Results tagged ‘ Cedar Rapids Kernels ’

‘Caps shuck Kernels

capskernels1The West Michigan Whitecaps took two of three games from the Cedar Rapids Kernels in their latest home-stand. The Kernels rolled into Comstock Park with pretty impressive record of  18-6, good enough to lead the Midwest League. In game one, the Whitecaps won 7-2. Austin Schotts and Jake Stewart homered twice in ending the Kernels nine game winning streak. Hudson Randell pitched well and kept the Cedar Rapids offense in check. Brennan Smith would earn the win, though, in relief.

Austin Schotts hit two homers against the Kernels

Austin Schotts hit two homers against the Kernels

In game two, the ‘Caps needed 10 innings to down the Kernels, with Danry Vasquez pounding a single up the middle to score Devon Travis. West Michigan was down twice in the game, but came back to force the extra inning. Jeff Holm went 3-4 on the day, with two RBI’s. Jose Valdez earned the win on the hill, coming in relief of Jordan John.

capskernels3The Whitecaps had a chance for the sweep, but the Kernels avoided that with the 8-6 win. A tough loss for West Michigan, but the high-powered Cedar Rapids offense finally showed up. Devon Travis went 2-5 with a home run and an RBI. Zach Kirksey also rocked a home run, going 2-4 with two RBI’s. Endrys Bicendo took the loss on the mound for the ‘Caps.

capskernels4Photos courtesy of MLive.com

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Twist and Trout

I put this post off, waiting until the outcome of the MVP race, but I did want to congratulate Mike Trout on winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award. He was basically a sure thing after his performance in the 2012 season. Trout was the unanimous pick for the award, as he’s not just the best rookie this season, but some say he’s the best rookie ever. He finished second in the league in batting average with .326, first in steals with 49 and runs with 129, third in on-base-percentage at .399, and third in slugging % at .564. His was pretty good defensively, too, robbing batters of four home runs, and 23 runs altogether. Trout also became the first player to win the MLB Rookie of the Month Award four months in a row. Then you hear him compared to guys like Mickey Mantle and things really start clicking. But with all his stats and steals and defense it still wasn’t enough to edge Triple Crown winning Miguel Cabrera for the MVP Award. It wasn’t all that surprising that Miggy won, I guess what surprised me is that the voting wasn’t a lot closer. So the Angels fans are probably feeling a little jilted, and they have a right to feel so, while the Tigers fans get a little reason to smile after the disastrous World Series. The voting really could have gone either way, though, and fans of both players have a reason to feel their guy is the best. All awards and voting and BS aside, though, nothing can take away the year that Trout had. The guy is 21 yrs-old. I’m sure within the next 20 years he’ll get his due. He’ll give Angels fans and all baseball fans alike some great moments in this sport.

Trout gives high-fives to his Cedar Rapids Kernels team mates after a towering home run!

When I saw him play back in 2010, he was a stand-out at the Single-A level at only 18. We sat in the front row right behind the on-deck circle, and he was nice enough to chat with us before the game started. He seemed pretty humble and had a great attitude about being a top draft pick. Then he hit the first pitch out of the ballpark. He had his own little cheering section, and he made sure his fans got a game ball. The whole game experience in Cedar Rapids was amazing, and watching a talent like Trout made it even better, especially the way he conducted himself. There’s nothing but good things for this guy in the future, and he’ll have a lot of fans rooting for him.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Whitecaps go .500 in Iowa

The West Michigan Whitecaps ended their quick six game swing of eastern Iowa going 3-3, winning the series against the Quad Cities River Bandits and dropping two games to the Cedar Rapids Kernels. The road trip started out rough for the ‘Caps, losing 5-1 to the River Bandits and mustering very little offense. The bounced back to take game two, though, by the score of 2-1 thanks to a suicide squeeze pulled off by Brandon Loy. Loy layed a nice bunt between the pitcher and first, while Chad Wright, who singled to get on base, beat the throw to the plate. Warwick Saupold earned his very first professional victory coming out of the bullpen. The Whitecaps would also win the rubber match, in a wild game where they and Quad Cities combined for 17 walks, six wild pitches, and four errors. Jason Krizan led the offense going 3-3, while catcher Curt Casali had two RBI’s. Starter Tommy Coulier earned the win, despite his bullpen giving up four consecutive walks in the 9th to make it a close one, before retiring the Bandits for good.

The first game between the Whitecaps and the Kernels was rained out, but they made it up the next day, having a double-header on the last day of April. Another rough opener to a series, as the Kernels won the game with a walk-off home run in the 9th. Kyle Ryan pitched a complete game, but suffered the loss, while Casali homered for West Michigan. The ‘Caps would win game two, however, on the back of Patrick Leyland’s 3-run dinger, and Eugenio Suarezs’ 3-5 performance, including a double and RBI. Nick Avila earned the victory, despite giving up three hits and two home runs of his own. In the rubber match to welcome the month of May, the Whitecaps basically had their a$$#$ handed to them. Brandon Loy got the only hit of the day, a double, for WM. ‘One hit…that’s all we got? One G*% D@*^ hit? Don’t worry…no one’s reading….’

Photos courtesy of The Gazette (Cedar Rapids)

Brian Debuts at Fifth Third Ballpark

West Michigan Whitecaps vs. Cedar Rapids Kernels: Fifth Third Ballpark-Comstock Park, MI

It was a beautiful day for baseball, so I packed the kids up and took the long trip back down to Grand Rapids to give Brian his first taste of Whitecaps baseball. This was a little new to him, with a bigger crowd, so I decided to get a harness so the little guy couldn’t just run off on us. He did pretty well, but wasn’t real happy that he couldn’t run free when he wanted to. A couple of the pics will show him pouting a bit, but he has happy to watch baseball, as were Lily and Trevor. I was Sunday, so we were able to get onto the field, but opted to play catch rather than stand in line for autographs. The kids liked playing catch with me and their Papa (three kids at a ballgame is tough, so I’m glad my dad was there to help out, too). It was fun to be on the field, but they wanted to play on the playground there, too, until the game started. It was pretty hot by our standards, so we ended up pouring cold water on each other and the kids had some ice cream to cool them off, too. We got seats at the very top row on the isle because I knew we’d be getting up and around a lot with the little guy. I hate it when people are constantly getting up and interrupting the game, so I wanted to show some courtesy. Even though we were higher up, there’s no bad seat in the house, and kept us out of the sun under the over hang. It was Autism Awareness day also, so the ‘Caps wore special jerseys that were auctioned off after the game. The Whitecaps’ bats were as hot as the weather, as they pounded out sixteen hits in the game. The kids were a little too tired to run the bases after the game, but we had a great time and look forward to more game together. Next month is Star Wars night, so that should give us a memorable night. Final score: Whitecaps 10, Kernels 3.

 

Brian in the bullpen

#28 Rob Brantly

#26 Nate Newman and #35 Billy Nowlin

Photos property of M.I.B.

Ya Just Never Know…

One of the fun things about gearing up for our 2011 travels, is wondering what players we’ll be able to watch who might make it to the big leagues. It takes some players longer to make than others, but some guys just seem to stand out. Last season while in Cedar Rapids, we were lucky enough to watch Mike Trout play, who has been named the top prospect in baseball. His lead-off homer was impressive, but what impressed me more was his attitude. He was nice enough to sign a program for my son who was an Angels fan at the time (he bounces back between the Angels and Cubs..don’t ask). We sat right behind the on deck circle, and our conversation with Mike started when my dad asked him why he had his name and number on his shoes, while his teammates didn’t. He kindly explained that he was their top draft pick and this was part of his deal. He had his own little cheering section which he rewarded with a game ball. It’s nice to see players at this level without the big egos and attitudes. Trout genually seemed gratefull for his fans and to be playing. The next day in DeMoines we saw Hall of Famers Ryne Sandburg again. You really can’t go wrong meeting these guys. We also met some of the Whitecaps players later in the summer, and being a Tigers fan it’s fun to watch these guys progress though the system. So next time you’re travelling by a Minor League ballpark, stop in for a game. Ya just never know who you might see play.


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SWN8.jpgPhotos property of M.I.B.

2010 Baseball Trip: Day 3-Cedar Rapids, IA

Cedar Rapids Kernels vs. Kane County Cougars: Day three had us up early, and backtracking east through Iowa to Cedar Rapids for a noon start. Day games are usually a lot of fun, and this one didn’t disappiont. Vetrans Memorial Stadium is located basically in a residential area, but still had plenty of parking and decent site lines. Of all the ballparks on our trip, this one simply had the best atmoshpere. The workers were all very friendly and everyone just seemed to be happy it was game day. We had great seats behind home plate just off of the Kernels dugout. My oldest son is an Angels fan, so it was easy for me to get some autogaphs from some prospects like Mike Trout and Michael Wing. Trout is a first round draft pick, but seemed very down to earth and was great with the fans. He also homered in his first at-bat. After getting shut out our first few games, it felt good to get a couple of foul balls here. I got two, but gave one away to a little girl. Yeah, I know, aaawwww. The cool thing if you catch a fly ball here, you recieve an honorary lifetime contract with the Kernels. Now I can finally put Minor League Baseball player on my resume. It’s pictured at the very bottom along with the fouls balls I caught in Cedar Rapids and Peoria. If I could choose any ballpark from our trip to visit again, it would be this one. Final: Kernels 8, Cougars 1. Best: The baseball atmoshpere. You fans know what I’m talking about. Worst: No souvenier cups. It’s a small thing, but I like to take the plastic cups home, wash them out, and drink a beer. It reminds me of the games I’ve been to.


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Contract.jpgPhotos property of MIB

Baseball Trip Finalized for 2010: Is this Heaven? No, it’s…

IOWA.jpgI finally got things finalized for next years baseball trip. This might sound obsessive on my part, but where I work we have to have our vacation leave picks submitted by the first of the year. I actually needed the dates and times of games to garauntee I can go. Here’s the rundown.

The Games: Day one of next years trip starts at the college level in DeKalb, IL watching the Central Michigan Chippewas face the Northern Illinios Huskies. I’m really impressed with the college game, and glad we’ve added these to our trip. From there we have to make haste to Davenport, IA to see the Quad Cities River Bandits host the Burlington Bees (Class A). The Bandits home field is right on the Mississippi River, and is gorgeous at night. Day two takes us to Des Moines, Iowa to see the Triple-A Iowa Cubs host the Omaha Royals. Triple-A ball is always a good chance to see future MLBers. Day three takes us back east to see the Cedar Rapids Kernels face the Kane County Cougars. The game’s at noon, so plenty of time to check out Cedar Rapids. Day four will take us to Clinton, Iowa to watch the LumberKings host the Beloit Snappers. Our trip ends on day five, and starts out in Burlington with the Bees taking on the Cougars. From there we’ll head to Peoria to watch the host Chiefs play the Kernels. There you have it-seven games in five days. But the games are only a part of the trip.

Bob Feller Museum: Just west of Des Moines is the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter Iowa. This should have some great memorabelia of the this HOFers career. One piece I know they have on display is Feller’s bat that Babe Ruth used to hobble out onto the field at Yankee Stadium in 1948. We’ll go here on day two before the Cubs game in Des Moines.

A touch of Hollywood: On day three on our way from Des Moines to Cedar Rapids we’ll be stopping in Norway, Iowa. This is the setting of the film The Final Season based on the true story of the high school baseball team there that won 20 state baseball championships despite being one of the smallest schools in the state. It’s a great movie and a greater story. If you havn’t seen the movie yet, I do recommend it for all baseball fans. I believe they just opened a baseball musuem there this year, too.

On day four we’ll be heading north of Cedar Rapids to Dyersville to see the movie site of a film most reading this have seen many times:

‘This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be good again. Oh people will come. People will most definately come.’ -Field of Dreams.

That’s right, Darth, you guys build it, and I’ll be there. The site is open to the public to play catch, take a few swings, or just sit and enjoy the setting. I can only imagine this being some sort of sureal experience. The games mixed in with the other sites should make for a memorable vacation. I’m sure when I get back, though, it will be awhile before I eat any corn.

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