Wong Describes 'Breathtaking' Changes to Hawaii After Destructive Lava Flow

The Cardinals second baseman was able to raise nearly $80,000 last season through a GoFundMe to help support his home state.

January 22, 2019 - 3:21 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Kolten Wong experienced a lot of familiar things when he vacationed back in his home state of Hawaii this offseason. He and his wife slept in the same bed of his parents' three bedroom home that he grew up in. But there also some major changes – including a brand new beach he visited which was created by the lava flow when the Kilauea Volcano erupted in May 2018. 

Approximately $480 million was lost as a result of the destructive eruption on Hawaii's main island. Wong was able to raise nearly $80,000 through a GoFundMe to help support his home and says his family was unharmed, but he says the recovery isn't done yet.

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He says TV could not do the wide-spread damage justice, as it looked like a small river of lava, when it fact it was a flow that stretched more than a mile in width in some parts.

"How we look at it is that we don't own the land that we live on in Hawaii, we're just blessed to be living in Hawaii," Wong says. "Obviously you don't expect to see a lava flow like that, but to stand there an appreciate the beauty and the strength that comes off of that, it was awesome. We really got to see history being made and to be able to stand there and to soak it all in, like we say in Hawaii 'the Mana' that comes off of something like that was breathtaking." 

As for Wong's offseason as it pertains to baseball, he's taking a new approach by doing away with "traditional lifting weights" and throwing around as much weight as he could. He's hoping that helps him avoid the nagging injuries that seem to always come up throughout the 162-game season. 

One of the few arguments against Wong, who finished second in the NL Gold Glove voting at second base last year, was that he played fewer than 900 innings at second base. The Gold Glove winner, DJ LeMahieu of Colorado played in 1,115. 

"People are always like, 'What can you do to not get hurt, can you play different?' And I'm like, 'No, I don't want to play different,'" Wong says. "I will take an injury the ways I do because that's how I need to play, that's how I am who I am because I play as hard as I do on both sides of the field." 

Wong says he's been investing in yoga, pilates and some crossfit training to strengthen the smaller muscle groups in his body.