PRESS RELEASE – The Joliet Slammers announced today they are partnering with 1340-WJOL to bring fans every game over the air and on the web for the 2011 season. “We’re very excited to have WJOL as our flagship radio station,” Slammers President Bill Waliewski said. “They are a staple in the community and the voice of Will County.”
Long-time Chicago radio man Mark Vasko will team up with former Texas Lutheran baseball player Waliewski to bring you all the action. They’ll be joined by Slammers Media Relations Coordinator Aaron Morse, who will handle the pre and post-game shows and fill in on play-by-play when needed.
“I’m excited about getting the chance to come back to Joliet,” Vasko said. “I love what the Slammers have done so far, bringing back so many local names, and I feel like we’re in for a special year.”
Vasko spent four years working as a broadcaster for the Joliet Jackhammers. He brings a total of 12 years of professional baseball play-by-play experience to the table. Vasko also spent time broadcasting for the Kane County Cougars and has experience in the Frontier League with the Cook County Cheetahs (now known as the Windy City Thunderbolts).
Vasko has also excelled as a sports talk show host during his career. He’s made his mark locally and nationally. Joliet residents know him for his time as an afternoon drive time talk show host on WJOL. Most recently, he hosted a national show on the Sporting News Radio Network. His reporting is well known to Chicago fans as he’s handled the scoreboard updates for Boers and Bernstein on the “Score.” Vasko’s earlier experience as a beat reporter gave him the chance to cover the Chicago Cubs and the 1998 home run chase for WBBM. The Southern Illinois University-Carbondale graduate has been covering sports in the Chicago area since 1985. He currently does play-by-play for a variety of sports at Lewis and Benedictine University.
Waliewski will be pulling double duty as the Slammers’ president and Vasko’s sidekick in the booth this year.
“It may be unconventional to have the President as one of the broadcasters of the team, but I am sure that is not the last time we will do something unconventional as an organization,” Waliewski said. “Slammers owner Al Oremus has told me that I missed my calling and should have gone into broadcasting, and I have always had a passion for radio.”
He starred as a pitcher and infielder for Hinsdale Central High School where he was named one of the top 100 prospects in Chicagoland by the Chicago Sun-Times. After graduating in 1983, Waliewski decided to stay close to home and play ball at College of DuPage. He caught the attention of Texas Lutheran University thanks to a strong performance in the Junior College All-Star Game at Wrigley Field. Waliewski reunited with two of his high school teammates and played two years of ball at Texas Lutheran.
After graduating, Waliewski felt he had something to prove so he played for Slammers’ owner Al Oremus’ Prairie Gravel semi-pro team.
With Prairie Gravel, Waliewski would win a national championship and finish in the top three in the country multiple times during a distinguished career that saw the semi-pro team rise to national prominence.
Morse joins the team after spending last year in the Southern League as a broadcaster for the Huntsville Stars Radio Network. Morse has spent time broadcasting in the Alaska Baseball League and at his Alma mater Northwestern University.
“I’m looking forward to working with the crew; Mark has a ton of experience in minor league baseball and is a great announcer,” Morse said. “It’s going to be a fun year bringing Slammers fans lots of interesting interviews and stories.”