Today’s Matt’s Bats Chat is with the incredible 16-year old Meggie Zahneis, MLB’s Youth Correspondent and winner of the 2011 Breaking Barriers essay contest sponsored by Major League Baseball and Scholastic. She writes a column for MLB, which you can read HERE. Meggie is a huge Cincinnati Reds fan. She has met lots of players and other celebrities and has reported for MLB from the World Series and the All Star Game.
Off the field Meggie is really remarkable too. As she explains in the interview, she was born with a extremely rare medical condition that only 50 people in the world have. She showed that even when you are thrown a curveball, with a lot of natural talent, hard work and good luck you can still smack it out of the park. Meggie has been a good friend to me and supporter of MattsBats.com, so I am happy to introduce her to Nats Town. Make sure you read her columns on www.MLB.com/meggie and follow her on Twitter @MeggieZahneis.
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MZ: First of all, it’s hard not to be starstruck. But my job is to be professional and not seem biased. I try to ask them questions that other reporters wouldn’t ask. I ask them about what they do off the field and what goes through their head in certain situations. I ask them things that other kids– and adults–would be interested in and what other people are probably wondering about.
MB: Do you want to be a journalist when you grow up?
MZ: I do. I would like to be a sports journalist. But I am also interested in psychology. Whatever I do, I want to do something involving writing.
MB: Do any of the famous people you’ve met follow you on Twitter?
MZ: One of the first people was Brandon Phillips. He’s big on Twitter.
MB: I follow him!
MZ: A few others famous people follow me too. A bunch of the players tweet to me when I post an interview with them. I have a couple of broadcasters following me too, like John Kruk.
MB: Lots of Nats fans follow me, including a few of the Nats players. I bet if they read this, they’ll follow you too!
MZ: I have a pretty decent collection from collecting almost 10 years. I really can’t pick one. I have a picture signed by the members of The Big Red Machine and a collection of bats and autographed baseballs. One of my favorite items is one of the jerseys the Reds wore on Jackie Robinson Day that is signed by all the members of the 2012 Reds. It’s significant to me because I got the Youth Correspondent job because of my Jackie Robinson essay.
Also, I have 2 seats from the old Yankees Stadium. That was a Christmas present from Bud Selig.
MB: I have a small collection too. The highlights of my collection is a Stephen Strasburg autograph, a Bryce Harper autograph, a game-used bat that former Nat Willie Harris gave to me, and a picture signed by Mickey Mantle that is really my dad’s. You’ll also be interested in this– I have a ball signed by Johnny Bench. That’s also from my dad’s collection when he was younger.
MZ: Cool. I have one of those too. Tell your dad he’s the best catcher in baseball history.
MB: You may be right, but I also like Pudge Rodriguez.
If you could interview anyone in the world, who would you want to interview? It can be baseball-related or not, and anyone living or dead.
MZ: If I could interview Jackie Robinson, I would. I know his daughter Sharon, and I appreciate his legacy.
If I could pick someone from history not baseball-related, I would pick Mahatma Ghandi. Both Mahatma Ghandi and Jackie Robinson are similar because they led whole groups of people to stand up against bullying and discrimination. Lots of naysayers did not think they could do what they did. They both made significant accomplishments in history without fighting back. Ghandi led a peace movement without shooting a gun or punching anyone. Same with Jackie Robinson. I really admire both of them. The only thing that would be tough is that I don’t know if Mahatma Ghandi spoke English.
MB: I know you’ve gotten to meet a lot of celebrities, but how many ballparks have you been to? Any favorites?
|Meggie interviewing Joey Votto|
MB: Talking baseball, how do you think your hometown Reds will do this year? What about my hometown Nationals? Who do you think is going to the World Series, and who will win?
MB: There is interleague play every month now. Do you think this will affect the standings or how do you think fans will like it?
|Meggie with 2011 Cy Young winner and MVP Justin Verlander|
MZ: I think fans will love it. I know I do. It’s neat to see teams and players you wouldn’t normally. I think the players like it, too. I remember talking to Justin Verlander last season when the Tigers came to Cincinnati and he was trying to get his first big league hit, since he never gets to bat in the American League.
MB: OK, if you had to give a title to the 2012 season, what would you call it?
MZ: I wrote a column for MLB about the Reds season right after they lost the NLDS. That was painful.
MB: Oh I know about painful! The Nats’ loss in the NLDS against the Cardinals was really painful! It was the first time the Nats franchise was in the playoffs and we were so close!
MZ: I know. I called my Reds column “Year That Begins With Promise Ends With Disappointment.” (You can read it HERE).
MB: Here’s a question for you: the Nats players have songs they play when they walk up to bat. What would your walk-up song be?
MZ: Wow! That’s a great question. I never thought about that. I guess my favorite song now is Daylight by Maroon 5. So that’s what I’d pick.
MB: Thanks, Meggie! I really enjoyed talking to you. I hope to see you in DC soon– like when you’re here covering the Nats in the 2013 World Series!
|Meggie with Nationals ace and 2012 Cy Young contender, Gio Gonzalez|
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