Imagine waking up to an alarm that an inbound ballistic missile is headed your way. Unfortunately for all of Hawaii, that was the very real message they experienced this morning.
“Oh my god man, I was freaking out,” said Kolten Wong, who’s phone started going off with alarms during his breakfast. “Absolutely freaking out…all of my family at home were getting those missile threats and whatnot. I called my brother. This guy was on the beach fishing right now. He was panicking, packing, throwing his stuff into the car. That’s just insane how that is an accident.”
Though false, the alarms went on for about 30 minutes.
“It’s supposed to take only 15 minutes for a missile to hit Hawaii,” explained Wong. “To have that–guys are sitting there scared, freaking out, not sure what is going to happen…it was insane.”
There are no big alarm towers set up in Hawaii, instead Wong compared the alarm system to an Amber Alert.
“Everybody got one around 6 o’clock in the morning,” he said. “They said the whole beach started panicking. Guys were freaking out. Throwing their poles. Throwing everything. Guys were storming off the beach. Just freaking out. What else are you going to do? A missile is supposed to come and take out the whole island. It was insane.”
What is the next step or procedure for Hawaiians when the alarm sounds?
“Pray,” stated Wong. “We don’t have underground shelters there. We don’t have basements. If that thing hits it wipes out everything.”
What is going on? pic.twitter.com/FXyp2uJ1C7
— Kolten Wong (@KoltenWong) January 13, 2018
The St. Louis Cardinals second baseman returned to his native Hilo, Hawaii this off-season to train and just kind of reset.
“Got to go back to the roots, go back to Hawaii, train with the guys that I’ve trained with for awhile,” he said. “You go back to Hawaii and it’s just – you understand where you came from and what gave you the drive to get where you’re right now. The mindset for sure was something for sure that I needed.”
The off-season also allowed for Wong to heal up from the nagging injuries which limited him to 108 games in 2017.
“Good to go,” he confirmed. “Just adding different things to my workout regimen. Not just lifting. I did a lot of Yoga, pilates, things that put your body in different situations that you’re not used to. Some rock climbing here and there. Having some fun, and getting to work out while I’m doing it.”
“One thing I’m going to try do this year is keep the routine that I’m doing during the offseason throughout the season. So I didn’t kill myself working out every single day. I did three days of a week – but I did baseball stuff throughout the whole day, or throughout the whole week. Kind of going into the season I want to continue doing that throughout the season. I think you’re body will stay strong and things will stay where they need to be.”
Besides feeling healthy, Wong is also excited about the return of Jose Oquendo.
“When I found that out I was so excited,” said Kolten. “Oquendo is like that dad figure on the baseball field that everyone has. He’s one of those guys to me. Took me under his wing when I first got drafted. I wasn’t a good fielder – everybody knew that – and he transformed me to the guy that I am. Getting him back, he can take my game to another level, and hopefully get to that pinnacle to where I can call myself a good infielder.”
After the Winter Warm-Up, Wong is heading down to join Oquendo and Paul DeJong to get an early jump on their infield work.
“I figure he’s there already,” said Wong. “Paul is there. Let’s get after it already. I’m excited. Got all the right guys.”
And count Wong in the mix of those who believe Marcell Ozuna was the right guy to add to the Cardinals.
“Bringing that bat into this lineup…it’s exciting man,” he said. “Mike is going to have a tough decision finding out how to put this lineup together. Whatever it is, let’s just let it roll. I think we’ve got a good team and we can do something special.”
“We’ve got some good guys that we needed. Honestly, I didn’t think we were missing a lot last year. That’s not for me to say what we’re missing. Our team was good last year. It had a lot of unfortunate breaks, I felt like. Things that just didn’t go our way. Extra inning games that didn’t go our way. Big hits that got taken away. There are a lot of things that just went down. Adding the guys that we did – just the little corner pieces that we added – it’s going to make this team scary. We have the speed. We have the talent. Now you’re just adding a couple of other guys to solidify this whole thing.”
photo credit: BIll Greenblatt/UPI