Tampa Catholic vs. Jesuit: An Unparalleled Prep Baseball Rivalry

2015’s first baseball matchup between longtime rivals Tampa Catholic and Jesuit ended with a 6-4 victory for the Tigers. The brisk evening was highlighted with a crab pasta fundraiser hosted by the home team Crusaders. On hand to cover the event were Tampa Natives Show host, Mario Núñez and Brian Dery, along with his assistant, Jacob Rush, of Triple Knot Productions. Enjoy some exciting live action clips intermingled with interviews from Peter J. Mulry, John Tamargo, and Mike Baluja. As you will see, it was a magical evening, filled with fun, special moments, and a friendly completion that has endured for over six decades.

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Tampa’s Queen of Diamonds Finds a Home in Mississippi

2013 MGCCC Lady Bulldogs

Rey Rey slidin' in to second

Our Mississippi Gulf Coast Lady Bulldogs came up 1 game short of a MACJC state title last night, losing a hard fought battle with the Jones County Bobcats. I had almost forgotten how tough a big loss can be, especially one that hits so close to home. I don’t ever remember a time when I’ve seen my daughter so physically and emotionally drained after a game. And although I know that she will recover, I have never seen her quite so devastated by any one loss. This is the only part of the game I will not miss when her playing days are over. The fact that we still move on to regional competition is of some consolation, but it does little to soothe the agony of this particular defeat. Of greater consolation perhaps (to me at least), is the fact that after traveling 9 hours to attend this 2 day tournament, I left the fields content to have had the opportunity to see this very gifted group of young ladies compete. It was an absolute blessing to be there. Up until these past few days, I’d been relegated to a steady diet of Game Changer play by plays. I could imagine the passion our girls were playing with, but I couldn’t really feel it. Being there at The Perk, watching the games live with all the families and fans that have supported our team put things into perspective for me…I got to see that passion in 3D. And it was SPECTACULAR!

It’s very easy to see how a competitive sport like softball can parallel our lives. There are so many lessons learned on the field that apply to life off the field. One of them is the cold, hard fact that we can’t always get what we want, no matter how much we want it nor how hard we work to try to obtain it. We just have to keep moving forward and do our best to become better human beings in spite of that fact. I pray that all our girls have gained something of value from this sensational season , and that they are able to move forward from here, using what they’ve learned to better themselves. And now I put an end this long winded post with a reference to one of my favorite passages…The Serenity Prayer…which seems appropriate for how I feel today…

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

That’s about as valuable a life lesson as one can take away from this entire ordeal.
Good luck in the regionals, girls. I’ll be rootin’ for ya…

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MGCCC Lady Bulldogs Video

I Remember Mark Beiro (The Early Years)

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Growing up in West Tampa, there was a learning institution that had nothing to do with formal education, yet some of life’s most valuable lessons were learned there. The name of that institution was West Tampa Little League. In fact, you might say that some kids got their first opportunity at on-the-spot career training there, be it as a future player, coach, umpire, politician, or entrepreneur. One of those kids was a boy by the name of Mark Beiro. He was a few years older than me, and although I can’t say that I knew him personally, it was almost impossible not to know of him. He had one of those vibrant personalities that made him stand out in the crowd. And that personality would ultimately find a place to come alive and thrive in when Mark discovered his true calling, which happened to be behind a microphone. I can remember anxiously approaching the fields on Saturday morning, and hearing him announcing the player’s names with an emphasis and precision that immediately validated each child just for participating. His play by plays made us all feel like we were in the big leagues. He made the games special through the passion he displayed for announcing. And the rest is history. His voice would lead him from the fields of West Tampa to the Tampa Jai Alai Fronton, Professional Boxing, Battlebots, and various radio programs. Through the years, Mark has continued to make a name for himself in the world of broadcasting. This Thursday, he will be a guest on The Tamap Natives Show for the second consecutive week, sharing his memories of growing up in Tampa. Don’t miss your chance to get to know one of Tampa’s legendary personalities. Call in, live, and say hello to Mark Beiro.

The Test of Time

The Best of the Best

No greater group of servers ever graced this universe.

Pictured here is one of the greatest assembly of servers in the history of fine dining. I’ve often compared this picture to that of an elite professional baseball team from the past. It has all the essential characteristics (including a few members of legendary stature) that you might find in one of those classic team shots on an old baseball card or in a collectible program guide.  Tonight, one of those legends, Joe Roman, joins many of his former teammates, including my father, Miguel, at that big 5 Star Restaurant in the sky. Joe was a true Hall of Famer, not only in the service industry, but as a husband, a father, and a friend as well. He will be remembered by many as the singing waiter and Ambassador at Tampa’s historic Columbia Restaurant. But I will always remember him as a warm, loving godfather, who did his best to make me feel special whenever he’d see me.  Coincidentally, his passing comes right before the holidays. Back in my younger years,  the December 24th gatherings at his home in Ybor taught me my first lessons on what it meant to revere Christmas and Family. God bless you, Joe, and may your soul rest in everlasting peace.

Young Joe

Honorary Ambassador at the world famous Columbia Restaurant

The Tampa Natives Show: A Cult Classic in the Making

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Mario, Sally, and Steve

For the past 3 years, Tampa has been the beneficiary of a unique television experience specifically designed to celebrate and preserve the city’s colorful past. Each week, The Tampa Natives Show comes into the homes of thousands of viewers, in the form of a live broadcast that features rare pictures and/or video footage pertaining to carefully selected topics that appeal to those who were either born in Tampa or who have lived here long enough to call this city Home. For the most part, these topics lead fans through an invigorating trip down memory lane–one that leaves them feeling spiritually renewed by the end of what is affectionately referred to as “the fastest 60 minutes in cable braodcast history.”  The show’s hosts are Mario Núñez, “Tampa” Steve Cannella, and  Sally Núñez, aka, The 15 Minute Girl. With the aid of their phone correspondent, “Hello Dory” Antinori, they invite viewers to call in and reflect on the topic of the hour.  You never know who will call: from Olympic Gold Medalist Brooke Bennett to legendary meteorologist Roy Leep…even Mayor Bob Buckhorn has chimed in to praise the show’s efforts. Some of the show’s more memorable moments have featured special guests, such as former pro baseball player and manager Lou Piniella, former wrestling champion Mike Graham, and  author John Cinchett. What’s more, if you happen to miss the show, or you just want to see an episode again, you can visit TNS’s website at www.tampanativesshow.com and browse through their archives. There you will find nearly every installment that’s aired since day one.  It’s a wonderfully addicting experience and one that seems to be gaining momentum with each passing season. The Tampa Natives Show can be seen live, every Thusday night, at 7:00 p.m., on Brighthouse 950, Verizon 30, Comcast 20, or on the web, at TBCN.org (click “Watch Us”).  To get an idea of what the show is all about, watch the video of their popular theme song,  I Remember Tampa.

Follow My Dream

This video features many of the talented baseball players that have come from the Tampa Bay area. Although the song’s theme is specifically tied into the game of baseball, I think that the concept of going all out and doing your best at whatever you do is the essential message. For each one of these guys that made it to The Show, there are thousands that didn’t. But many of them were able to make the transition into another calling in life and to apply the same amount, if not more, of passion and determination into their new found careers to achieve “major league” success. In short, Follow My Dream is a song that says, “Work hard…always believe in yourself…and never give up. There’s a dream out there with your name on it, and you if give yourself a chance, you will realize it.”