Posts Tagged ‘Natural Vibrations’

Jerome Williams – Spreading Aloha, One Pitch at a Time

January 1, 2014

When you see Major League pitcher Jerome Williams for the first time, you see a big, strong man with hands the size of a grizzly bear. At 6’3″ and 240 lbs, you know for sure that he’s an athlete, and was likely “bred” somewhere in the Midwest.

And then he opens his mouth.

Bruddah’s first words to me were in pidgin. I loved it. And as we got to talking, his humble and down to earth nature made me feel right at home as if we grew up together back in the day. Just choke Aloha. The big grizzly bear had suddenly turned into a soft teddy bear. 😛

Jerome Williams and author Edward Sugimoto
Jerome Williams and author Edward Sugimoto

Williams was born and raised in Waipahu Hawaii. As a Marauder standout, he was selected, at the tender age of 17, by the San Francisco Giants as the 39th overall pick in the first round of the 1999 Major League Baseball draft. By 21, he made his big league debut – a tough loss against the Philadelphia Phillies – but closed out the year with 88 strikeouts, a 3.30 ERA and winning 7-5 record.

His baseball career has taken him all over the league with stints with the Giants, Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals, as well as all over the world, playing in leagues as far away as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Taiwan. His most recent gig with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was cut short this past off season when the Angels decided not to tender his contract, which actually now opens the door to sign on as a full time starter (Williams’ preference) for a number of interested teams vying for his attention.

I recently caught up with Williams during his recent trip back home to Hawaii.

 

Jerome Williams Interview

 

[Edward Sugimoto] First of all Happy (32nd) Birthday! (Jerome’s birthday is on 12/4/81)

[Jerome Williams] Thank you man, thank you.

[Edward Sugimoto] Did you do anything fun for your birthday?

[Jerome Williams] Well, not yet…

[Edward Sugimoto] Still early?

[Jerome Williams] Still early in the morning. Actually, I goin go see my mom. My mom stay up in um, down Kaneohe side (Hawaiian Memorial Park Mortuary). I’m gonna see my mom today. I always do that every year on my birthday. Go see my mother.

[Edward Sugimoto] Not many people know this, but you’re part Hawaiian.

[Jerome Williams] Yeah.

[Edward Sugimoto] (What’s) Your favorite Hawaiian word?

[Jerome Williams] Da kine (laughs).

Jerome Williams during our interview (Photo Credit: Arthur Betts IV)
Jerome Williams during our interview (Photo Credit: Arthur Betts IV)

[Edward Sugimoto] (laughs) That’s a good one. And what about your favorite phrase in pidgin?

[Jerome Williams] It’s explicit so I cannot say. Nah, most of my friends we always talk and there’s a lot of explicit stuff in it, but sometimes I get to a point where I use it a lot up in the mainland and guys don’t understand so I try not to say nothing.

[Edward Sugimoto] You can actually use it!

[Jerome Williams] I can’t actually use it at all. But like I said, it’s explicit so I can’t really say on air.

[Edward Sugimoto] No worries, no worries. In some what bittersweet news, the Angels decided not to tender your contract yesterday, making you a free agent. Your agent Larry O’Brien has been quoted though as saying that it could be a blessing in disguise because you could start for a number of other teams. What are your current thoughts on that and have you given any thought to a team you might want to pitch for?

[Jerome Williams] Um, you know, I think it’s a good thing for me. The years I was with the Angels I was a swing man. I was in the bullpen and starting, but you know, I really wanted to stay with the Angels. I just bought a home there. Like how you said, it is bittersweet. I felt like I had a new beginning with them and you know right now it’s just a waiting process. I’m a free agent now. There’s a lot of teams I really want to go to. First of all, I want to stay on the west coast. Closer to home, closer to my family. Also too, I want to be at a place where I can have spring training in Arizona (Cactus League). I really don’t like to go all the way down to Florida (Grapefruit League). It’s a long haul all the way out there and the travel for the games and all that stuff. Your closest trip is two hours. That’s the longest trip in Arizona. I just want to try and be closer to Arizona and closer to home.

[Edward Sugimoto] You’ve had a lot of twists and turns in your baseball career taking you all over the world (including stints in Puerto Rico and Taiwan). At any point, did you ever feel like giving up?

[Jerome Williams] Um, I want to say probably in 2008. 2007 I was with the Nationals and in 2008 I couldn’t find a job. I couldn’t find a job anywhere so I played independent ball. And the year I played independent ball, I thought I wasn’t going to make it back at all. But my wife and kids and my family, they always supported me so that year I got picked up and then I went to Puerto Rico to play winter ball. I got picked up by Oakland and then that next year I went to Taiwan. And then I went up and down playing from like I said Taiwan, Puerto Rico for winter ball, Venezuela for winter ball, Mexico for winter ball, so you know, I’ve been all over the place to try and get back to where I needed to be and fortunately, I got picked up by the Angels when I was in Independent ball in 2011.

[Edward Sugimoto] It was a good thing you didn’t give up because you had somewhat of a renaissance in your career.

[Jerome Williams] Exactly. All that hard work, everything that I’ve been through, it made me stronger.

[Edward Sugimoto] For those who don’t know, you wear a pink glove when you pitch. Can you talk a little bit about what that represents to you?

[Jerome Williams] When I first got drafted, my mom was alive. And then in 2001 my mom passed away from breast cancer so at that time I wanted to honor her and wear a puka shell necklace cause she actually gave it to me. But as the years went on, I got bigger and the necklace got smaller (smiles), so it broke. But in 2010 when I was in Taiwan, I was on a trip up there and I was real flashy with gloves out there. They’re real flashy with it. And the first time I went by a store, I seen a pink glove and I told myself I was going to get one. So that next year, 2011 would’ve been 10 years (since the passing of his mom) so I just wanted to pay tribute to my mom so I wore a pink glove. That’s what the pink glove represents it represents my mother who passed away with breast cancer. I wear it every day on the mound. The first glove I had that I brought to the big leagues, I still have it. I don’t use it anymore because I got another contract with Woodz. They gave me a contract (smiles). I’m the first non-Taiwanese player to (be) sponsor(ed) (wearing) their gloves in the major leagues so I’m pretty thankful for that. Just by using the pink glove it shows awareness of breast cancer. I know some people know that the MLB, they do breast cancer days. Breast Cancer day is every day for me.

[Edward Sugimoto] Do you think you’re going to start a trend with other pitchers?

[Jerome Williams] Well, if that trend starts, I’m the original guy to do it so hopefully I can get recognized for that first, and then people can do it.

[Edward Sugimoto] Your name, your moniker on Twitter and Instagram is @pinkpuka57. You mentioned the glove and the puka shell… Is that kinda where it came from?

[Jerome Williams] That’s how it came about. In the beginning when I first got called up, like I said, I wore the puka shell necklace and a couple of the guys on the team used to call me, that used to be my nickname is “puka” so that’s how they knew me as. And then once I had the pink glove and everything and then my number (57), then I was like you know what, I might as well put all those three together and make it just one.

Jerome Williams during our interview (Photo Credit: Arthur Betts IV)
Jerome Williams during our interview (Photo Credit: Arthur Betts IV)

[Edward Sugimoto] What is your typical day like back here in the islands?

[Jerome Williams] It depends. I know my wife and kids, they’ve been here a lot, so we try and hit up some places to go eat. The stuff that we don’t have up in California. The first day I arrived, I went straight to Jackie’s Diner in Waimalu. And then, last night, I took my wife to Shiro’s (Saimin Haven) in Ewa. The other day I went to Highway Inn. Highway Inn, I used to live right across the street from there. So we just try to hit up the places that we know we can’t get out in California and also too, just try to spend time with family and friends. Usually on the weekends and even during the week, friends, they come to the house, or I actually go to them. They play softball at Waipahu Rec Center or at CORPs. They ask me sometimes if I want to go play with them, and I play with them! I actually try and give back to the guys that actually gave back to me. That’s the true friends that I want to see. That’s the true friends that I want to hang out with. Sometimes I’ll go and see one of my good friends Bubba from Rebel Souljahz. They were born and raised in Waipahu and I remember when they were little kids. I always try and support them. The other night, I went to Republik to support Maoli and Jordan T. So I met those guys too. You know I just want to try and support anybody that’s from Hawaii that’s doing well and also too my family and friends.

[Edward Sugimoto] What are your favorite non baseball related hobbies?

[Jerome Williams] For some odd reason, everybody looks at me and they don’t think electronics, but I’m an electronic freak. Right now, I have all of my kids all on the electronics. My four year old knows how to use an iPad from left to right. And, actually, he knows how to do Minecraft. I don’t even know how to do Minecraft! So I got my kids doing Minecraft, I love computers, I love music. I like anything with any electronical type of things. Sometimes I like to do my car, like speakers, integrate my iPod into it so I’m really big into that. And then also too I like to play basketball but I can’t play basketball because I’m under contract. And my wife is like you don’t need to play basketball right now because you’re a free agent and if you get hurt then, next thing you know, you can’t play. I’m kinda pissed off about that. That’s the type of cardio I like to do, but I know how basketball is here, especially outside, and especially of what I am, people would probably want to try and hurt me.

[Edward Sugimoto] You mentioned your iPod. What’s on your iPod right now… Some of your favorites?

[Jerome Williams] It goes from electronics to dub step to reggae to Hawaiian music, hip hop, r & b, rock, country, I mean everything. I just looked at my computer because I put a 1 terabyte hard drive inside my computer and right now, on my iTunes, I have 316 gigs of music. So it’s equivalent to almost 55,000 songs. I have all that on top my computer and I showed my dad and my dad was like “Why the hell do you need all that music? You don’t even listen to it.” And I was like “No, trust me, I’ll listen to it.” But it’s cool to have those types of music because maybe one day, you want to try and browse through it and you’ll be like “Oh dang I used to listen to that when I was in high school.”

[Edward Sugimoto] Yeah, brings back memories.

[Jerome Williams] Yup.

[Edward Sugimoto] You mentioned Jordan T… Any other favorite Hawaiian bands?

[Jerome Williams] You know Jordan T, Maoli. Who else you got? Iration, of course Rebel (Souljahz). Some of the newer stuff, I really don’t listen to cause we don’t have that access up in the mainland but when I do come down, I always try and help them out, I always try and listen to it. I’m really an old school guy with the Hawaiian music. I can go back to Natty Vibes (Natural Vibrations), go down to Kapena, Hui Ohana. Hui Ohana is one of my favorites because that’s what my mom used to dance to. She used to dance hula and there’s one song I always listen to when I feel down and out. It was a song that my mom used to dance to called Sweet Lei Mokihana. Actually I listened to that song on my first win in the major leagues after I came out of the game because it soothes me and it always reminds me of my mother.

[Edward Sugimoto] You are one of only a handful of Hawaii bred baseball players in the Major Leagues so the fraternity is pretty tight I’m assuming. How often do you get to chat with people like Vic (Shane Victorino), Brandon League, and Kolten Wong, etc.?

[Jerome Williams] It’s kinda hard to talk to Brandon and Kolten because they were in the National League at that time, and I played Vic twice a year, I played him one time in Boston and one time at home in Anaheim, but whenever I get the chance, I always want to try and reach out to them. When Kurt (Suzuki) and Kila (Ka’aihue) was in Oakland, I talked to them almost every time because they’re in the same division. It’s a funny story because every time I talk to them pidgin comes out. So one of the guys on the team, LaTroy Hawkins, actually came up to me and was like “Jerome, are you from Hawaii?” and I’m like “Yes.” and he was like “Well, I want you to talk to Kila and Kurt right now. I want you to talk to them right now just like how you talk back at home.” OK, so we started talking and he kinda actually stopped me. And he was like “Jerome, I don’t understand what you said, but from what you did say, I know you’re from Hawaii.” I’m like, “OK, I told you guys that!” Because everybody thinks you know I’m black, but they don’t believe that I’m from Hawaii. I was born and raised here, born and raised in Waipahu, everybody don’t believe that. But getting back to what you said about all the guys, yeah, it’s a tight fraternity and we always want to try and see each other or try and talk to each other or give each other information. I don’t know if you guys were reading things on Twitter when we had the World Series. You never found that. That’s the first time ever you had two Hawaii guys in the World Series playing against each other. I was pulling for Vic because me and Vic, we got drafted with each other and I knew him for a long time. Kolten…

[Edward Sugimoto] Didn’t play that much anyway…

[Jerome Williams] Well he did play a couple times, a couple times he did good and the one time he did bad, but you know what. At least he had the opportunity to get there. I mean, I never got an opportunity to get there. I’ve been playing for, since I was like what, my first year was in ’03. I’m happy for them getting there and especially for Kolten. He’s gonna have the opportunity to play second (base) now for the Cardinals. Hopefully he can shine and do well too.

[Edward Sugimoto] And finally, do you have a word for your fans out there?

[Jerome Williams] Awww man, fans. Shoot. I know you guys follow me on Twitter and Instagram @pinkpuka57. Thanks for all the support you have done for me. I always try and give back to Hawaii any way I can and this is one of the ways I want to give back, saying thank you to you guys. It’s been a long road for me and I know you guys know my story. Every time I come back I always want to try and do something for Hawaii. This is my way of saying thank you. Thank you to everybody and um, just keep supporting me. Like I said, follow me on Instagram and Twitter @pinkpuka57. Aloha. Thank you.

Jerome Williams and photographer/videographer Arthur Betts IV
Jerome Williams and photographer/videographer Arthur Betts IV

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Upcoming Events to Help Japan

April 4, 2011

As some of you may know, my parents had just landed in Japan and were en route to their hotel when the massive earthquake occurred last month. All of my immediate family members also call Japan their home. Needless to say, any time anyone is doing anything to help those victims of the tragedy, I am all for it. Below are a few upcoming events happening locally that are doing their part to help. Please support if/where you can. Much love!

Kokua for Japan

Kokua for Japan

In yet another demonstration of All the Things We Are, Oceanic Time Warner Cable is stepping up to the plate and co-producing this benefit concert with Clear Channel Radio Hawaii to benefit the American Red Cross for their efforts with the Japanese Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Disaster Relief. Taking place on Sunday, April 10th from 12pm-5pm at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, tickets are $15 and can be purchased through the Honolulu Box Office at 808-550-8475 or through their web site: honoluluboxoffice.tix.com/Event.asp?Event=351943 . Entertainment includes Willie Nelson, Michael McDonald, Mick Fleetwood, Cecilio & Kapono, the Brothers Cazimero, Kalapana, Amy Hanaialii, Na Leo, John Cruz, Natural Vibrations, Robi Kahakalau, Cecilio & Kompany, ManoaDNA, Eric Gilliom, Mailani, Taimane, Go Jimmy Go, Jerry Santos, Gregg Hammer Band, Loretta Ables Sayre, and Kenny Endo Taiko. For more information, please visit KokuaforJapan.com .

Helluva Rides “Nippon O Sukuou” Kokua for Japan Charity Car Show

Helluva Rides Nippon O Sukuou Kokua for Japan Charity Car Show

Some of you may know & recogmatize “bB” as a commenter on this blog. Well, on a recent trip to Maui, bruddah generously gave me a bunch of mangoes from his yard. So giving yeah!? During our brief conversation, he mentioned this event that he was helping to put together for the racing/car community to rally around and I was like “Send da info ova so I can post um up!” So here it is! His event is on Sunday, April 17th in Kapolei at Podium Raceway (91-1085 Lexington St – Bldg 1844) from 10am-3pm. With each $10 donation, you will get Nippon O Sukuou stickers, which translates to “Let’s Help Japan”. For more information, check out their Facebook events page here.

Heart & Soul Live Aloha Benefit Concert

Heart & Soul Live Aloha Benefit Concert

My friend and old Kaiser High School schoolmate Jody Kamisato is part of a band named Heart & Soul who has performed numerous times in Japan. They are in the beginning stages of planning a concert to help benefit Japan. Why? In Jody’s words, “Japan has been so good to me… Need to give back & share the ALOHA!” I don’t really have a lot of info about the concert yet, but you can follow their progress for the concert on their Facebook Fan Page here.

Of course, you can also donate to the American Red Cross directly here or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Shoots den! Have a great week y’all!


Reminder: Don’t forget to check out my newest AroundHawaii.com article on Cafe Kaila: “Cafe Kaila – The Cozy Cafe You MUST Try-la“!

Cafe Kaila - The Cozy Cafe You MUST Try-la
Cafe Kaila – The Cozy Cafe You MUST Try-la


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Last Minute Christmas Shopping? Duck Soup!

December 1, 2006

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Content for this article is very dated. Many links will not work.]

If you’re anything like me, your brain has not yet started to fathom the fact that Christmas is right around the corner. Still hazy from the turkey leftovers that seem to return in every form and fashion, you convince yourself that there’s still planny time to do your shopping.

The reality is that there isn’t. C-Day: Monday, December 25, 2006 is like, right around the corner! Holy Kris Kringle, Batman!

Lucky for you, The Ed is here to save you and your valued relationships yet again. Come with me as we explore a few, last minute Christmas shopping options for us berry belated individuals.

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Shop.AroundHawaii.com

Shop.AroundHawaii.com
If you click the Marketplace button on this site, you’ll reach AroundHawaii.com’s Marketplace, an online shopping site for chic Hawaii products. No tiki torches or geeky aloha print shirts here… Just hip apparel and entertainment goods dope enough to give as gifts to locals and locals-at-heart.

Powered by our friends at e808, the selection of truly “local” products is mind-boggling. You can purchase apparel from Kai Clothing, Maiden Hawaii and even exclusive stuff from the Duke Kahanamoku collection, among others.

Kai Clothing Special!
During the month of December, BUY 3 KAI CLOTHING TEES, GET THE 4TH FREE!
(Purchase 4 Kai Clothing tees, and within five business days, 1 tee will be refunded back to your credit card. You will receive an emailed credit receipt within five business days.):: BUY 3 GET THE 4TH FREE! ::

 
And what about local kine books like “The 50 Greatest Hawai`i Music Albums of All-Time,” “Israel Kamakawiwo’ole ‘IZ: The Songbook Collection’ Sheet Music,” “Eddie Would Go,” “Pidgin To Da Max,” or cookbooks from our great island chefs: Sam Choy, Roy Yamaguchi, Alan Wong, Dave “DK” Kodama and Elmer Guzman.

Not enough? How about the cheapest local CDs around for $11.98!? You can find CDs from your island favorites like the Makaha Sons, Israel Kamakawiwoole, Jack Johnson, Jake Shimabukuro, Kealii Reichel, Kalapana, Natural Vibrations, Hapa, Keahiwai and more

How about DVDs from Rell Sunn, Israel Kamakawiwoole, Jake Shimabukuro, Augie T, Bu La’ia, Rap Reiplinger, Mel Cabang, Andy Bumatai and Da Braddahs or miscellaneous goodies like Coffees from Hawaii, Island Home and Kitchen products, Stickers & Things and Calendars from Kim Taylor Reece? Yep, these are all available from the comfort of your own home, but be sure to order early! With the Christmas rush, e808.com recommends ordering before the following dates in order to get your products delivered by Christmas:

Order by:

  • 12/15 via Priority Mail or
  • 12/18 via Express Mail

 

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Oceanic Mall

Oceanic Mall
Don’t have a computer? Why not give the Oceanic Mall on Digital Channel 001 a whirl? Powered by Fulfillment Werks, the Oceanic Mall empowers you to browse products from popular merchants around the island through the magic of your digital cable enabled television.

Merchants like McCully Bicycle, Paradise Florists, SWAM (Shiroma’s Wine and More), Island Mall, Wholesale Unlimited and RainBowTique offer a bevy of products that you can browse through and ultimately order through a posted telephone number. Phase 2, with real time credit card transaction through your TV is currently scheduled for 2007. To get to the Oceanic Mall,

  1. Tune to Oceanic Digital Channel 001
  2. Select Marketplace
  3. Select Mall

Don’t have Digital Cable? Call (808) 643-2337 to order today.

Jan Nadamoto of Fulfillment Werks also suggests placing your order at least 2 weeks prior to Christmas in order to receive your products in time for the holidays.

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Oceanic.com Marketplace

Oceanic.com Marketplace
Similar to the Oceanic Mall on Channel 001, the Oceanic.com Marketplace allows you to browse from the UH RainBowTique and Wholesale Unlimited product lines – using your Internet connected computer – and place orders using a posted telephone number. Secure, online ordering is scheduled to become available shortly after the Oceanic Mall version.

The Oceanic Food Court

The Oceanic Food Court (also in the Oceanic.com Marketplace), however, is fully interactive as we speak. Just punch in a few details about your Oceanic Account or come here after logging into MyAccount and BAM! you’re added to the mix… with essence! Choose items from Cybee Restaurant’s or Flamingo Pearl City’s or Pizza Hut’s menu and have them delivered after placing your order online. But Ed, what does having food delivered to me have to do with my last minute Christmas shopping? Ah, details. Let’s just call it a Christmas present to yourself and move on shall we… ? 😉

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Actually, that’s pretty much all I’ve got to report to you for this month regarding last minute Christmas shopping through Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s array of products and services. Well, you can always, as they say, give the gift of cable… which ranges from Digital Cable Service, Road Runner, Digital Phone, DVR, etc. Oceanic’s offers for the month of December are as follows FYI (find the complete details on these at whatsnew.oceanic.com):

  • Order Road Runner or Digital Phone and get HBO and HBO On Demand for $7 more per month for the first 6 months.
  • Order Road Runner and get the First Month Free
  • Order Digital Phone and receive Free Installation and Your First Month Free
  • Order DVR Self-Install and get the First Month Free
  • Get DVR for $4.95 per month for 6 months.

Call 643-2337 to order any of the above for yourself or as gifts.

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One last hint for you extremely late gift givers… Once you pass the cut-off dates mentioned above and start sweating in your shorts about what to do, why not give the electronic superstores a looksee. Many of them, like BestBuy and Circuit City, have In-Store pick-up options so you can browse for and place your order online, and then physically pick it up without having to go through the whole rigmarole of looking for the product at the store and standing in line to purchase it.

Good luck with your shopping folks… Which reminds me… I have to get crack-a-lackin’ on mine! Yikes! Have a happy holiday season with your friends and family gang. I’ll see you here again next year!