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Na Koa Ikaika Maui is done for season
August 16, 2011 - Robert Collias
Talked to manager Garry Templeton this morning and he confirmed that Na Koa Ikaika Maui will not play again this season and that every player on the roster has been released.
There are several twists to this story — the team is making strong progress on paying outstanding bills — and Templeton clearly pointed the finger at the Lake County Fielders' organization as a large reason why Maui is finished, at least for 2011.
The Fielders did not make a trip to the Valley Isle for the final home series, which was to have been played Wednesday through Saturday, and now Maui is not going on its final 23-game road trip that was supposed to begin today (Monday) in Lake County with an 11-game set.
One solid quote from Templeton, who said he believes the Maui franchise will be back in 2012, that did not make the cut for my story because of space reasons:
"I think that something needs to be done about it in the winter," Templeton said about the Fielders' situation that ignited Maui's decision not to play again in 2011. "The owners need to sit down with the commissioner and they need to set down new guidelines because that is not supposed to happen."
Templeton was the only Na Koa official to respond to my phone calls on the situation and he spoke his mind, as he has done with class all season.
If Maui is back in 2012, it may not be in the far-flung North American Baseball League that stretches from Maui to Chico, Calif., to Yuma, Ariz., to Alberta (Edmonton and Calgary), to Illinois, to Texas (four outposts in the Lone Star state). Templeton intimated that the rest of the league may not be too excited about making the expensive trip to Maui — the Fielders used the excuse of $60,000 for plane tickets on the day they were supposed to travel as their reason for not doing so, a day after Maui announced over the public address system at Maehara Stadium that the series was on.
While the league announced Monday that it had excused Maui for the rest of the season while allowing Lake County to play several home games against a team called the Kenosha County Fielders that was created over the weekend and is not part of the NAL — clearly an end run to save a taxpayer-funded stadium deal with the city of Zion, Ill., that requires games be played — the league also announced that its entire regular season has been shortened by a week because of travel costs.
The Robert Collins referred to in the Ballparkdigest.com (Kenosha County Fielders) link above is me, that misspelling of my name happens all the time.
Read my story in the paper tomorrow morning, it sheds a lot more light on all of this. More to come, as needed.
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