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McKenry fields students' questions, shares positive message

| Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 7:14 p.m.
Stephanie Hacke | South Hills Record
Stephanie Hacke | South Hills Record
Stephanie Hacke | South Hills Record

They wanted to know the juiciest details: What was his most embarrassing moment? Who is his favorite superhero? Is he used to being followed around by all of these cameras? And does he like that famous Primianti Brothers sandwich?

Yet, Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Michael McKenry said interacting with students and answering their sometimes hard-hitting questions, like “are you married?,” asked by a sweet little girl standing in the front of her fifth-grade class at St. Sylvester School in Brentwood on Tuesday was only part of the fun. McKenry, who was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011, also wanted to share an important message with the students, he said.

“Enjoy life,” he said. “Enjoy everything that you do. Don't take anything for granted.”

St. Sylvester fifth-grader Bailey Golvash was the winner of the Pirates “Take the Fort to School” contest. Her prize was to take McKenry to her classroom on Tuesday morning.

Surrounded by her mother, Mindy, father, Dan, and brother Evan, Bailey stood outside her school anxiously awaiting McKenry's arrival.

It was Mindy that had entered Bailey into an online contest presented by Trib Total Media. She was selected out of more than 3,000 entrants.

“I've never won something like this before. I've won a Chinese auction and stuffed animals, but nothing like this,” Bailey said. “I just love to go to Pirates games all of the time. It's just so much fun.”

Bailey's favorite part of the games are the ice cream, running the bases, fireworks and, of course, a Pirates win.

Students at St. Sylvester grinned as they got autographs from McKenry and learned the answers to their most inquisitive inquiries.

“When you don't have a great game and the sports guys talk about it, does it bother you?” one student asked.

“I don't listen,” McKenry said.

He only pays attention to the positive and doesn't let the negatives bring him down, he said.

And for the record: the most embarrassing moment? Well, there were several, McKenry said, including falling while running the bases. His favorite superhero is Iron Man.

Yes, he's gotten used to the cameras and no, he doesn't like coleslaw, so those tasty Pittsburgh sandwiches are not on his top list.

And yes, ladies, he is married.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or

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