Baltimore Orioles to Host Prospect Wire Florida State Finals in Sarasota this Weekend

(Sarasota, FL) Thousands of youth baseball players and their families will converge on the Sarasota region this weekend for the 2014 Prospect Wire Florida State Finals tournament, with approximately half of the games to be played at venues managed by the Orioles. Facilities at Ed Smith Stadium and the Buck O’Neill Baseball Complex at Twin Lakes Park will be buzzing with activity from Friday evening, June 6 through Wednesday, June 11.

This is the fourth year Prospect Wire has held the tournament in Sarasota. According to Visit Sarasota County, the tournament generated a $2.5-million economic impact for the Sarasota-Manatee-Charlotte region in 2013 with approximately 110 teams participating. This year, the impact year could be even greater as 130 teams are expected to attend.

In addition to Sarasota facilities managed by the Orioles, the tournament will use venues in Manatee and Charlotte counties.

Media are invited to cover tournament action at the Orioles’ facilities. Prospect Wire representatives will be on hand at the Buck O’Neill Baseball Complex throughout the tournament. A game schedule is available at www.ProspectWire.com or by contacting the Orioles.

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Don Zimmer Passes Away at Age 83

One of baseball’s great men, Don Zimmer, died Wednesday at 83 years old. He had been serving as a special adviser to the Tampa Bay Rays for the past several seasons after an outstanding career as a player, coach, manager and bench coach. The following is a release from the Tampa Bay Rays media relations department on Don Zimmer:

(St. Petersburg, FL) After 66 years in professional baseball, Rays Senior Baseball Advisor Don Zimmer passed away today BayCare Alliant Hospital in Dunedin, FL. He was 83. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Jean (“Soot”), his son Thomas, daughter Donna, and four grandchildren: Beau, Whitney, Ron and Lane.

Over the course of his 56 seasons in the major leagues as a player, coach and manager he wore 14 different uniforms—but none longer than his 11 seasons with the Rays. Zimmer reached the postseason 19 times and owned six World Series rings: four as a coach with the New York Yankees and two as a player for the Brooklyn (1955) and Los Angeles (1959) Dodgers. He managed 13 seasons for the San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs, and was named National League Manager of the Year in 1989 after guiding the Cubs to the NL East Division title. Prior to joining the Rays in 2004, he spent eight seasons as bench coach for Yankees Manager Joe Torre.

“Today we all lost a national treasure and a wonderful man,” said Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg. “Don dedicated his life to the game he loved, and his impact will be felt for generations to come. His contributions to this organization are immeasurable. I am proud that he wore a Rays uniform for the past 11 years. We will miss him dearly.”
The Rays will honor the baseball icon with a moment of silence at today’s Rays-Marlins game at Tropicana Field and will conduct a special pregame ceremony prior to the Rays-Mariners game on Saturday.

Zimmer signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949, beginning a 19-year playing career as an infielder. On July 7, 1953, while playing for St. Paul in the American Association, he was struck in the head by a pitch, spent two weeks in a semi-coma and missed the rest of the season with a fractured skull. The following year the Dodgers promoted him to the big leagues, where he was in the company of eight future Hall of Famers: Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Dick Williams, Don Newcombe, Tom LaSorda and Manager Walter Alston. In total, Zim was teammates with 14 Hall of Famers, played under three Hall of Fame managers, and coached or managed many more.

He went on to play 12 seasons in the majors for the Brooklyn (1954-57) and Los Angeles (1958-59, 1963) Dodgers, Cubs (1960-61), New York Mets (1962), Cincinnati Reds (1962) and Washington Senators (1963-65). Zimmer was named to the 1961 NL All-Star Team as a second baseman for the Cubs. In 1962, he was the first player to try on a Mets uniform, modeling it at Huggins-Stengel Field in St. Petersburg.

Zimmer was born in Cincinnati on January 17, 1931, and attended Western Hills High School, where he began dating Soot. He and Soot, his high school sweetheart, were married beside home plate at Dunn Field in Elmira, N.Y., on
August 16, 1951. Since the late 1950s, they have made the Tampa Bay area their home.

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“Book Talk” guest James W. Graham author “Victura: The Kennedys, A Sailboat and the Sea”


WWBA 820 AM Debuts New Morning Drive Show

(Tampa Bay, FL) Tampa Bay talker WWBA 820 AM debuted a new morning drive show “Your Wake Up Call” (6-10AM) this week co-hosted by Chris Markowski and Jenna Laine with Robert Pankau as news anchor and Kurt Shriner as entertainment reporter.

Markowski has been hosting the syndicated weekend show “Watchdog on Wall Street” for the past several years. Jenna Laine comes to the new morning show from “Sports Talk Florida” where she covered the Tampa Bay Bucs.

“Your Wake Up Call” will also be aired on the Genesis Communications station in Orlando, WAMT.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be covering all the important news and events in one of the most important areas in the country, the Tampa Bay, Orlando and the entire I-4 corridor,” Chris Markowski said.

“Whether it’s news or sports, the one constant for me as a journalist has always been people,” Jenna Laine said. “I love telling your stories and I care very much about issues that affect our communities.”

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Gayle Sierens to Retire from WFLA-TV in May 2015

(Tampa Bay, FL) In the wake of three other retirement announcements of longtime Tampa Bay news anchors, Gayle Sierens said she would be leaving WFLA-TV/NewsChannel 8 in May 2015 after a 38-year stint at the station. She will anchor the 11 p.m. newscast through the end of 2014 and continue anchoring the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts until May 20, 2015, her last scheduled day at WFLA-TV.

Sierens joins John Wilson and Anne Dwyer (WTVT-TV) and Yolanda Fernandez (WFLA-TV) in announcing their departures from Tampa Bay television after long stints with their respective stations.

“I am so grateful to live out my career in the town where I grew up. Who gets to do that?” Sierens said. “I am truly excited for this next phase of my life. I have worked the night shift for more than three decades. I’m eager to go to bed at a normal time, and have time to travel with my husband and children. I’m even hoping to improve on my golf game, and looking forward to more time to volunteer in our community.”

When she joined WFLA-TV/News Channel 8 in 1977, Sierens was a weekend sports anchor/reporter and became the 11 p.m. weekday sports anchor in 1983. In October of 1985, Sierens made the transition from sportscaster to news anchor. On Dec. 27, 1987, she called the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Seattle Seahawks NFL game on NBC becoming the first woman to do play-by-play for a National Football League game. Marty Glickman, who is credited with being a pioneer in radio and later TV play-by-play, was assigned to coach Gayle Sierens for that assignment.

Sierens began her career at WFSU-TV in Tallahassee, Fla. She received a B.S. degree in mass communications from Florida State University. She was the winner of the Florida Holocaust Museum’s “Loebenberg Humanitarian Award.” She was also named Humanitarian of the Year by the Judeo Christian Health Clinic. The Association of Fundraising Professionals created the “Gayle Sierens Volunteer of the Year” award in her honor. She was named a “Woman of Distinction” by Girl Scouts of America, Suncoast chapter.

Gayle Sierens and her husband, Mike, have been married for 26 years and have two sons, Cam and Luke, and a daughter, Maddie.

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“Sports Talk” with Don Henderson and Doug Miles 6/2/14

Current Sports Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Doug Miles on BlogTalkRadio

Guests: Howard Peretz on greatest sports finishes and Pete “The Prophet” with a Belmont Stakes preview. GMan on NASCAR.


Two Longtime Tampa Bay News Anchors Announce Retirements

(Tampa Bay, FL) The Tampa Bay local news television landscape is rapidly changing. Three longtime anchors in the market are leaving the airwaves, two to retirement and one to a public sector position.

Last week, John Wilson announced his retirement from WTVT-TV after a 50-year career in television. On Monday, Anne Dwyer announced she was leaving the same station after 30 years on the air as reporter and anchor. Yolanda Fernandez also announced she was leaving WFLA-TV to become a spokesperson for the St. Petersburg Police Department. She had been a reporter and weekend anchor on WFLA-TV for 25 years.

John Wilson plans to write a book on his experiences as a reporter and anchor in local news. Anne Dwyer said she plans to “sleep in and take care of some home improvement projects”. Yolanda Fernandez is scheduled to begin her new job with the St. Petersburg Police Department later this month.

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