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Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.

Barry Larkin
White House Tee Ball Commissioner and former Cincinnati Reds Captain

June 24, 2005

White House Tee Ball

Barry Larkin
Hello. It's great to be with you today on "Ask the White House." I look forward to Sunday's tee ball game and look forward to taking your questions.

andrew, from georga writes:
What was the best hit you ever made.

Barry Larkin
My son is sitting here with me and he just told me that it was my first grand slam, which came after almost 6,000 at bats in the major leagues. I would definitely agree!

Daniel, from Great Barrington, MA writes:
What is the difference between tee ball and baseball? An what do you do as "White House Tee Ball Commissioner"?

Barry Larkin
Daniel, Tee Ball is an introductory level form of baseball. The ball is placed on the tee and there is a minimal amount of competition.

The White House Commissioner responsibilities are to promote the game of baseball and good will.

adam, from alabama writes:
what do they do at the White House Tee ball? Does the President hang out here at this place?

Barry Larkin
The Tee Ball game began four years ago at the White House. The President does attend the game, as he will for this Sunday's game.

The President and I will present the players, we will lead the tee ball player's with the Little League Pledge, and we will enjoy the game together with our families.

Kevin, from Washington DC writes:

Barry Larkin
Thank you for your question. The guys are playing very well. There is a lot of excitement around town. I encourage all of the fans to come out and support the team. Try to sit down the third base line, jump up and down and make as much noise as you can--to make the whole stadium rock!

Kirk, from Milwaukee, WI writes:
Barry Larkin: What duties are included in your position of White House Tee Ball Commissioner?

Also, aside from the paychecks, where did you enjoy playing more -- the University of Michigan or the Cincinnati Reds?

Barry Larkin
Kirk, I had a great time at the University of Michigan. We had an opportunity to play in the College World Series for two years, but nothing compares to playing in the World Series in the big leagues.

Jon, from San Diego writes:
Are you friends with President Bush?

Barry Larkin
Jon, I actually met the President a few times at major league sporting events. He is a down to earth guy and a big sports fan! I look forward to hanging out with him on Sunday and watching the game.

Kenneth, from Texas writes:
How did you get to the position of Tee Ball Commissioner?

Barry Larkin
Kenneth, I was asked by the President to act as the Commissioner of Tee Ball. Cal Ripken was the Commissioner for the past four years. It is a great honor to serve as this role and I look forward to it.

David, from Washington, D.C. writes:
The O's and Nats have been a big surprise in the East this year. Do you think either team has a chance at the playoffs?

Barry Larkin
Absolutely! It's all about pitching. The offense is going to carry the teams to late in the season. The team that has the pitching and that will step up late in the season will be the team that plays in the post season. Look for both teams to make moves to help bolster their pitching staff.

Curtis, from Washington, D.C. writes:
Barry, I grew up in Cincinnati most of my life and one of my greatest moments still to this day was watching you and the Reds win the 1990 World Series - I will never forget it You were a terrific role model for kids my age growing up. I wanted to know what you think of the current situation involving steroids in Baseball today in particular the message it is sending to kids, and what you think should be done to safeguard against such performance enhancers. Thanks, and keep up the good work in the community Barry

Barry Larkin
Curtis, I think there should be zero tolerance for steroids in baseball. I think that is the only deterrent to keep players in check. It sends out a terrible message to the kids and hinders the sport.

Billy, from Modesto, Ca. writes:
Good afternoon, Mr. Larkin. Thanks for answering our questions today. I play tee-ball in a league out here in California and am a huge baseball fan How many games do you all have and are they all at the White House? How can I get tickets?

Barry Larkin
Thank you for your question. There are typically 2-3 tee ball games per summer on the White House South Lawn.

This Sunday, there will be several groups of children from local organizations attending the event. They will be enthusiastic and energetic fans and I look forward to seeing them!

John, from Alexandria, Va. writes:
Barry, please sign with the Nationals and replace Cristian Guzman This team could make the playoffs if only they had a major-league quality shortstop.

Barry Larkin
Before Christian Guzman came to the Nationals, he was the starting shortstop for the Minnesota Twins. Minnesota was very successful and won three division titles with him there. Give him some time. There is a big adjustment switching from the American to the National League and going from artificial turf to natural grass. Be patient.

Anthony, from Philadelphia, Pa. writes:
You mentioned "good will" in an earlier question and I think that this is an important point. Pro athletes can serve as terrific role models for kids today. I remember Curt Schilling was quite involved with ALS-Lou Gehrig's Disease reseach when he was here pitching for the Phillies. Do you have any specific causes that you support?

Barry Larkin
Recently I have retired from baseball and I have built a multi-sport teaching facility in Orlando, Florida. It is called "Champions Sports Complex." At the complex we teach the intricacies of different sports: basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, cheerleading, and football. We do a lot of work with underprivileged kids and the youth of America to help them become better players, students, and people.

Moderator's Comment:
To learn more about all the inspiring work Barry has done with kids and various charities, please check out his biography.

Jon, from Cardova writes:
What types of bats are used?

Barry Larkin
Regulation bats and balls are used for the tee ball game.

Pat, from Cincinnati writes:
Mr. Larkin, I'm a big fan and grew up watching you play ball here in the Queen City. We miss you. My question to you is how many former Reds are involved w the Washington Nationals?

Barry Larkin
Washington is basically "Cincinnati East." Myself, Jose Rijo, Hector Carrasco, and Jeffrey Hammonds all played for the Reds. Bob Boone, Jim Bowden, and Jose Cardenal all worked in the front office for the Reds. As you can see, the Nationals have quite a bit of history with the Reds.

Adam, from Milwaukee, WI writes:
Mr. Larkin: I think it is fantastic that you have taken it upon yourself to head such a rewarding and fun activity for children. My question to you is whether you have any children? If so, do you bring them along to participate and help make the White House tee ball game a successful event.

Barry Larkin
Thank you for the question.

As I am reading your question, my kids are also reading your question. I think it is important that they are involved as much as possible. I spent 18 years playing in the big leagues and missed a lot of time with them growing up. In my retirement, I am enjoying every minute with them and definitely not missing out anymore! They are here to participate and watch the game with me but will not be playing.

Barry Larkin
Thank you for your questions. It was fun spending time with you. I look forward to the game on Sunday--but for now, I have to go to work and win a ball game this evening!

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