Protestors seeking to prevent construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Hawaii’s most venerated mountaintop got another celebrity boost Tuesday when St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong posted a picture of his new bat on Instagram bearing the engraving, “Handcrafted For ‘We Are Mauna Kea.’ ”

Wong’s post included a personal message: “Excited to swing something that means so much to me!”


St. Louis Cardinals second baseman and Hilo native Kolten Wong swung a new bat in support of Mauna Kea protesters on Tuesday.

Via Instagram

The 24-year-old Hilo native and former Kamehameha Hawaii High School and University of Hawaii baseball star has made a splash in his brief major league career. Called up from the minors in 2013, he played in 32 games, including seven playoff and World Series games. Last year in his first full season, he was named National League Rookie of the Month in May and later hit clutch home runs in the post-season playoffs, helping the Cardinals to wins against Los Angeles and San Francisco.

This year, he’s off to an even stronger start, batting .302 and helping his team to a first place standing in the NL Central division.

Wong is one of several high-profile supporters of the We Are Mauna Kea movement. Actor Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) has been prominent among protesters atop the mountain, seeking to block further work on the $1.4-billion project, while actor Ian Somerhalder (Lost), pro surfer Kelly Slater and others have posted messages of support on social media. Construction remains halted, as state and University of Hawaii officials and Native Hawaiian leaders try to resolve their impasse.

The new bat seemed to agree with Wong on Tuesday: Midway through the game, he was 2-for-2 and had scored a run with the Cardinals ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies 7-2.



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