: Tyler Austin
August 28: Oliver Drake
August 25: Trevor May
July 26: Lindsay Whalen
June 29: Tanisha Wright
June 8: Logan Morrison
June 4: Mitch Garver
April 17: Brian Dozier
April 15: Ryan LaMarre
April 14: Addison Reed
January 27: Chip Lohmiller

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