This year’s addition of the Cedar Rapids Kernels was scheduled to arrive at the Eastern Iowa Airport last night. The entire team and season holds special interest for me. After a long and productive relationship with the Los Angeles Angels (I still call them the California Angels), the Kernels signed a new player development deal with the Minnesota Twins over the off-season.
This brings many interesting aspects to Kernels baseball. First, there is the proximity to the big league club. Let’s face it, it was tough to follow the Angels unless you were an insomniac with the MLB Extra Innings package. I hope this provides a boost in attendance as well as fan interest. The Kernels are already reporting ticket sales for single games coming from the twin cities and Rochester. All good. There is also a great chance that the good people of Cedar Rapids will get to see a big leaguer or two on rehab assignment. I still remember Damon Berryhill, on rehab from the Cubs, when he nearly homered off the scoreboard during a visit to town. Finally, we may get to see some great prospects as the Twins try to develop players who they want to keep in close contact with. That brings me to Byron Buxton.
Byron Buxton was a first round selection for the Twins last year. Not just a first rounder. He was the second overall pick in the draft. That makes him the highest draft pick to ever be assigned to the Cedar Rapids club. Time will tell of course, but everything I read about him says that he is the real deal and destined for greatness. A couple of years ago when I saw Mike Trout play here for the first time, I commented to a co-worker that they should get out to the ball park and take a look quick, because he wouldn’t be her long. He wasn’t and now he’s a star. I can’t wait to see Byron take the field on Thursday.
Who am I kidding? I can’t wait for anyone to take the field on Thursday. It’s been a long, miserable winter and it’s finally over. Spring starts on opening day.