Unsung hero graces one of baseball’s legendary fields

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — The unsung hero of the baseball game is not the maintenance staff, nor the batboy, rather it is the singer of the national anthem.

The anthem is a quintessential aspect of the show, preparing the players and psyching spectators for the nine innings to come.

And at the Canadian Junior National and Netherlands game on Tuesday, Miss Florida 2011, Kristina Janolo, was there to set the mood.

Warming up prior to the game, she took a few minutes to mingle with the players and fans prior to the first pitch.

“You know, you can never start a game, whether it be in high school, whether it be professional, or whatever, little league, you cannot start without the national anthem,” Janolo said at St. Petersburg’s legendary Al Lang Stadium. “It’s always fun to kick off the game by singing the national anthem for those events.”

Being Miss Florida, Janolo hasn’t been able to attend many games because of her busy non-profit work; she has been active for the Children’s Miracle Network and is currently acting as a public speaker for various charities.

Janolo hopes for more opportunities as her Miss America career comes to a close.

“I haven’t been able to sing the national anthem a whole lot during my year … but when opportunities like this arise, I do get to do the national anthem and hopefully I’ll be able to do it a bit more until my year ends in July,” said Janolo.

It was a long road that led her to where she is today. Always the shy girl, she needed an outlet to come out of her shell and it was her mother who pushed her to the beauty stage.

“When I was growing up I was really shy and really quiet and when I was 15 years old my mom suggested I compete for a Miss Florida Teen title. I ended up competing and I ended up winning,” said Janolo, “I got involved with the Miss America system when I was 18, competed for some six years before I finally won Miss Florida this past summer.”

Her title gave her the the public opportunities she had avoided, giving her a direction as to where she sees her life going.

And her next chapter promises a whole new story: It may involve more singing, maybe some public speaking and PR. But on this warm Florida night, Janolo is content to welcome fans to one baseballs’ most hallowed places.