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Samy Fineman, perhaps best known as the former host of a radio show on Okinawa’s American Forces Network radio, is one of 48 contenders for Major League Baseball’s title of “Rookie Reporter.”

Samy Fineman, perhaps best known as the former host of a radio show on Okinawa’s American Forces Network radio, is one of 48 contenders for Major League Baseball’s title of “Rookie Reporter.” (David Allen / S&S)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Before you vote for Barack Obama or John McCain in November, Samy Fineman wants you to vote for him this month.

Fineman, perhaps best known as the former host of a radio show on Okinawa’s American Forces Network radio, is one of 48 contenders for Major League Baseball’s title of "Rookie Reporter." If he wins, he gets to cover the World Series for MLB.com.

Fineman, 24, served in the Air Force for five years and was the popular host of the "Samy Fineman Experience" on 89.6 FM. In 2007, he was named "Best DJ" in Stars and Stripes’ "Best in the Pacific" voting.

He was discharged in February and now works for Marine Corps Community Services, hosting a news format TV and radio show on the MCCS cable channel.

Starting Aug. 25, Fineman, representing the Pittsburgh Pirates, will be featured along with the other contestants — four for each of the 12 major league teams participating — in the Gillette 2008 MLB Rookie Reporter Showdown. He will appear in a series of video reporter challenges. Viewers will then be able to vote for their favorite "rookie."

Fineman learned about the contest from the Pirates’ Web site.

"I was just surfing the Pirates’ site, trying to get the latest scores, and saw this blurb about being the next rookie reporter," Fineman said Friday. "I thought it’d be interesting, so I sent in a YouTube video clip."

Each team had about 40 people compete, officials said. On July 20, Fineman was notified he made the cut and would be one of four people competing for the Pirates.

"It was crazy," he said. "They said I had to be in Pittsburgh that Friday, the 25th, to tape my entry and a few commercials for Gillette, the sponsor. It was the last time I shaved," Fineman laughed.

As part of the contest, he had to answer Pirates trivia questions and memorize two scripts and read them while being cheered on by fans, including his family, in the background.

Fineman, from Chester, W.Va., is excited about possibly covering the World Series for MLB.com but doesn’t think he’ll be doing it from Pittsburgh.

"I’m a huge fan, always have been — even through 14 years of losing," he said. "And I don’t think they’re going to make it this year, either."

Fineman said each person who votes in the Rookie Reporter contest also will be in the running for a chance to attend the World Series.

To view the video segments and vote, log onto http://www.mlb.com/mlb/fan_forum/gillette/reporter/.


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