FAYETTEVILLE — Tom Yazwinski is headed to the big leagues — professionally, that is.
The co-host of KNWA’s morning show is picking up stakes and relocating to Seattle, a No. 12 market. He’ll go back to the trenches, as a reporter for television station KCPQ, better known as Q13, a Fox affiliate in Seattle.
But more than for his presence on air, he’ll be missed as the onfield emcee for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. His last game is Thursday (July 19). His last day at KNWA is Friday (July 20).
“Tom’s been as much the face of the Naturals as anybody,” said general manager Eric Edelstein. “You can't overstate how important he’s been. He’s been an ambassador to Naturals baseball from the very beginning.”
For five years, Yazwinski has been the guy with the micorophone, connecting fans to what’s going on down on the field, whether its a tricycle race of some other contest. He set the stage. He was the host.
“Every knows him. Everybody likes him,” Edelstein said.
Edelstein recalled that Yazwinsk, who was born and reared in Fayetteville, auditioned for the job as the Naturals’ public service announcer but wasn’t picked.
"I was horrible," Yazwinski said.
However, the folks in the administration office loved Yazwinski’s energy and enthusiasm. So they they found a place for him. He’s paid by the home game, Thursdays through Sundays — some 40 games a year.
Yazwinski said he and his wife, Sydney, had been looking for him a job in the Portland area, where she’s from. Except for a brief stint with a television station in Little Rock, he’s never worked outside the state. The couple have two children: Stella, who’s almost 4, and Emerson, 17 months.
“I never really saw the advantages to living in a larger city until now,” he said. “There will be lots more for the kids to do, to learn and experience.”
Edelstein said the Naturals will look for someone to serve on an interim basis through the end of the season then look in earnest for a replacement — if there is one.
“It will be easy to find someone who wants to do it,” he said. “But it’ll be another thing to find someone who has the energy or commitment to do it after one, two or three years.”