As Na Koa Ikaika prepares for its inaugural season (the first home game is June 8 against the Tijuana Cimarrones), the team got some national love from Baseball America. The piece briefly chronicles the on-again, off-again history of pro ball in Hawaii and addresses the question most people ask: how will you get other teams to fly all the way over there? “When you’re recruiting players and competing against other leagues, you’re talking about the whole picture,” Na Koa Ikaika owner Rick Berry told Baseball America. “One of our road trips is Maui. If I’m a player, I look at that, and [say], ‘Gosh, I could be on a bus for 18 hours driving through a desolate area or I could be on a plane over to Maui.’” Solid logic. The team, for those who haven’t followed the story, is affiliated with the independent Golden Baseball League (GBL), which means the roster will be a mix of young up-and-comers hoping to get noticed and older guys trying to keep the dream alive. The GBL has had former MLB stars in its ranks, including stolen base king Rickey Henderson and steroid user/whistleblower Jose Canseco. In the end, even if it isn’t the Big Leagues, it should be a fun brand of baseball and a welcome new entertainment option for Central Maui. And seriously, how can you not like a league that has a team from Tijuana? (For more info, visit nakoaikaikamaui.com.)…
It’s an ironclad rule: whenever a politician says something he regrets in front of a reporter, he suddenly becomes very concerned about context. Like last week, when Charles Djou told D.C.-based The Hill that the race for Hawaii’s 1st District Congressional seat was “pretty much over.” After the predictable uproar from Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa, Djou tried to set the record straight by saying…wait for it…that his quotes were taken out of context. OK, let’s get some context. Here’s another quote from the same story: “Mathematically, it becomes next to impossible [for Democrats] to win this race unless you stuff the ballot box.” And another: “I’m not calling it a day by any means. But the bulk of the ballots have already been turned in. It is almost anticlimactic.” (When Djou said that, less than 30 percent of ballots were in.) Then, already looking ahead to a November showdown: “Ed and Colleen still have to go through each other before they’ll come for me.” Unless Djou was unwittingly slipped some hubris pills right before the interview, I’d say the context is spot on. And the thing is, if polls and behind-the-scenes rumblings are to be believed, he’s right…. In March, I spoke with Janice Okubo from the state Department of Health about the 40-50 requests her office fields each month for Obama’s birth certificate. “The majority of the requests,” Okubo said, “are coming from about four or five people.” Those people would be members of the “birther” movement, a loose coalition of crazies who think the most important issue facing our nation is whether the President was born in Kenya. The birthers already have sanity against them and now there’s a new law: Act 100, which Gov. Lingle signed this week. The law amends Section 92F-11 of the Hawaii Revised Statues and allows an agency to deny “duplicative” government records requests. As a journalist, I’m conditioned to oppose on principle anything that decreases government transparency. Yet I like this law. Damn you, birthers!…. There’s something sadly symbolic about shipping our garbage to the Mainland, but that’s exactly what will happen soon—after a few bureaucratic hurdles are cleared—according to a May 18 Honolulu Advertiser dispatch. Sure, a lot of our garbage is created by Mainland tourists, so in a sense it’s fair to ask other, larger states to help shoulder the load. On the other hand, Hawaii didn’t enact a bottle bill until 2004, 32 years after Oregon pioneered the idea in 1972. (Perhaps not coincidentally, Oregon is now a popular destination for other places’ refuse, the “fifth largest importer of garbage in the country” according to a 2009 Portland Insight report.) Clearly we have to get creative to address our swelling landfills. I’m just not sure sticking a bunch of trash on a boat and waving goodbye qualifies…. When I moved to Hawaii from the Bay Area, I didn’t leave my heart in San Francisco but I did leave my baseball fandom. Excited as I am about attending Na Koa Ikaika games, I will always be a San Francisco Giants fan; it’s in my blood. So it was with disappointment (not to mention confusion) that I discovered Hawaii is in the Giants’ blackout zone. This means if a game isn’t sold out 48 hours in advance, airings on the MLB Extra Innings TV package or the MLB At Bat app (which I have) aren’t shown. The idea is to get people in the team’s market to go to the stadium. This would (sort of) make sense if I still lived 20 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Now that I’m separated from my team by 2,500 miles of ocean, the policy seems a tad excessive. I did a little digging and discovered that Hawaii Giants fans aren’t the only ones getting the shaft: the Los Angeles Dodgers, Anaheim Angels and Kurt Suzuki’s Oakland A’s also claim the Aloha State as part of their turf. Curiously, the two other West Coast teams—the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres—don’t. After reading an Advertiser piece where an Oceanic Time Warner rep basically said, don’t ask us, ask the teams, I placed calls to all four of the offending clubs and Major League Baseball. None of those calls—or several follow-ups—were returned by deadline, but I’ll keep at it. Not because this is a hugely important story, but because I want to watch the game. And I bet I’m not the only one….
I don’t mean to keep picking on Alabama. (Last week, if you missed it, I had fun with a campaign attack ad that used a candidate’s purported belief in evolution against him.) But come on, ‘Bama, meet me halfway: This week, a teacher in Jefferson County (ground zero for the Civil Rights movement) used a hypothetical assassination attempt on Obama to teach his geometry students about angles. When I saw the headline, I was fairly certain it was an Onion parody. Sadly, no. According to a student quoted by the AP, the unnamed teacher “was talking about angles and said, ‘If you’re in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president.’” The Secret Service investigated and determined there was no “credible threat.” To Obama, perhaps. But what about the young minds of Alabama?