07/10/12 11:07 PM ET
For everyone attending, FanFest a home run
By Meggie Zahneis / MLB.com
That much was evident as soon as you walk through the door and are handed the complimentary plastic bag, complete with a program and map -- and you will need it!
By the time fans left Bartle Hall, their maps were surely well-worn: They were required to navigate the multitude of exhibits on display.
For the younger crowd, there was "The Diamond," a miniature field set up smack in the middle of FanFest. Daily clinics featured stars of both the past and the present. There were also batting cages, speed-pitch booths, and an exhibit that allowed fans to simulate a basestealing play by one of their favorite players.
Older fans no doubt enjoyed seeing some of the greats at FanFest, from Gaylord Perry holding court in the All-Star clubhouse to Ferguson Jenkins signing autographs.
For the baseball mavens, there was memorabilia aplenty. You could find just about anything baseball-related, from collectible pins to a vast array of autographed baseballs, the classic baseball card, bats, hats, jerseys, or even a retro ad featuring Babe Ruth.
For the casual fan, there were many other attractions scattered throughout FanFest. Milling around, they would come across a traveling selection of items straight from the Baseball Hall of Fame, a homage to the Negro Leagues (Kansas City is also the home of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum), impressive displays on the 2013 World Baseball Classic and Minor League Baseball (featuring a hat from every single farm team), and the World's Largest Baseball, which also happens to be signed by the likes of Hank Aaron, among many others.
It's safe to say that no matter your level of interest or what team you root for, FanFest was a home run.
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.