Life in the Minors
‘Hawaiian Night’ backfires as visiting Otters -- featuring 4 from Hawaii -- shut out Beach Bums
As I have done on so many other nights after games during the minor league season, I am hanging out in my hotel room watching some movies on HBO and surfing the Internet. Sitting on the couch at the Days Inn here in Traverse City, Mich., I am flipping between "Lethal Weapon 4" and some bad slasher movie with the kid from "One Tree Hill" acting in it.
Needless to say, I was so dissatisfied with my movie options, that I went to the OC 16 Web site to watch the archived broadcast of this past year's Hawaii high school football championship, in which my alma mater, Leilehua, edged Saint Louis 20-16. I was at Aloha Stadium to watch Edieson Dumlao, whom I coached on the Leilehua baseball team, score the winning touchdown with 36 seconds left in the game that night. Reliving the game on my laptop was almost as exciting, especially since the Mules' head coach, Nolan Tokuda, was my teammate when we played college baseball at UH Hilo.
As you can tell, no matter how far I am from home, Hawaii is always near to my heart. The rare luxury of having three players from Hawaii with me on the Evansville Otters this season has certainly been fun. With Ricky Bauer, Isaac Omura and Gered Mochizuki here, Hawaii has been well represented in the Frontier League.
When we arrived at Wuerful Park this afternoon, I settled into my locker as I always do. I began my unpacking by pulling out my jerseys, pants, shirts and jackets from my team travel bag, and hung them in my locker in the visiting coaches' office. Next out of the bag were my three pairs of shoes, and then my caps, glove, sunglasses and charts.
Soon after I finished, I walked down the hall to the players lounge to see what was going on. It was at that time that I was informed by one of our players that the Traverse City Beach Bums were having their "Hawaiian Night" promotion.
As expected, the promotion was a little off point, though well intentioned. The Beach Bums' fans seemed to have a good time, as the home team wore light blue and white flowered jerseys, which were auctioned off at the end of the game. I know it was supposed to be "Hawaiian Night," but those jerseys were a lot more Jimmy Buffett than Jimmy Borges, complete with a red parakeet embroidered above the words "Beach Bums."
The music was supposed to be of Hawaiian theme, too. The only song I really heard that sounded familiar was "Mele Kalikimaka," although the version they used was a lot more Henry Mancini than Henry Kapono.
Nonetheless, I think the Beach Bums put forth a good effort, even passing out artificial lei to their fans. The crowd up here in Michigan seemed to get a kick out of it, and that's all that really matters.
What made "Hawaiian Night" even better was the fact that we played a pretty good ballgame. Our starting pitcher, crafty righty Adam Rogers, put together one of our better performances of the season, working eight strong innings of scoreless ball before giving way to our hard-throwing southpaw Tristan Facer, who capped the shutout with a scoreless inning of his own as we won 5-0.
Adam's performance was just what we needed after having been swept in our three-game road series against the league-leading Kalamazoo Kings. Our newly acquired DH, Nick Salotti, provided the big blows we needed with a homer to left and a triple to right.
After the game, our radio broadcaster Jason Troop commented that it was fitting that the team with four guys from Hawaii won on "Hawaiian Night." Gered started at second base and contributed a double and a single. Isaac pinch-hit late in the game and hit a ball pretty hard up the middle that was fielded by the shortstop.
Ricky isn't scheduled to start on the mound for us for a couple more days, so his contributions were limited to his chart-keeping skills. I told Jason to just imagine if Ricky had pitched. Maybe we would have had a perfect game.