He'll be keeping his trap shut
Psst! Pass the word — but do it quietly — that the University of Hawai'i baseball team has the best road record in all of NCAA Division I.
For all their mileage — and the Rainbows have been accruing frequent-flier points at a faster pace than Barry Bonds picks up walks — the 'Bows are 13-2 away from the comforts of Les Murakami Stadium. That's an .867 winning percentage that is touted as the best in the nation.
UH's luggage might take a beating with 38 bags delayed on the front end of their last road trip and 18 limping home late on the return leg, but not the 37-12 'Bows.
Quite remarkable, really. But it's not something you'll hear UH coach Mike Trapasso hollering from the top of the dugout steps. Barely an acknowledgement, actually. Especially this week.
For the Rainbows today in San Francisco open their final, telltale week of the regular season, where they have played the entire month of May ... on the road. Then, comes a weekend series at San Jose State. And, Trapasso is, well, a little superstitious about these kind of things.
Just as you wouldn't catch him saying anything to one of his own pitchers spinning a no-hitter, Trapasso is being circumspect about this on-going gem, too.
If silence was golden on the topic of the 'Bows' return to the national rankings last week, then the road wonders have him all but lock-jawed. In public at least. Behind closed doors or within whispering distance of a member of the NCAA selection committee, you better believe Trapasso will talk up a storm about his team. But with pens poised and tape recorders on, you get the loose-lips-sink-pennants silence.
As Trapasso put it yesterday before boarding a bus to the airport, "you know me well enough already that when things are going well I like to talk about them even less."
And, things have been going exceedingly well. The 'Bows, a half-game behind Fresno State in the Western Athletic Conference standings, have won 12 of their last 13 and, when it comes to road games, are even running ahead of the 1980 team that went 14-4 and was the College World Series runner-up.
Along with steady pitching and solid defense, the Rainbows like to think that part of their success on the road stems from simply not thinking about it. "We try to keep it simple," Trapasso said. "It is about focusing on playing baseball and not worrying about anything else."
So, for now, with the final week of the regular season unfolding on the road, mum is the word.
Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-8044.