How You Can Watch Major League All-Stars in Action in Hawai‘i
Some MLB stars are stopping by the islands on the way to Japan. You have two chances to see them bat up against the best.
Left to right: duane kurisu, jim small, keith amemiya at the MLB All-stars press conference.
Photo: David Croxford
I first became a baseball fan during the Todd Takayoshi and Billy Blanchette years at UH Mānoa, when coach Les Murakami used to make the deliberate walks to the pitcher’s mound in the stadium that did not yet bear his name. This November, Les Murakami Stadium will host some major players in the Major Leagues in two exhibition games open to the public.
The 2018 Japan All-Star Series will be heading to Japan and, for the first time, stop in Hawai‘i. The 28 players will bat up in two workout games in front of fans, work on a community service project at Kahauiki Village and meet local kids at an invite-only Play Ball clinic. The event is thanks to a partnership between Major League Baseball and local company, aio, the parent company of HONOLULU Magazine.
The only event open to the public, the workout games, will be at Les Murakami Stadium on the UH Mānoa campus. Saturday, Nov. 3 the game will be 1 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4 the All-Stars will play 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tickets for the Major League Baseball All-Stars exhibition games are available on hnltix.com.
“The game of baseball has received so much from the islands here,” said Jim Small, vice president, Asia Pacific for Major League Baseball. “We’ve had great players, Shane Victorino, Kolten Wong. We’ve had great teams, you know the three teams from Little League Baseball in Hawai‘i that have won the championships including this year, the team from Honolulu will be joining us at workouts. We’ve had great memories—the 1997 games between the Padres and the Cardinals that featured three, at least by my count, three Hall of Famers. So, we’ve gotten so much and this is our chance to allow and to create an opportunity for our fans here and for our players to interact and to come here to a place that loves baseball.”
Clockwise starting from top left: Yadier Molina, Ronald Acuna, Eugenio Suarez, Rhys Hoskins, Chris Taylor, Carlos Santana and Whit Merrifield will all play in the exhibition game at les murakami stadium.
Hawai‘i baseball fans will be able to see Marlins manager Don Mattingly lead the team which includes: catcher Yadier Molina, who announced he will retire from the Cardinals after the 2020 season; Braves Ronald Acuña, a National League Rookie of the Year favorite; Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez; Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana of the Phillies; Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield; and Dodgers infielder/outfielder Chris Taylor. The rest of the roster will be announced toward the end of October.
The Play Ball clinic for the players and kids ages 5 to 12 years will be the first held in Hawai‘i. One of the goals for the nonprofit Play Ball is to introduce more first-time players to the game and organizers made a request for the sessions here.
“We would like to invite 50 children who have never played baseball before. Specifically they asked for some children from Kahauiki Village,” says Duane Kurisu, aio founder and chairman and the driving force behind Kahauiki Village, a plantation-style community that provides housing and support for homeless families. The rest of the kids for the Play Ball event will be by invitation only. Kurisu says they will be asked not to bring equipment.
“It’s an interesting camp because you don’t have to use a glove because they’re actually going to use a plastic ball,” Kurisu said. “I asked ‘Is it really going to work for the older kids?’ And they said absolutely.” Kids will leave with a gift from MLB—a bat and ball from Franklin equipment.
Tickets for the exhibition games are $25 for the lower level seats, $15 for the upper level seats on hnltix.com.