Whirlwind day of work and play at World Series
Frank Robinson. Hank Aaron. Sharon Robinson. Zooey Deschanel. Matthew Perry.
Yeah, you might say I kept good company this weekend.
On Saturday night, I uttered some of the truest words I've ever said as I drifted off to sleep: "Today has been one of the most exhausting, yet one of the best, days of my life."
It started bright and early, as I arose at 7 a.m. in my Detroit hotel room. My mom and I enjoyed breakfast at the hotel restaurant, where we were treated to delicious omelets and a view of the sunrise over the Detroit River, and beyond it, Windsor, Ontario.
Then I joined my boss and headed over to Wayne State University for the MLB and Boys & Girls Club of America's "Wanna Play?" event. I was whisked off to a small back room, which immediately filled with fellow reporters, camerapeople and Frank Robinson. Robinson, MLB's executive vice president of baseball development, had granted me a one-on-one interview about the event.
Though I had butterflies in my stomach at the prospect of interviewing the hero of my Cincinnati Reds, he quickly put me at ease.
"Take it easy on me," Robinson instructed.
"OK, I'll give you a few changeups," I joked. Or so I thought.
"No, no, no! I could never hit the changeup," Robinson laughed.
In the 15 minutes that followed, I had a slew of interviews: with Sean Casey, MLB Network studio analyst and former Tiger; Frank Sanchez, vice president of sports, entertainment and alumni development for the Boys & Girls Club; and the Boys & Girls Club National Youth of the Year, Trei Dudley. And as I watched the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) participants being put through some fielding drills, I found myself wishing I'd brought my old glove along with me!
Next on my agenda was a reunion with a woman I consider my honorary aunt -- Sharon Robinson. Sharon and I joined Bill Daughtry of ESPN for a radio interview, then it was time for a nap. As I would soon discover, I'd need one!
I met Sharon and Peter Hanhan, my "heir to the throne" and winner of the ninth-grade division of the 2012 Breaking Barriers essay contest, to head to Comerica Park, where we immediately took the field. Joined by Peter's family and MLB Fan Cave Dwellers Ashley Chavez, Kyle Thompson and Ricardo Marquez, we took in batting practice.
We took third-row seats for the news conference presenting Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey with their Hank Aaron Awards (and Cabrera with his Triple Crown). And in one of the highlights of the night, I was able to watch from the field as Peter was officially recognized as the 2012 winner of the Breaking Barriers contest. When Peter's mom began to cry out of pride, and Sharon also lost it, I shed a few tears thinking of the Hanhans' incredible journey from the West Bank of Egypt to the field of Comerica Park.
After a stint in the brisk Detroit cold, I was glad to retreat to the warmth of our party suite.
And a party it was indeed, as I mingled with the Cave Dwellers and my MLB friends. I literally jumped out of my seat upon hearing that Perry was in the suite (yes, I may be 15 years old, but I'm still allowed to love "Friends") and was thrilled to meet Deschanel after her beautiful rendition of the national anthem.
For me, the culmination of the night came during the visit to the Commissioner's suite with Sharon and Peter. I was honored to introduce Peter to Bud Selig, and was constantly reminded of the kindness of my MLB family as Mrs. Selig, feeling the cold of my hands, at once procured Tigers blankets for Peter and I. My friend from earlier in the day, Frank Robinson, however, was less than happy to see me.
"You ripped me during that interview today!" he teased me, a good-natured rib to which Selig replied, "My Meggie wouldn't do that to you!"
Had I ignited a feud between two of the most prolific men in baseball history? Thankfully, no (and I was happy to remind Robinson of my longstanding request to do an extended feature interview with him).
The only thing I didn't get to do Saturday?
Conduct interviews? Nope. Meet celebrities? Nah. Have the time of my life? Definitely not.
No, the only thing I regret is not getting to watch a whole lot of baseball.
Meggie Zahneis, winner of the 2011 Breaking Barriers essay contest, earned the job of youth correspondent for MLB.com in the fall of '11. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.