SL announces year-end awards

By Southern League | September 7, 2006 2:11 PM

MARIETTA, Ga. -- The Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs has announced the 2006 award winners for Radio Broadcaster of the Year, Sportswriter of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Groundskeeper of the Year, and Visiting Clubhouse Attendant of the Year.

Radio Broadcaster of the Year
The Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs is pleased to announce that Montgomery Biscuits' Director of Broadcasting Jim Tocco has been named the Radio Broadcaster of the Year as voted upon by the league's general managers and radio broadcasters.

A standout among all Minor League broadcasters, Tocco is known for his conversational style behind the microphone. Listeners are treated to vivid descriptions of the action as well as a variety of other interesting and entertaining topics over the course of a Biscuits' game.

The eight-year Minor League veteran has called the action of more than 900 Minor League games and 12 Major League games. He began his career with the Charleston RiverDogs in 1999 as a broadcasting intern before becoming the voice of the Wilmington Blue Rocks (2000), the Charleston Alley Cats (2001-2002) and the Lansing Lugnuts (2003).

After the 2003 season, Tocco made the move to Montgomery, Ala., to become the inaugural voice of the Biscuits. He is the only full-time broadcaster in Biscuits' history and has called over 400 Biscuits' games. The baseball historian has also provided television commentary for Montgomery on WSFA 12 for select Biscuits' games as well as the 2006 Southern League All-Star Game.

Tocco made his Major League debut with the Montreal Expos in 2003 as a guest commentator for a three-game series at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pa. He lent his voice to the Expos for ten games in 2004: a four-game series at Turner Field in Atlanta, Ga., in July; a three-game series at PNC Park in July; and a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pa., in September.

In addition to his notoriety as the voice of the Biscuits, Tocco is responsible for a number of marketing duties in the Montgomery organization, including graphic design and website development.

Tocco joins a select list of standouts who have won the award, including current Southern League radio broadcasters Curt Bloom, Tom Hart, Patrick Kinas and Larry Ward.

The North Olmsted, Ohio, native graduated from Bowling Green State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism in 1998. The Montgomery resident's broadcast experience also includes Division I football, basketball, hockey and soccer.

Sportswriter of the Year
The Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs is pleased to announce that Doug Segrest of the Birmingham News has been named the Sportswriter of the Year as voted upon by the league's general managers.

A 13-year veteran of the Birmingham News, Segrest covered the Barons during their record-tying six consecutive playoff appearances (2000-2005). He succeeded Adam Rubin, who is now covering the New York Mets for the New York Daily News, as the Barons' beat writer. Prior to joining the Birmingham News, Segrest preceded Buster Olney of ESPN.com fame at the Nashville Banner as the beat writer for the Nashville Sounds.

"I have had the pleasure of covering four very candid and professional managers in Chris Cron, Razor Shines, Wally Backman and Nick Capra," Segrest said. "All I have to do a lot of times is take out my notebook and write because they do the rest. The White Sox consistently provide a lot of talent, which makes going to the ballpark every day a wonderful job."

Segrest joins a select list of standout sportswriters who have won the award, including current Southern League beat writers Jeff Elliot, Mark McCarter and David Paschall.

"The biggest honor is when I think of my peers, guys like Mark McCarter, Stacy Long and all of the great writers in this league," Segrest said. "I feel very blessed to be considered on their level."

The Montgomery, Ala., native currently resides in the Birmingham area with his wife and their children.

Trainer of the Year
The Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs is pleased to announce that Chattanooga Lookouts' trainer Ryuji Araki has been named the 2006 Southern League Athletic Trainer of the Year as selected by his peers and announced by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society.

A five-year veteran as an athletic trainer, Araki has spent the last two seasons with the Lookouts. Previously, he was the athletic trainer with the GCL Reds (2002), the Billings Mustangs (2003) and the Potomac Cannons (2004). The Tokyo native graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Master's Degree in Athletic Training in 2002. He currently resides in Sarasota, Fla., during the offseason.

Groundskeeper of the Year
The Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs is pleased to announce that Jacksonville Suns' Director of Field Operations Ed Attalla has been named the Groundskeeper of the Year for the fourth consecutive year as voted upon by the league's field managers and umpires.

Attalla is in his fourth year with the Suns and has won the award in each of his years with the organization. He was also named the Double-A Field Turf Manager of the Year in 2003, his first with the Suns. Prior to joining the Jacksonville organization, Attalla gained field turf management experience with the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Bowie Baysox and the Baltimore Orioles. He has also worked in the NFL with the Washington Redskins and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Attalla resides in Jacksonville, Fla., with his wife and two children.

Visiting Clubhouse Attendant of the Year
The Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs is pleased to announce that Montgomery Biscuits' visiting clubhouse attendant Matt Gallant has been named the Visiting Clubhouse Attendant of the Year as voted upon by the league's field managers and umpires.

A four-year veteran as a visiting clubhouse attendant, Gallant has spent the last two seasons with the Biscuits. Previously, he was the visiting clubhouse attendant with the Princeton Devil Rays from 2003-2004. Gallant got his start in baseball with Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts, serving as the head baseball coach and equipment manager from 1999-2002. The Bedford, Mass., native graduated from Bridgewater State College in 1999 with a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education and a minor in Recreation.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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