Baseball, for most of the country, doesn’t really get started until late March or April. That’s not true in Hawaii. While you guys are drooling in anticipation of stories from spring training, we have baseball here.
The University of Hawaii baseball team is pretty good, year after year. In 2008, they were leading Fresno State in the conference championship game going into the last inning before losing. Fresno State went on to win the national championship in Omaha.
Les Murikami Stadium, where UH plays, is one of the finest college baseball facilities in the country, and its been renovated over the past two years. It’s simply a great place to watch a baseball game.
From wherever you sit, you see Diamond Head in the background, etched into a usually-clear blue sky. You can choose to sit in the sun or the shade. Little birds flutter around, not annoyingly, looking for dropped morsels. Kids run the bases before and in the middle of the games. Ardent fans recognize the local players and root loudly. The ballpark’s capacity’s just more than 4,000. From the right-field stands, you can recognize your friend in the left-field stands. The refreshments are reasonably priced — especially for a sporting venue — and they’re actually pretty good.
Saturdays and Sundays are family affairs at the ballpark. Especially early in the season, there are lots of empty seats so that, when your kids make friends with other kids, you can move your group over to where the action seems to be.
On the field, the baseball is good; fundamentally sound, nobody throwing to the wrong base or missing the cut-off man. As a fan in the seats, you can identify a pitcher with an overpowering fastball or an infielder with extraordinary range. You might write down a name or two, sensing you might hear of a player in a much larger context several years from now.
If you love baseball, this is your stuff. Practice has started. The season gets under way on February 20, with the UH hosting UC Irvine, a ranked team. Let’s play ball!
If you’re going to be vacationing on Oahu soon and would like your first taste of 2009 baseball in one of the greatest venues you’ll ever enjoy, pick an agent from the Hawaii-Aloha Web site (hawaii-aloha.com) or call 1-800-843-8771. We’ll slip you some tickets.