07/10/12 8:15 PM ET
My day shadowing Commissioner Selig
By Meggie Zahneis / MLB.com
Not for this reporter.
I spent the better portion of the day riding Commissioner Bud Selig's coattails as he moved through one busy day.
Selig kicked off his day with an appearance at a 10:30 a.m. press conference for Operation Breakthrough, a program aiming to take care of inner-city kids while their parents are at work.
I joined him at his next stop, a Town Hall meeting hosted by MLB.com at FanFest. Selig was posed questions submitted by fans across the country on a variety of topics, from the World Baseball Classic to Chipper Jones. One fan even raised the question of having an All-Star Game "across the pond" in London.
That was where I came in. After Selig had answered the Internet-submitted questions, he was to take several more from the audience. My editor informed me that mine would be the first.
"OK, no problem," I told him. "What's the topic?"
"There is no topic," he replied.
After overcoming the initial overwhelming feeling of being able to ask the Commissioner of Major League Baseball any question in the world, I decided on one.
When it was time, I was shown to a spot with an MLB.com backdrop and a duct-taped square on the floor where I was to stand.
Before I knew it, a microphone was in my face. I asked the question I had chosen: What is Selig's favorite part of the All-Star festivities?
"I love it all," Selig said, "because I love the history and tradition of the game, and when you watch the game, it brings back so many great memories.
"My first All-Star Game was 1950 in Chicago's Comiskey Park. Ted Williams broke his elbow in the first inning and continued to play, which was a great testament to his ability. There are so many wonderful All-Star memories. When you have a great game like this, you see all the great players back -- Hank Aaron is here, I saw George Brett this morning, Frank Robinson, you can go on and on -- they were great All-Stars and they played in a lot of games. This is the Midsummer Classic, and this is a celebration of this sport's history and its tradition."
Selig was escorted to his next destination, the SiriusXM Radio booth -- where he would be interviewed by Cal and Billy Ripken -- but not before stopping to sign countless autographs. Selig's security detail laughingly divulged that its charge is never on schedule, on account of his stopping to greet his many fans.
From there, it was on to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, where Selig would be given a tour by Bob Kendrick, the museum's president and caretaker. I was astonished to find that we were accompanied by a motorcade!
The Museum tour was swift, and I found myself wishing there was more time to take in all the exhibits and information that the knowledgeable Kendrick was sharing. Nevertheless, I enjoyed myself -- and so did Selig.
"Your passion and knowledge of this game is inspiring," Selig told his tour guide, thanking Kendrick for his "commitment to this very important part of baseball history."
Joining Selig for a photo at the conclusion of the tour were select participants of MLB's RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) initiative. The yellow-shirted ballplayers sported wide grins as they were enveloped in Selig's presence.
Everyone walked across the street to the historic Gem Theater, where Selig's addressed the RBI members. After short intros by Kendrick and Tom Brasuell, MLB's vice president of Community Affairs, Selig took the podium.
"I'm so pleased to be here with all of you. It's wonderful to see so many young, eager fans, eager to learn about an important part of baseball -- the Negro Leagues," he said. "Some of baseball's greatest players started in the Negro Leagues. You might have heard about Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson, whose first professional home was right here in Kansas City. These players paved the way for players today like Matt Kemp, Curtis Granderson, Andruw Jones and Prince Fielder.
"As young ballplayers and fans, you are the future of our great game," Selig concluded.
And then, for the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, it was off to yet another event.
Just a typical day.
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.