Na Koa Ikaika Maui And Dumb Debt Crises
August 04, 2011 | 07:34 AMNA KOA IKAIKA LOSES, LOSES THEN WINS!
First the bad news: The Na Koa Ikaika professional baseball team is on an eight-game losing streak, having lost most recently (on July 31) to Jose Canseco's Yuma Scorpions 12-4.
And the really bad news: in early July the 2nd Circuit Court ruled that Hawaii Baseball LLC, the California-based owner of the Na Koa Ikaika team, owes $12,259.53 to Pacific Radio Group (PRG). The money is mostly fees for broadcasting the team's first 11 games this season--money PRG said the team never paid it.
Look, disagreements over contracts and fees happen all the time in business. But the real pain here came from PRG attorney Keri Mehling's court documents, which stuck a knife in the heart of everyone who considers Na Koa Ikaika Maui's "home team."
The money quote appeared in the July 20 Maui News: "Hawaii Baseball is a foreign entity incorporated in California," Mehling wrote in court filings. "Other than conducting games on Maui during the existing short season, Hawaii Baseball has virtually no contacts with Maui or Hawaii."
Ouch! That hurts more than Canseco's Scorpions. Nonetheless, there is good news for Na Koa Ikaika fans--historic news, in fact.
This week the team announced their newest acquisition: pitcher Eri Yoshida, formerly of the Chico Outlaws. This is really big news not because Yoshida is Japanese, but because she's a chick.
"Yoshida, 19, made headlines and impressed the baseball world last summer when she became the first female to play professionally in Japan and the U.S.," stated a joint Na Kao Ikaika/County of Maui press release sent out July 28. "Equipped with a sidearm knuckleball that is considered almost un-hittable when she is on, she has played for the Kobe Cruise 9 of the Kansai League in Japan and then in the Arizona Winter League in the U.S. in 2010 and 2011 and also with the Chico Outlaws last year. She also became the first female pro player to have a hit and an RBI in a professional men's league and her jersey and bat from the 2010 Chico Outlaws were requested by, and are displayed in, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. She began playing baseball in the 2nd grade and credits Tim Wakefield as the inspiration for her 50 mph knuckleball delivered from her 5 foot 1 inch, 115 lb frame."
Since Yoshida used to play for Na Koa Ikaika Manager Garry Templeton, the transition should be pretty straightforward. "I am excited to have Eri back pitching for me again," Templeton said in the news release. "She looked very good against us last week and has worked hard and improved a lot this past year."
Yoshida apparently agrees. "I will always be grateful to the Chico Outlaws for the opportunity they gave me last season and this summer too, but now I will try my best for Maui," she said in the news release. "I am excited to play in Maui for Mr. Templeton and with my old teammates and also because we have family ties to the island and I am very comfortable there."
DEBT DISASTER AVERTED?
That is, of course, a trick question, since in all the presidential and congressional squabbling over the last few months over budget cuts, this nation never teetered on the precipice of catastrophic debt default. Even if there hadn't been an 11th hour budget deal struck, Yale law and political science professor Bruce Ackerman wrote a very compelling Slate.com essay showing that the U.S. Treasury still would have been able to pay the $29 billion debt interest payment that is due in August with the $172 billion in revenue that's coming in this month.
Which means that orange-skinned Speaker of the House John Boehner and the raucous Tea Party caucus that both brought him to power and now complicates his exercise of that power have needlessly scared the hell out of the American people. But hey, isn't this what our government officials do best?
Where would we as a nation be without our elected officials telling us to cower before the threat of Communists, nuclear war, terrorists, government workers, corporate CEOs, climate change, scientists, religious zealots and/or health care reform? To the suits in Washington, whipping up fear IS governing.
But at least, if the debt bomb did blow us all sky-high, we had reliable Governor Neil Abercrombie's hand at the tiller. "Together we are taking a sober look at the possibility of a federal default and the impact it could have on the State of Hawai`i," Abercrombie said in a July 28 news release. "We have a sound plan and are prepared to keep our economy stable. We are carefully managing the state's finances and our local banks are ready to step forward if the need arises."
Hopefully, we will never know what Abercrombie meant by the term "sound plan" and his assurance that banks would "step forward" (the release offered no details). Because I can pretty much guarantee that it would have scared us.
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