Fans pick baseball
over the Super Bowl

Baseball fans are baseball fans even on Super Bowl Sunday.

It didn't matter to many of the 707 at Les Murakami Stadium yesterday that they were missing an exciting football game between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers. There were, however, noticeably more radio headsets than usual as fans took in their own version of a doubleheader.

Game time of the series finale between Hawaii and No. 5 Texas had been moved back three hours to 4:30 p.m. to avoid a complete conflict. Those choosing to watch the Super Bowl halftime show before heading to the stadium were greeted by a fairly empty H-1 freeway, with plenty of time to arrive before UH's Keahi Rawlins threw the first pitch.

"I love baseball," said Kaneohe's Darryl Shiroma, whose softball game had been rained out yesterday morning.

For Shiroma's friend Shelley Johnstone, it was her first time to watch a baseball game. The sports preferences for the New Zealand native are rugby, cricket and tennis, but "it's a nice day to come out," she said. "I don't care about football."

Robert Pereboom cared more about supporting his alma mater, Texas, than his hometown of Houston. The Kailua resident brought wife Penny and their three young children to support the Longhorns.

"I'm surprised to see this many people here," said Pereboom. "We came to see Texas since they rarely come out to Hawaii. It wouldn't have a made a difference who was playing (in the Super Bowl), although I loved the Houston (Oilers). We would have come to baseball."

Yesterday was the only day available for the Minor B Phillies to be the guest youth team at the stadium. The Kailua National Little League team of 7- to 8-year-olds, coached by Tim Alyward, was missing about half its players when taking the field with the Rainbows for the national anthem.

"But the kids who could make it were excited," said assistant Brian McGwire. "We've been wanting to do this and this was the only day they (UH) had left open. I didn't realize what day it was until a few weeks ago. The Super Bowl is not that big of a deal to me. It's been baseball for me all my life."

It's the same for the Inouye family, who had a vested interest in the game: They are related to Rainbow sophomore catcher Matt Inouye. In the stands were his grandparents, aunt Valerie Inouye, uncle Owen Inouye and cousins Trevor and Travis Inouye.

"We'd be here anyway," said Owen Inouye, who was listening to the football game on the radio.

It was obvious that students living in the dorms above the stadium were tuned in to the Super Bowl.

The loudest cheers heard during the second inning didn't come from the stands when Texas' Drew Stubbs led off the inning with a double down the third-base line. The roar came from beyond the outfield wall as Carolina took its first lead of the game on Jake Delhomme's 85-yard touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad with 6:53 left.

Not everyone could stay updated with the game.

"I wouldn't be here if I wasn't working," said Shane Pfeiffer, working the Dippin' Dots concession stand. "It's the most important game of the year."

To add to his regret for missing the Super Bowl, the team Pfeiffer was rooting for -- Carolina -- lost the game.


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