Prized local boy breaks trend: picks Rainbows
Baseball guys other than Ernie Banks aren't allowed giddiness -- it's against the code. Mike Trapasso got as close as possible with the news that Kolten Wong turned down a final offer from the Minnesota Twins and will instead enroll at Hawaii and play for the Rainbows.
The UH coach should be excited. Wong could be a landmark recruit. He's already penciled in to start in center field and bat somewhere near the top of the lineup.
Wong can become the best locally produced talent at UH since Trapasso came aboard in 2002.
Fair or not, Trapasso has a reputation for not landing local recruits. Of course, more than a few solid players from the Hawaii prep ranks have played at Manoa the past six seasons. It seems like they're all from Mid-Pacific Institute, a ground-rule double away from the UH campus.
College baseball is the most difficult sport to recruit. The top players have another option, one that is often ridiculous for them to decline. And many of this state's best players haven't done what they needed academically to get into Manoa or succeed there.
Everyone who's seen him play agrees Wong's talent is way above 16th-round quality. That's why the Twins came back with a better deal. But it wasn't enough to pry the Kamehameha-Hawaii star away. Wong said playing in his home state and getting an education weighed heavily.
In three years, the pros will come calling again, and the money could be much bigger.
"I've been telling him all summer he can be greedy. You can do all these things," Trapasso said.
Wong could be a big piece in UH returning to college baseball relevance. But Trapasso said he won't put that on him.
"Now the last thing we need to think is that because he turned down the pros he's a savior," Trapasso said. "I'm going to do what I can to protect him from that."
Some guys can't wait to jump to the pros. I bet Wong walks a lot, and selects good pitches to hit. Patience appears to be a character trait.
» Jim Zorn could have a hard time downplaying Colt Brennan leading the Redskins over the Jets with a late fourth-quarter drive. The cult of Colt is sure to expand membership this week, probably including some reporters hoping to drum up a QB controversy in the capital.
» I fully expect a severe case of swimmer's ear after this:
Bravo for Michael Phelps. But until he does five events one day and five the next, and the king of some country tells him, "Sir, you are the world's greatest athlete," I'll be more impressed with whoever wins the decathlon.
And not just because local guy Bryan Clay's one of the favorites for the gold.
» Delbert Tengan sounded great doing color commentary on the Kahuku-Kamehameha game. And the former Saint Louis coach definitely knows what he's talking about.
But this man should still be coaching somewhere.
» I think UH can win eight or nine football games this fall.
With that being said, we must pass this message on to the AP voter who ranked UH in his or her preseason poll: Snoop Dogg wants back what's left of his stash.