The announcement that the North American Baseball League has canceled the final 23 games for Na Koa Ikaika Maui brings a sad end to the team's season.
The season began unraveling when the Lake County Fielders from Illinois failed to travel to Maui to play against Na Koa in their final four home games.
For whatever reason, Maui's final road trip was then canceled. According to a story in yesterday's Maui News, an NAL release on its website said simply "the Maui franchise has been approved to complete their season at the conclusion of last weekend's final regularly scheduled homestand."
The managing partner of Na Koa, Bob Young, did not return a reporter's phone call for comment on the release. Na Koa manager Gary Templeton blamed the whole mess on Lake County, although it isn't clear why its failure to play here caused the cancellation of the rest of the local team's schedule.
As we wrote here a couple of weeks ago, Na Koa provided some good sports entertainment. Their games against Yuma featured former major leaguer Jose Canseco, who good-naturedly took the boos of the home crowd. Canseco even pitched a few innings (starting one game) during that series.
And, at least during the Yuma series, there were decent crowds here at Maehara Stadium. For the Saturday game of that series, over 1,000 fans showed up.
We hope that this rocky end to the NAL season doesn't mean the end of professional baseball here on Maui. We'd like to see Major League Baseball look at some sort of winter instructional league here in Hawaii again with teams on Oahu and Maui, and perhaps on the Big Island.
In any event, there appear to be quite a few baseball fans on Maui. Surely someone can figure out a way to field a team for those fans to enjoy.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.