(Bradenton, FL) The Pittsburgh Pirates will hold National Anthem auditions on Sunday, January 29 from 10:00 a.m. to Noon at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, FL. Auditions are open to anyone interested in singing The Star Spangled Banner prior to a Pirates Spring Training game. Prospective singers must feel comfortable performing in front of audiences of 7,000 people or more.
Auditions will be conducted a cappella and must be no longer than two minutes in length. There is no pre-registration for auditions. Prospective singers will perform in the order they sign up on the day of auditions. Registration will close at noon. National Anthem auditions will be conducted for vocalists only; instrumental renditions will not be accepted.
Pirates employees will supervise the auditions and determine which performers to invite to fill open spots in the Spring Training schedule. Contestants that wish to sing the Canadian National Anthem before the Pirates game against Toronto on Sunday, March 19 or the national anthem of the Dominican Republic for the game on Wednesday, March 8 are welcome to audition with one of those selections. Participants that audition but are not selected to perform will have their information kept on file for potential anthem openings during the Bradenton Marauders season.
The Pirates will play an 18-game home schedule at McKechnie Field this spring, beginning with a matchup against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, February 25.
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(St. Petersburg, FL) The NFL is partnering with the historic East-West Shrine Game to increase development opportunities for coaches and draft-eligible players, the league announced today.
The NFL will supply the coaching staffs for the two teams from among current league assistant coaches whose teams do not advance to the playoffs. The NFL will also provide the game officials for the contest, which features some of college football’s best prospects.
The 92nd annual East-West Shrine Game will kick off at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 21, from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida and be televised live on NFL Network.
“The East-West Shrine Game is not only a showcase for tremendous athletes who have a dream of playing at the next level, it is also a venue for upwardly mobile coaches in the NFL,” said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations TROY VINCENT. “This is an opportunity to further develop, evaluate and showcase our assistant coaches who may be our next generation of head coaches.”
At the conclusion of the NFL regular season, teams will nominate deserving assistant coaches who will be reviewed by a panel that includes NFL Football Operations staff, East-West Shrine Game leadership and two members of the NFL’s General Managers Advisory Committee. Once the head coaches are selected, each head coach will then fill his 12-person staff from among other NFL assistant coaches nominated by the clubs, a key job requirement for head coaches at every level of the sport.
Coaches nominated by NFL clubs must be active assistant coaches who display extraordinary teaching and communications skills, and are recognized for their integrity and commitment to excellence in the coaching profession. The coaches must be accomplished at developing and preparing players to compete in the NFL.
“It is an honor for the East-West Shrine Game to partner with the NFL to promote opportunities for professional growth and development not only for our outstanding players, but also for the potential future generation of head coaches in the league,” said HAROLD RICHARDSON, executive director of the East-West Shrine Game. “We are proud to be able to provide a national stage for some of football’s greatest talents to develop their skills and showcase their abilities, all while supporting an exceptional cause.”
For more than 90 years, some of football’s greatest players and coaches have contributed to the tradition of the East-West Shrine Game, the nation’s first college all-star football game. Created by the Shriners in 1925, the game is driven by the desire to support Shriners Hospitals for Children in its mission to help children in need of expert medical care. Participating players make an annual visit to the local Shriners Hospital, visiting children and staff in an experience that they will truly never forget.
(St. Petersburg, FL) Nelson Adams blocked Nick Dowd’s potential game winning field goal with 5 seconds left in the game lifting the Bulldogs to a dramatic 17-16 comeback win over Miami (OH) in the St. Petersburg Bowl Saturday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
The Red Hawks muzzled the Bulldogs offense for most of the game by slowing the pace and keeping Mississippi State out of their usual quick paced rhythm. Miami (OH) drove down the field on their opening possession but had to settle for an 18-yard field goal by Nick Dowd. Miami (OH) led 3-0 after the first quarter.
Quarterback Gus Ragland, completed a 6 yard touchdown pass to James Gardner midway through the second quarter to extend the Red Hawks lead to 9-0 after a blocked extra point. A sign of things to come at the end of the game.
Mississippi State (6-7) finally got on the board with :22 seconds left in the half when Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald bulldogged his way into the end zone from 2 yards out to pull his team within 9-7 at the midway break.
Gus Ragland led Miami (OH) (6-7) on an 8 play, 85-yard scoring drive early in the third quarter capping it off with a short, one-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Smith to make it 16-7.
The Bulldogs responded when QB Nick Fitzgerald broke to the outside and rumbled 44 yards for a touchdown pulling Mississippi State to within 16-14 with 4:15 left in the 3rd.
Early in the 4th quarter after Fitzgerald ran the ball 26 yards to the Miami (OH) 38. A hit to the head penalty by Deondre Daniels added an additional 15 yards setting up Westin Graves 36 yard field goal, which would prove to be the game winner.
Both starting quarterbacks were named game MVP’s. Bulldogs QB Nick Fitzgerald completed 13 of 26 passes for 126 yards and ran the ball 18 times for 142 yards. Red Hawks quarterback Gus Ragland went 21-29 for 257 yards and 2 touchdowns with 1 INT and rushed for 51 yards on 17 carries.
Both teams combined for 768 total yards, 4th highest in St. Pete Bowl history.
Post game comments from both head coaches are below:
Miami (OH) dropped their first six games of the season and then won six straight to become bowl eligible.
Today’s game was broadcast on ESPN with Dave LaMont, Rene Ingoglia and Chris Doering and on ESPN Radio.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and St. Petersburg resident Mike Alstott is the Honorary Game Chairman for this year’s St. Pete Bowl. He also took part in the opening coin toss.
38 current players in the NFL have played in the 8 previous St. Petersburg Bowls including Latavius Murray (Oakland Raiders), Blake Bortles (Jacksonville Jaguars), T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis Colts) and Mohamed Sanu (Atlanta Falcons). In all, 133 players in the St. Pete Bowl have been drafted by NFL teams.
Mississippi State is the first SEC team to play in the St. Pete Bowl. Miami (OH) is the third MAC team to take part, the others Ball State in 2012 and Ohio in 2013.
Uniform shuffle: Miami University wore the visitor uniforms of red helmets, white jerseys and red pants. Mississippi State wore the home uniforms of all maroon helmets, jerseys and pants.
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