Hawai`i Stars Series at Maui Cancelled
A four-game series between the Hawai`i Stars and Na Koa Ikaika Maui, scheduled to begin tonight, has been cancelled in a joint decision by the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs and Hawai`i Baseball LLC.
The cancellation was announced on Tuesday on Na Koa’s Facebook page. In a post, owner Bob Young said that the league had expanded its playoff schedule and in order to do that, “the League has asked Maui and our sister team, the Hawaii Stars, to cancel their scheduled four-game series in Maui this week and cut right to the playoff chase in San Rafael at the end of the week.”
Young expanded on that explanation in a phone interview with Big Island Now later that afternoon. “The Pacific Association requested us to play more games against the new entrant of East Bay and Vallejo.” Young noted that East Bay joined the league as a full-time member after Vallejo “collapsed and was reconstituted” with new owners.
“In order to equitably give the playoffs a full run in terms of seeding, it was discussed whether or not Hawai`i and Maui would be willing to come earlier and play…before the playoffs start,” Young said.
A factor that came into play was the recent schedules of both the Stars and Na Koa, both owned by Young and Hawai`i Baseball. Both teams played games in Japan from July 30-Aug.4 and returned to Hilo to play a five-game series against one another. Young said that he wanted to give his teams the best chance to win the league championship.
“The status of both teams were pretty worn out from their trip to Japan,” said Young. “We thought we should take a few days off and accommodate the league’s wishes and do what we had to do.”
An updated schedule of games to reflect the decision was not available on the Stars’ website, HawaiiStarsProBaseball.com.
The decision was especially tough for fans of Maui’s Na Koa Ikaika. The series was slated to be the team’s last home appearances of the season. On the team’s Facebook page, several fans showed disappointment because they already had plans to attend at least one of the games. From Young’s view as the principal owner, losing four home games in Maui is four gate checks that the team won’t see.
“If we had good crowds, it would certainly hurt us. It takes away revenue from us. We have struggled at the gate all year round. We had to weigh our options in terms of the cost, the expense, the league’s request, and what’s really important.
“Unfortunately, this happens in independent baseball. It happened to us two years ago when Lake County didn’t come out and the season abruptly ended,” Young added. “It’s just the way it goes.”
The playoff schedule is expected to be announced after the extra games in California are played. The Stars are fourth in the standings entering Wednesday’s league play with a record of 25-36. They are two and a half games back of Vallejo, who sits in third place with a 22-28 record. East Bay sits four and a half games behind Hawai`i in last place with a 7-27 mark.
Maui is second in the standings, eight and a half games behind San Rafael. Na Koa is 40-25 on the season.