CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s completely unscientific. The margin of error might 99 percent.
But the majority of fans talked to last night who regularly attend Cedar Rapids Kernels games think a new affiliate would be a good thing.
“It’d be nice if we could get a team that was close by,” said Jeanette Hamer of Cedar Rapids. “That would be great. Who is going to go all the way out to Anaheim to watch these guys play (in the major leagues)?”
Hamer and her husband, Morgan, are longtime season-ticket holders. Their opinion was shared by others last night before the Kernels’ 4-3 win over Lake County.
The Player Development Contract between the Kernels and Los Angeles Angels expires at the end of this season. The Kernels’ board of directors, the local men and women who own the club, are trying to figure out if it’s best to remain with the Angels, a marriage that has lasted 20 years, or go into the affiliation free-agent pool to see what other options might be out there.
Angels General Manager Jerry DiPoto and farm director Scott Servais were in town last week to make a sales pitch for a renewal.
“I think it’s time to change,” said Tom Kelly, president of the Kernels’ booster club. “It would be good to have an affiliate from the Midwest that the fans can relate to instead of having to stay up until 10 or 11 at night to watch their games. The Angels have sent some good players, except for the last couple of years. But I just think sometimes change is good.”
Many people think the Minnesota Twins would be a good fit for Cedar Rapids. Their PDC with Beloit also expires at the end of the season.
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“We were just talking about that,” said Steve Buhr of Cedar Rapids. “I’m a Twins fans, so I’m a little biased. But I think it’d be great to be with Minnesota. I come out here every time Beloit is here to play. You know, there are six major league teams within a four and a half hour drive of Cedar Rapids. It’d be really nice to have one of those teams be affiliated here. I think it’d be good for the Kernels to reach out to one of those fanbases.”
One longtime supporter of the Kernels who didn’t want to be identified thinks it’ll be difficult for the Kernels to leave the Angels.
“It’s hard to divorce someone after 20 years,” he said. “You can look at this as a divorce.”
Abel Baker and Trevor Hairgrove had RBI singles, and Stephen Tromblee pitched out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the ninth as Cedar Rapids (41-57, 9-19 second half) won for just the second time in 10 games, ending a six-game losing streak. The team play again today at 2:05.
Here is the game boxscore: