Kalani Simpson


By Kalani Simpson

Sunday, February 17, 2002

Fans will come with winning

WE'VE got faith. That's the thing. It would be hard to find someone who thinks Mike Trapasso isn't the right man at the right time to do the right things to bring back UH baseball. We know it's going to happen, it's just a matter of when. And we know it's not right now. Trapasso knows it's not right now. "I'm the first one to point out to everybody that we are a work in progress," he says.

And so we're patient.

At the box office and the ticket windows and the turnstiles, we're very, very patient.

We'll come to Coach Les Days, and hail a new era and salute our old hero and launch a new one on his way. But then what? We'll catch the highlights on TV, and leave the stadium full of wide-open spaces and scattered, comfortable, reliable regulars.

Everyone believes Trapasso is going to turn things around. Just call them in five years when it happens, and then they'll come to the games.

Trapasso gets a good laugh at this. "I think so," he says. "I can't blame 'em. Particularly the way we played last weekend, they say, ah, 'Yeah, they are building, so we won't waste our money to come out now.'"

Going to a game at Les Murakami Stadium is great, isn't it? You sit where you want, with whomever you want, lots of comfort, no crowding. A seat between you and your neighbor? No problem. Take two. Or 10.

It's so casual. It's so wonderful. Enjoy the game. Enjoy an afternoon in the sun. Or shade. Whatever. Have an extra seat for your nachos. Put your feet up on the back of the seat in front of you. Nobody will mind.

The press box is perhaps the only place in the stadium that is crowded, so I'll write in the stands, trade winds in my face, Diamond Head rising majestically in the distance over the right field fence. The view of the green infield can't be beat. Smell the hot dogs, slurp the saimin. It's the song "Centerfield" come to life.

The perfect family outing, the perfect way to remind yourself that you should love baseball. So perfect, in fact, it's easy to forget that it's just a little bit sad.

This ballpark is a jewel, and there's nobody here.

Trapasso lauds the loyal crowd that makes it to every game, the familiar, friendly faces. He's grateful for what he has, can't say enough about the reception the new regime has received. Some tell him he should campaign for crowds, the way Rainbow basketball coach Riley Wallace has. But it's too early for that.

"Hey, Riley's playing lights out!" Trapasso says. "There should be a packed house."

UH baseball isn't in that league yet, not even close, Trapasso says, though a series win over Pac-10 power UCLA is very encouraging. Yesterday's 11-inning win on a gorgeous day was both exciting and impressive.

And the opener against UCLA? "I don't know if we can play any better than we did (Friday) night," Trapasso said.

Too bad you had to miss it.

Trapasso has to stay patient off the field as well as on. He wants to earn it, he says, and winning will bring them all back. Winning will bring Coach Les' legacy to life again.

See, the thing about Coach Les is, he got this great ballpark built, not just because he had a team that deserved to play in something so beautiful, but because he was going to fill it. And did.

Everybody knows it will happen again. Everyone has faith that Trapasso is the guy to do it. Just ask them.

And just call them when it happens, and they'll come back.

Until then, Les Murakami Stadium is a nice, peaceful place to watch baseball.

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]

© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin