Kalani Simpson


By Kalani Simpson

Tuesday, June 12, 2001

A sunny day spent
with the national pastime

AH, a shady spot on a sunny day in the first week of summer. Spending a few hours in a park filled with kids and green, green grass.

And a nice cool breeze.

And baseball.

The shouts of kids at play. There are hundreds of the little menehune-sized buggahs. Are they six? Seven?

There are coolers and aunties and rubber slippers.

A rainbow of shave ice.

Nice uniforms, with names on the back:

Ramos. Kaiwi. Correa. Nishimoto. Chun-Ming.

A high pop-up, and three players crash spectacularly, Bad News Bears-style, followed a few batters later by an unassisted double play to end the inning.

Whoooooh! (Safe sign.) Awwwwww!

(Another safe sign.) Hahahahahahahahahaha!

The umps are volunteers.

And they don't wear masks and chest protectors. They wear big floppy hats.

And bad calls are followed by laughter.

Because it's still just a game, and it's fun to be out on the first week of summer. For some baseball. And some time in the park with the warm sun and the cool breezes and the green, green grass.

A line drive right to the third baseman. Nice catch for an out. He needs to take a step to his right for a double play. But he doesn't know that. And the runner gets back in time, and is safe.

But the third baseman's grandma cheers.

Good job!

Lum. Nomura. O'Leary. Baba. Yasui. Perreira.

By now the coaches have finally figured out how to pitch. Slow and steady and across the plate, don't you remember? Did you ever hold the bat out to show the pitcher where to aim at like this?

The players do deliberate, emphasized, sample swings to show them, and now the coaches are getting it, and now the players are starting to rip the ball.

Scrambles in the outfield, followed by long throws and shouts of encouragement.

ANOTHER BAD CALL, and the fans' "awww" is followed by laughter. Because the kids don't care. And the coaches giggle, heading into the dugout. It's hard to be too serious while wearing surfer shorts.

A great catch, and everyone claps. A few scream.

And a boy walks by wearing a Jackie Robinson T-shirt.

Young Yamamoto wears No. 82. A great baseball number.

A close play at third. A glove tag in the face. He's out. Some tears and a high five.

The ball bounces, and the glove goes down, but somehow the ball is still bouncing. Into the outfield. Where it happens again. And the runners, at each base, have to be told to run again.

"Ovah!" No. Warning track power. And off the glove. But a nice throw to second base.

Cabral. Alapai. Aquinaldo. Kalaau. Chu. Hogan.

A controversial play. And half the crowd laughs it off, but one lady is angry. "No be juicing the game," she says. And she means it. She is serious.

It's time to go. This is starting to get too much like real sports.

And it's better to remember it as a shady spot on a sunny day in the first week of summer. Where kids played baseball in the park with the cool breeze and the green, green grass.

Kalani Simpson's column runs Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
He can be reached at

E-mail to Sports Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin