It’s a regular refrain for coaches and athletes doing preseason interviews to celebrate “seeing someone new” or “not having to go against ourselves” once actual games are set to begin.
In the case of the Hawaii baseball team this weekend, seeing someone new involves seeing someone old.
The annual alumni game is 11 a.m. Saturday. Admission is free.
No official roster has been issued for the alums yet, but word is knuckleballer Steven Wright of the Boston Red Sox could be on hand to pitch for them.
“Always, always. No doubt,” UH senior Ethan Lopez said of the alums bringing a challenge. “We’re going to be playing against some good dudes. It’s good fun.”
“Casey Ryan’s back,” Lopez said of the right-hander who’s played minor league ball. “He told us he’s going 1-2-3, so I’m excited to see that. Hard to go 1-2-3 against Adam Fogel.” Lopez chuckled.
Former infielder Piikea Kitamura, a first-year volunteer assistant on the UH staff, will likely begin in the UH dugout and make his way over to the alumni side to get some action mid-game.
For his part, coach Mike Trapasso is just hoping to get through the game without injuries (for either side) so the fraternization can begin — followed by a few more days of practice, then the Friday season opener against Portland.
“The fun part’s going over to the Heineken Hangout and having some barbeque and hanging out with all of them,” Trapasso said. “That’s what tomorrow’s about, more than the game itself.”
Then it’s on to Sunday’s Grand Slam fundraiser (5:30 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center). Trapasso said all tables are sold, although more could be added to accommodate late requests.
“It was struggling a little bit, but since the Star-Advertiser purchased a table, it’s gold. So we appreciate that. No, it’s going really well,” Trapasso said. “It’s a collaborative effort. So many people work so hard to put this thing together behind the scenes. And then you see it play out and you say the money we’re able to raise — it’s really impactful to the program.”