Flu news leaves listeners ill
BIRD Flu. Birds flew.
That's the short version.
THE NOISE COMING out of the radio yesterday morning was news that was not good. Steven Wright was experiencing "flu-like symptoms." "Flu-like symptoms." Is there anything in the English language more ominous-sounding? The flu I think most of us can handle. It's the "flu-like symptoms" that makes you cringe every time. Ooooooh ...
Still, I was hopeful:
Steven Wright the comedian?
No. Steven Wright the All-America pitcher.
Oh. Well, that's bad.
(An aside -- from Steven Wright [the comedian's] Web site, a biography: "I was born. When I was 23 I started telling jokes. Then I started going on television and doing films. That's still what I am doing. The end.")
If you're tuning in to hear Hawaii play in its first NCAA baseball regional in 13 years -- and radio was the only way to follow the game, until our Al Chase posted an update from Corvallis, Ore., on Starbulletin.com -- this is the last thing you want to hear.
(Well, at least until an ESPN Radio news break informed us that Dwyane Wade also had "flu-like symptoms." This is just a little too eerie a coincidence. Oh, man, was I feeling a little dizzy? I backed away from the radio, just in case.)
The news that Wright -- the guy who went 11-2 for the 'Bows this season, with a 2.30 ERA, the No. 1 starter -- was back in bed at the hotel, probably feeling like he was about to die, instead of staring down the Kansas Jayhawks, was near devastating.
Before the game even began, depression set in.
But then came the KKEA pregame show, and UH coach Mike Trapasso sounded upbeat. In fact, he sounded like he'd picked KKEA play-by-play ace Don Robbs up off the ground and given Robbs a hug. It was going to be OK. The Rainbows would come out and play. You could hear it in Trapasso's voice.
It happened. The 'Bows got hits, then runs, one by one. Through the speakers, we saw them in our minds.
This was Robbs' moment. A radio game. The biggest UH baseball game in 13 years and there was no TV. You could feel the people sitting around their radios. Robbs was giving a fireside chat.
"We have somebody with a Hawaiian flag, way down the bleachers," Robbs said. Who would do that, there?
"It's an Oregon State student," Robbs said.
The Rainbows scored again. "The flag is up and waving in the breeze," Robbs said.
Everyone who heard it was flying, too. It was 5-0.
But then a KU home run. Again. And again. And again. The Jayhawks threatened, then led. UH would go through four pitchers. KU had 16 hits. It was 9-6.
The symptoms spread through the airwaves, a state beset by flu-like symptoms. Everyone had avian flu. The 'Bows were in the loser's bracket. The Jayhawks moved on. Steven Wright (the pitcher) was in bed.
Still, we wait for Robbs' radio call this morning. It's double elimination, Hawaii gets another chance. There is reason for optimism.
There are no plague-like diseases associated with the mascot from Wright State.