Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
Double-A Affiliate
The Official Site of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Blue Wahoos Have Special, Emotional Impact At Pensacola Sports Awards Night 

Longtime Pensacola sports radio voice Paul Chestnutt of Fox Sports-Pensacola, along with son Matthew, addresses gathering at the Pensacola Sports Awards Banquet during his induction into the Pensacola Sports Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy of Gregg Pachkowski, Pensacola News Journal)
February 28, 2024

His voice wavering with emotion, his heart poured into the moment, Paul Chestnutt included the Blue Wahoos and their impact on his life during the induction of himself and special-needs son Matthew into the Pensacola Sports Hall of Fame. Chestnutt, a long-time, Pensacola sports radio broadcast, and decades-long, broadcast radio

His voice wavering with emotion, his heart poured into the moment, Paul Chestnutt included the Blue Wahoos and their impact on his life during the induction of himself and special-needs son Matthew into the Pensacola Sports Hall of Fame.

Chestnutt, a long-time, Pensacola sports radio broadcast, and decades-long, broadcast radio voice of the Pensacola Ice Pilots and Ice Flyers, aptly declared the moment, “A special night for special needs.”

His son has been a part of Chestnutt’s work since Matty’s birth 21 years ago.

“The greatest feeling in the world is being Matthew’s dad,” said Chestnutt at the induction ceremony. He has a weekday sports radio show from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Fox Sports Pensacola (101.1 FM) where he's been employed by the radio station since 2017.

It was part of his powerful speech and emotion-tugging reaction during the 70th annual Pensacola Sports Awards Banquet on Feb. 27 at the Brownsville Community Center.

With his special-needs son, Matthew, by his side, Paul Chestnutt thanked the Blue Wahoos for their impact in his life during his induction speech into the Pensacola Sports Hall of Fame.Photo courtesy of Gregg Pachkowski, Pensacola News Journal

Chestnutt and his son, best known as Matty, have attended Blue Wahoos games since the team’s inaugural season. Fans often see Chestnutt maneuvering his son’s wheelchair through crowds on the concourse. It is a way for him and his son, who cannot walk or communicate, to feel and enjoy baseball together at the stadium.

“Thank you Quint and Rishy Studer for Blue Wahoos Stadium,” said Chestnutt in the speech, as he looked toward Quint and Rishy Studer seated nearby, his voice crackling. “You have players who have developed to make the major leagues. And you have many players in the major leagues.

“But that ballpark has done more for Matty than any player who played for the Blue Wahoos. The ballpark has helped his quality of life, social skills, understanding of things and making him the person that he is today.

“We love you Quint and Rishy. You are like family, thank you.”

His son was born with cerebral palsy. Soon afterward, Chestnutt founded his charity, “Matthew Chestnutt Scores! Charities, Inc.” The charity provides the Ice Flyers fan base with the opportunity to pledge $1 to $3 for each power play goal that the Ice Flyers score during the regular season in a “Power Play Pledge Drive.”

The Ice Flyers recently celebrated their 15-year anniversary. Paul has been the team's radio voice since the team's inception.

Blue Wahoos owner Quint Studer accepts special achievement award on behalf of manager Kevin Randel for being named 2023 Southern League manager of the year.Photo Courtesy Of Gregg Pachchowski, PNJ

“Thank you Quint Studer for funding the charity. It started in your office in Gulf Breeze,” said Chestnutt, during his speech.

In addition to his gratitude shown toward Quint and Rishy Studer, Chestnutt saluted Travis “TJ” Presley, one of the Blue Wahoos most dedicated and longest-tenure game day staff employees. Presley, who was paralyzed, maneuvers in his wheelchair, while greeting and helping fans, after they climb the entrance steps to the concourse and begin searching for their seats.

Without fail, Presley keeps an enthusiastic, “Welcome to the Wahoos Life!” greeting as fans approach to say hello.

“We have the best worker in all of baseball in the entire country. He is here tonight,” said Chestnutt during his speech as he nodded toward Presley at a table. “He works for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. There he is, front row, Travis T.J. Presley!

“You are the best in what you do. You come up with answers for people that live normal lives. You take charge in helping out other people who have disabilities that work for the Blue Wahoos. This (Hall of Fame induction) is a part of you T.J.”

Paul Chestnutt and son Matthew with former NFL All-Pro offensive lineman Josh Sitton, a Pensacola Catholic graduate, who was named the Sportsman of the Year at the Pensacola Sports Awards Banquet.Photo Courtesy Of Gregg Pachkowski, PNJ

Chestnutt’s induction was preceded by the induction of Deric Ladnier, a Tate High graduate and former third baseman, who played seven minor league seasons, reaching Double-A with the Memphis Redbirds, after being drafted in the eighth round by the Kansas City Royals in the 1985 draft.

Ladnier later moved into scouting and was formerly the Arizona Diamondbacks director of amateur scouting, helping the craft the team that reached the World Series in 2023. He has since joined the Houston Astros as the senior director of amateur scouting.

Also honored at the Pensacola Sports banquet was Blue Wahoos manager Kevin Randel, who received a special achievement award for winning the Southern League manager of the year and guiding the Blue Wahoos to their second-most wins (79) and highest win percentage in club history in 2023, culminating with a return trip to SL championship series.

With Randel at spring training, Quint Studer accepted the award on his behalf.

Following Chestnutt’s induction, former NFL offensive lineman Josh Sitton, a Pensacola Catholic and University of Central Florida graduate, was named the 2023 Pensacola Sportsman of the Year by the organization. Sitton was unaware he was getting the award. It is the one final award that is not announced prior the banquet.

Sitton has been involved with the Blue Wahoos in various construction projects since forming his own company, Bear Construction, following his retirement from the NFL

It was all part of a special night with Blue Wahoos connections.

“Matty and I are so honored and humbled to be here,” Chestnutt said.