Meggie Zahneis: What's your favorite part of Marlins Park?
Giancarlo Stanton: The dome, being in a controlled environment. Not having to worry about rainouts, having to wear three different jerseys in the game, and starting the game on time.
Zahneis: What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of being a professional baseball player?
Stanton: I do what I love every day. If there's anything not to like, it's being away from your friends and family for so long. But, at the same time, it's fun for them to come to new cities that they've never seen. There's not much you can complain about -- you're a Major League Baseball player, you're getting paid to play a game. People want to be you, wish they could do what you do. There are some complaints here and there, but there really aren't any significant ones.
Zahneis: When did you first know you wanted to play professionally?
Stanton: When I was 10 or 11. I remember I was on the Cardinals, I was No. 25, I was on first base. I always tried to be Mark McGwire and hit homers like he did. I was kind of following his race, too, when he was trying to break the record.
Zahneis: What were some of the most important lessons you have learned from playing baseball?
Stanton: Not to think too much, not to jump to conclusions too much. It's a failure game; you fail the majority of the time -- more than you are technically successful. Just patience -- it's always a thing that you battle with and something you need to learn, but it will come.
Zahneis: What are the biggest obstacles you'll face this year?
Stanton: My Spring Training was cut short with injuries, so [to] maintain my body, as well as performance, would probably be the toughest thing. And to have patience, and a better mindset to go along with it.
Zahneis: What are your hobbies outside of baseball?
Stanton: I don't have too many. I just like to rest and relax and catch up with friends when I'm not at the ballpark. We are here 8-10 hours a day, so there isn't much of a gap to do other things. I like history and animals and things like that, too.
Zahneis: You're a pretty big Twitter user. What's that been like for you?
Stanton: I like to connect with fans, usually positive stuff. If there is negative stuff, you just look past it and talk to the people that appreciate you. You can make a lot of people's day -- or even their week -- with just a 10-second response and an "Enter." It's always cool if you're bored, or having a good or bad day, to catch up with fans on Twitter.
Zahneis: What advice would you give to kids about playing baseball?
Stanton: Don't give up, keep your head up. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs, because it is a failure sport. It's a long process through the Minors. You have to go through a lot of levels, through a lot of hot cities and cities with nothing to do, as well, so you just gotta have your mindset and your focus.
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.