Archive for March, 2011

Fan Appreciation

March 25th, 2011
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Hawaii baseball coach Mike Trapasso called with these comments on the Third Base Front Row fans I wrote about today:

“Those guys are incredible. So enthusiastic, and it rubs off on the rest of the crowd and the team. They’re positive and they’re not mean-spirited.”

Graunke to play in Germany

March 22nd, 2011
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Where Are They Now Department:

Sounds like former Hawaii quarterback Tyler Graunke is getting a great opportunity — pro football-wise, as well as culturally. Graunke has signed with the Dresden Monarchs of the German Football League. Graunke said he enters camp next month as the No. 1 quarterback for the Monarchs, who went 6-6 last year and lost in the league semifinals.

“I’m very excited,” Graunke said Tuesday. “I got a call Friday and we finalized paperwork today. I’m at least two-thirds German, and I’ve never been to Europe.”

He had just been released by the Green Bay Blizzard of the Indoor Football League after not playing in the Blizzard’s first three games.

Graunke said he’ll be paid $1,400 a month, plus most living expenses will be covered. “House, car, cell phone, health insurance, dental and most of my meals,” Graunke said.

It’s good to see Graunke get such an interesting opportunity. Sometimes folks forget what a key component he was to the 2007 undefeated regular season for UH. He quarterbacked two wins when Colt Brennan was injured, including the stirring come-from-behind victory at Nevada.

Simply put, without Tyler Graunke there is no undefeated regular season and there is no BCS game for Hawaii. Remember, he also passed for the Warriors’ only touchdown in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia.

A different kind of combine

March 18th, 2011
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What do Benny Agbayani, B.J. Penn, Rich Miano and Jesse Sapolu all have in common?

They all overcame the odds to become pro athletes at the highest level of their games and local sports legends. They, along with other speakers, will be sharing their secrets to character development and success at Saturday’s first event of its kind in Hawaii.

It’s called Character Combine, and it’s primarily for coaches (coaches may also bring team captains and other players age 14 and over). The event is at McKinley High School and starts a 9:30 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m. A $5 fee per person includes lunch and a gift bag.

Character Combine founder and host is Jason Harper, a former college baseball player who became an ultramarathoner and inspirational speaker.

Click here for more information including a schedule and how to register.

Taking chances

March 17th, 2011
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I like to pick upsets in NCAA brackets, especially in the first round. In our office pool, you get points corresponding to the seeding of the team multiplied by the round. That means if you think the committee under-seeded a team, you should probably pick that team to win. It’s a risk and reward thing.

Of course, this could seriously mess up your brackets if you’re wrong. But, as we saw Thursday, it’ll mess you up just as bad if you DON’T pick the upset and a team you picked to go to the final four gets knocked out (we saw this happen to a lot of people with Louisville and a few with St. John’s.

In my upset picks Thursday, I was right on Richmond and Gonzaga. I was wrong on Utah State, Belmont, Penn State and Michigan State. And I missed out on Morehead State. Ended up with 11 out of 16 right, so I’m probably toast already — unless my big play of having Oakland win in the first and second rounds before losing to Duke comes through, then I might be back in the game. I like Oakland because it’s battle-tested against tough big-conference opponents, including a win against Tennessee. It played six other teams that are in the Dance.

Is anybody else on board with Oakland or am I crazy to pick them over Texas and then Arizona or Memphis?

TV or no TV?

March 16th, 2011
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>> Hawaii athletic director Jim Donovan says he’ll decide Friday if UH’s second round CIT game will be televised or not.

I think Donovan should not commit to put this game on TV unless and until at least 7,000 tickets are sold. That’s because I think fans should see this team in person to really appreciate its style of play and energy (which it says it gets from the crowd).

But I think he’s going to put it on the tube anyway – partly because it’s going to make money either way. UH already covered the entry fee for the tourney and will just have to pay a few thousand for travel expenses for Saturday’s opponent, which will be  Air Force or USF.

Plusses: Rights fee, access for neighbor islanders and shut-ins.

Minuses: Smaller number of people buying tickets to attend, less of a homecourt advantage for UH, also less revenue from parking and concessions.

>> Also, while we’re at it, what did you think of the Oceanic telecast – technical quality as well as the broadcast crew of Howard Dashefsky and Lori Santi.

>> More from the broadcasting transition wire: Rainbows radio play-by-play man Bobby Curran will not be available for Saturday’s game. He has a prior commitment to work the state spelling bee, which is live 7-9 p.m. Saturday on Hawaii PBS television and is sponsored by AIO, the company that also owns KKEA 1420 AM, the station that employs Bobby. No word yet on his one-game replacement.

“Obviously I’ll miss doing the Rainbows game,” Curran said. “But in the grand scheme of things the spelling bee is also an important and very worthy event. I’m proud to be a part of it.”