Apr. 15—Insurance professionals Jose Baeza and Martha Baeza have full coverage of the University of Hawaii baseball team.
The Baezas, who live in West Jordan, Utah, have been resilient in following their son’s games during his five-year UH career.
“The support system is huge, ” said Alex Baeza, the’Bows’ starting first baseman.
Through Alex’s high school years, his parents never missed a pitch.
“We knew he was going to go off to play in college somewhere, ” Jose said. “Never really thought he’d be 3, 000 miles across the Pacific. It was a little bit of a shock.”
But the Baezas were determined to continue to root for their son. Martha signed up for Twitter, following any account associated with UH baseball.
They set up Apple TV to show streaming on the big screen in their living room. They also listened to audio of the games on their laptops, and read play-by-play on their cells and iPads.
They also learned that streaming is several seconds behind real time. “He had a walk-off (double ), and people started texting us right away, ” Jose recalled. “We looked at our phones and realized he had a walk-off hit, but it hadn’t happened on the TV yet.”
The next day, Jose, who owns an insurance company, decided to spice up a meeting. “As a dad, you kind of brag a little bit, ” Jose said. “When he had the walk-off double, I played the replay in one of my meetings for everybody to see. It was pretty cool.”
During pre-pandemic times, the Baezas played host to viewing parties that numbered as many as 25 guests.
“We had neighborhood people who came over to watch, ” Jose said. “People who have known him since he was a little kid. Friends of mine. Co-workers. Neighborhood friends. Ex-teammates. … I’d smoke some meat in the Traeger, some pulled pork, burgers, nothing specific. Whatever we could throw together.”
During the pandemic, the parties were reduced to mostly family members.
Jose and Martha have made several trips to Honolulu to watch UH games. During last year’s visit, Jose worked remotely from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m.—9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain time. “I closed up the computer, went to hang out in Waikiki, and then watched his games, ” Jose said. “I was like, ‘wow, how do I do this permanently ?'”
The Baezas have attended most of UH’s games on the mainland. They have traveled to Columbus, Minneapolis and Nashville for nonconference games. They departed Nashville a day before a tornado struck downtown. They will travel by car or plane for games in California. For games in Southern California, they stay at Jose’s parents’ home.
They did not plan on attending last week’s series because UC Riverside was not allowing fans into The Plex. But then Jose received an email noting many UCR parents watched the games from a neighboring park.
“I went on Google Earth to look at the park, ” Jose said. “I said, ‘OK, it looks like we should have a good view.’ We took a chance and decided to drive down there.”
The Baezas departed on Thursday evening, arriving in Riverside at 2 p.m. Friday—four hours before the first pitch. They found a spot on a hill behind the fence in right field, a clear view of first base.
Alex recalled receiving a text from his parents saying they would be at the game. “He didn’t think it was true, ” Jose said.
Alex said : “They pitched a tent, and brought the dog, too. It was a little family vacation. They got to watch from right field, too.”