Coach Trap Excited About New Season
Mike Trapasso says he’s excited. The long-time UH-Manoa baseball coach also admits he’s a little nervous, but not for the reasons you might be thinking.
“I’m always more nervous for the alumni game than at any other time,” he tells me. “The alumni game (set for Saturday at Les Murakami Stadium) means the regular season is right around the corner, and I’m hoping nobody gets hurt. We want to have fun, and its great to see all the former players, including some of the guys from the Coach Les days, but I don’t want to hear about any pulled hamstrings or sore elbows afterwards from our players.”
The injury bug plagued the Bows last season when they struggled in the Big West, finishing eighth in the conference race.
“We’re healthy at the start of this year, leaps and bounds more healthy than we’ve been in recent years,” Trapasso says. “We’ve also got some good depth because of our recruiting, and for the first time in a long time we weren’t decimated by the Major League draft after our recruiting efforts. For the first time in three years, most all of our recruits survived the draft, and we’re thrilled with the newness of the roster. It’s going to be an exciting group of guys.”
It’s also going to be an exciting — and very tough — schedule. Hawaii opens the regular season with powerful Oregon, Feb. 13-16.
Also coming to UH this season are Hofstra, Oklahoma and New Mexico State, while the Bows hit the road against non-conference powers Pepperdine, Nebraska, Baylor, Houston and Loyola-Marymount.
“We might have one of the top five strength of schedules in the country,” Trapasso says, factoring in the very tough opponents in the Big West.
“Some might say we’re biting off more than we can chew, but we believe the best way to get our guys ready is to try to play the best competition we can. At the end of the day, if we play well, and because of our strength of schedule and RPI, we’ve got a chance to be in the conversation for the post-season.”
Trapasso also is excited about what’s happening with the radio broadcasts of UH baseball this season. Don Robbs has overcome recent health issues to come back for his 39th season as the Bows’ baseball announcer on ESPN 1420.
“I’m so thrilled that Don is back again,” Trapasso says. “I was a little worried this past season because I know it was a real grind for him, but he battled through it. He’s truly an icon for me, for our program, and for our fans.”
Robbs will do the home radio games while the road games will feature veteran announcer Mel Proctor, who will be doing Hawaii sports for the first time in more than 35 years.
Longtime fans will recall Proctor as a young sportscaster with KGMB-TV in the 1970s when he also did UH football and baseball, Hawaii Islanders and World Football League games. Proctor’s broadcast career took off on the Mainland in the 1980s and ’90s when he did play-by-play for several NBA and Major League teams.
“What an honor for us to have someone of his experience cover us,” Trapasso says. “I look forward to seeing him on the road.”
Robbs and Proctor will be calling out names like Kaeo Aliviado, Stephen Ventimilia, Jarrett Arakawa, Marcus Doi and many others. “We’re going to give our fans a great deal of excitement,” Trapasso promises.
Batter up and play ball!