Baseball not long for Aloha Stadium
Aloha Stadium will be moved out of baseball configuration soon -- and probably for the final time, after the Stadium Authority voted unanimously Thursday to leave it in football shape.
The question in November could be how quickly it can be shifted in and out of rock'n'roll mode. Negotiations have begun for a Rolling Stones concert at Aloha Stadium the week of Thanksgiving.
"There's a good possibility" the Stones will play here after concluding their mainland tour in Los Angeles on Nov. 18, a source close to the situation said.
The problem is a loaded slate of football games already scheduled for the stadium the same week: the state high school semifinals on Friday, Purdue against the University of Hawaii on Saturday, and Pop Warner championships on Sunday.
A Rolling Stones concert would likely draw a huge crowd, even on Wednesday or Thursday of the holiday week. But disassembling the stage and other work needed to get the stadium ready for football again would have to be done quickly.
Stadium Authority chairman Kevin Chong Kee said it's too soon to comment on if the concert is feasible.
Meanwhile, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association faces a dilemma. As of now, it does not have a venue for its Wally Yonamine Foundation baseball state championships next May.
The HHSAA has been fortunate in recent years because Les Murakami Stadium at UH has been available. But the Rainbows will be playing at home against Fresno State. With Aloha Stadium locked in football mode, the HHSAA will have to move its tournament up a week or find another site.
The 2006 state tournament was played at War Memorial Stadium on Maui. It is held there once every three years.
"On Oahu, Murakami Stadium is the only feasible venue," HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya said. "The others don't have the capacity at this time (for state tournament games). In the past, by sheer luck UH has been on the road."
Amemiya said he had discussions with UH associate athletic director Carl Clapp about playing day games there during the Fresno State series, but the logistics are sketchy at best.
"We have to look at different weekends, which creates other problems, a domino effect for other tournaments and the leagues," Amemiya said. "There is a big impact on the high schools."
The Interscholastic League of Honolulu played some of its league games at Aloha Stadium and now must adjust its scheduling.
Also, Al Kam of the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League spoke against eliminating baseball from the stadium. His league will be forced to find a new venue.
Chong Kee said nothing had developed from a proposal from a mainland promoter to play major league exhibition games at the stadium.
"We never saw anything in writing," Chong Kee said. "As far as we could tell it was not serious."
In other stadium news, the swap meet entry fee was doubled to $1 and a slalom racing event will be allowed in the parking lot.
"We'll see how the asphalt holds up and go from there," Chong Kee said.