Let anyone with talent play in AJA
Since AJA Baseball has again started I would feel remiss if I did not once again expand on thoughts about the fine league.
First, Tom Shigemoto and his volunteers who keep baseball going on Kauai must be thanked for all they do. Since I coached a summer baseball team for 10 years at UCLA I know how much work it is to take care of the equipment, practice, raise money for what it takes to participate, and see to it that there are at least nine players and two umpires there on game day.
The one big exception between our league and the AJA (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) league was that any player who had the ability to participate could play, white, black, red, yellow, brown, male or female; only ability mattered and nothing else. And, in this non-discriminatory world that we are trying to make, this is the way it should be.
TGI’s Nick Celario just wrote a fine article from an interview he had with Kirby Yates, who now pitches for the San Diego Padres in the Big Leagues.
The odds of any player from high school or college making it to the majors is in the millions, and for two brothers from a small island of 70,000 (Tyler Yates also made it to the Bigs) is probably historical — a Sports Illustrated happening. If a newspaper or baseball magazine does pick up on this story, wouldn’t it have been nice to give Kauai winter baseball some credit if that league would be open to anyone and the Yates brothers wanted to play?
Tom, you can only make your league stronger and without discrimination if you allow anyone with the talent to participate. In their wisdom Japan let foreigners play and it has made them far stronger, just as the the NL and the AL have been strengthened with players like Suzuki and Otani playing in them.
For me, there is no downside for letting any boy or girl with the ability play baseball on Kauai and, since the Japanese were smart enough to keep baseball going, it is the only baseball that can be played in the high school off-season.
Glenn Mickens, Kapaa
Lihue Airport needs longer runway
At present, the Lihue Airport has a 6,500-foot runway. This is not much runway to work with. The standard size international runway is 12,000 feet. Honolulu International Airport’s runway is 12,300 feet.
If somehow they could manage to find additional space with the runway, that would be excellent. Maybe more toward the mountain side, Nawiliwili side of the end runway, where Kauai Marriott is located, if there is enough room or space on that side, build more land for the airplane to land on. It will be like the old days, a sharper turn into the runway, but longer length of the runway.
Also on the other end of the runway, the runway angle to the main runway, if there is enough room, use more of the runway extension. Try to fit in 12,000 feet of runway land on the existing land it is on now. I think they could do it. How much will it cost the state? They should try to push for this project on Kauai. I think it will be a good addition to the airport.
Dean Sabado, Honolulu