August is here (and already six days in!) which means, of course, that Football is fast approaching. But let's take a moment to appreciate my favorite season of the year first!
Summer '19 has simply been epic and has given me some incredible moments as a sports enthusiast. Here are just a few of those moments.
1. NBA Finals Game 6 - Toronto Wins The Title in Oakland
For the second year in a row I was able to see the O'Brien Trophy handed out. And for two years in a row, it was the road team that walked away with the title.
It was my first ever game at Oracle Arena, known affectionately as "ROAR-cle" to longtime Bay Area hoop aficionados. Definitely a moment I'll never forget as I looked high into the rafters that could tell a million stories. The sports world is ever-evolving; things will be different as they cross the bridge over to San Francisco and new history will be made.
There may never be another venue like Oracle though. So glad I was there to see its final chapter.
You can see more fun pics and videos on my personal Facebook post here.
2. Angels Throw No-Hitter in First Home Game at Angel Stadium After Tyler Skaggs' Death
Just days after the sudden death of Tyler Skaggs, the Angels returned home to a somber Angel Stadium to celebrate the pitcher's life.
Tyler's mom threw out the first pitch - a perfect ball right across the plate - and then his teammates did the unthinkable.
The runs started pouring in from the first inning, 7 alone in that frame and 13 on the night- and two of Skaggs' buddies in the bullpen, Taylor Cole and Felix Peña, combined to NO-HIT the Seattle Mariners.
A team struggling with grief, despair and not to mention a struggling pitching staff throws a NO-HITTER on the night they honor their departed friend!
This was also my first no-hitter game I've ever attended. As a longtime Angels fan, this night will be just as memorable as the postgame celebration in 2014, when the newly-minted AL West Champs circled the field perimeter and sprayed us fans with champagne so we could join in the celebration.
3. Taiwanese Pro Baseball Is Unlike Anything Else!
A tightrope walker who made barely made it from the outfield on his route to the press box, a PA announcer who also works the stands as a cheerleader and goes up in a tiny space ship that elevates behind home plate, boba, fried chicken, beer and other food and drink galore, and synchronized dance moves from just about every single one in the stands are just a few of the wonderful things I experienced at the Lamigo Monkeys game in Taoyuan, Taiwan.
The fan experience is superior for attending pro games in Asia, with Japan and Korea also fun stops I've made to watch Baseball, but the Chinese Professional Baseball League should definitely not be forgotten. It was definitely one of the most intensely enjoyable sporting events I've ever been to. And you can count on a CPBL game making one of our tours in the future.
Never thought I'd be coming to this amazing country until last November when it hit me after a UH football game. I was able to not only discover one of the world's foremost cities in Taipei, but I ventured up into the Alishan Mountains for a bucket list sunrise viewing, drank the world's best Oolong high mountain tea, ate Michelin star cuisine including an entire black truffle sliced over my fried rice at Din Tai Fung, and experienced more and more mind-blowing occasions that make me appreciate this beautiful planet and the opportunities I've been given to explore it.
4. Japan Pro Baseball Still Unforgettable Though!
Before heading to Taiwan, I started in Tokyo, my first stop just hours after landing at Haneda was of course a pro baseball game! I had been to Yokohama for a Nippon Pro Game before, but this was my first at the Tokyo Dome, where the Yomiuri Giant pride nearly blew the roof off.
I need to talk about the jersey giveaway for a sec. Yes, it happens at a lot of pro sporting events, but I've never seen this type of quality for a free shirt. No sponsor logos making it look ugly. No crazy sizes; basically normal Under Armor but just thinner.
The Food. Oh. Man. I can't talk about it or I'll get hungry. But imagine the Shirokiya shops at Ala Moana but even more booths and even better food. Heaven.
Also the Giants fans turned out! It was a Thursday night regular season game, and it felt like the Playoffs. Just love love every minute of attending pro baseball games all across Asia, not only in Japan but in Taiwan and South Korea too!
5. Training Camp Field Access With The Rams
The Rams got us on the field for the final edition of #RamsCamp at UC-Irvine! Mahalo to one of the best punters in the league - and also just one of the best guys! - Johnny Hekker for coming over to chat a little. The team is gearing up for the trip to our Islands to face the Cowboys in a preseason match. Lots of talent returning to this team that made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Now, expectations are much higher as this franchise looks to be one of the most recognizable brands in Sports, with a shiny new stadium on the horizon. We're positive you'll look good from our Club seats right alongside the visiting team tunnel too!
6. LAFC Wins in Portland as Timbers Re-Open Stadium
Was looking forward a whole year for the rematch of my Black & Gold in the Portland. Quite possibly my very favorite city in the US, the City of Roses is also home to Timbers FC, one of the premier teams in the MLS with one of the rowdiest supporter sections. It's safe to say that LAFC is already known the same way, in only the team's second year of existence. And the two clubs have already developed quite the rivalry.
LAFC picked up the 3-2 win, and there was no where else I wanted to be than next to The 3252, the supporter union for the team that I've been apart of even before there was a team.
We've already done a few watch parties, but a game is definitely something we will need to take in on a future Hawaii Sports Fans tour!
BONUS 7. Meeting with Rams President Kevin Demoff
No actual sport was played here but I had the chance to sit in the boardroom with LA Rams President and COO Kevin Demoff and talk about the current and future of the Rams. From the new stadium to Todd Gurley's health and the new RB Darrell Henderson that team drafted to back him up, we had a lot to talk discuss and Kevin literally had an answer for everything. He is clearly an exceptional leader who takes the time to know every facet of his organization, even parts that most COO's wouldn't think about.
Just like the Rams, Hawaii Sports Fans has so much in store for the future. Only 7 1/2 years in existence, we've done so much in so little time, but we have so much more to go.
We hope to have you along for the ride!