Minor League Sports

The Cedar Rapids Kernels will play baseball again ... some day

Club has had 5 weather postponements, played fewest games in Midwest League

Cedar Rapids Kernels manager Toby Gardenhire talks with fans during the Meet the Kernels event at Veterans Memorial Stadium in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. The Kernels home opener is Saturday, April 7 against the Quad Cities River Bandits. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Kernels manager Toby Gardenhire talks with fans during the Meet the Kernels event at Veterans Memorial Stadium in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. The Kernels home opener is Saturday, April 7 against the Quad Cities River Bandits. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Kernels will play another baseball game this season. Honest.

You just don’t know when it will come. It was a scheduled day off Monday for the entire Midwest League, which increased the Kernels’ streak to three consecutive games-less days.

They head to Beloit for games Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, but Beloit just got a bunch of snow. The forecast for what is referred to as the Stateline Region calls for temperatures in the 20s Tuesday night, freezing rain Wednesday night and more 20s on Thursday.

That’s not baseball-playing weather. Cedar Rapids had the remaining two games of its home series with Clinton postponed Saturday and Sunday by rain, snow and cold.

Wash, rinse and repeat.

“It is what it is,” said Kernels Manager Toby Gardenhire. “It’s tough to get into a rhythm. We haven’t had a chance to even get on the field. Our hitters have been hitting in the (indoor) cage, our pitchers have been throwing in the cage. That’s the only work we’ve done.”

A smidge over two weeks into the season, Cedar Rapids already has had five postponements, as winter doesn’t want to seem to leave. It and Burlington have gotten in the fewest games in the 16-team MWL at seven apiece.

The players want to play, but they can’t. Gardenhire played college baseball at the University of Illinois and was a head coach at Division III Wisconsin-River Falls, so he feels their pain.

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“I remember when I was at Menomomie Falls, we traveled for a weekend series, and a foot of snow fell the night before the first game,” he said.

The problem with all these “ppds” is they will have to be made up eventually, if at all possible. That means May will be a very busy month for the Kernels and the rest of the Midwest League.

“Yeah, that’s tough,” Gardenhire said. “But if games do stack up on you, you can call guys up to help out. You always make it through it. Everybody has to deal with it. We’ll do the best we can.”

The Kernels announced Monday that one of their home postponements, against Quad Cities, will be made up as part of a first-ever, day-night double-header Wednesday, May 16, at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The day game will begin at noon, the nightcap at 6:35 p.m., with fans needing to purchase two separate tickets to see both games.

“When we postponed this game on April 8th, we met as a staff to talk about when we wanted to make it up,” said Kernels IT/Communications Director Andy Pantini. “Since we only play Quad Cities at home one more time in the first half, the game would have to be played during the four-game series that starts May 14. We really didn’t want to start the home stand with a DH, and then it was suggested that we look at a day/night DH since May 16 was already scheduled to be a noon game.”

The games will be seven innings apiece, by the way, something OKed by the Midwest League.

In other Kernels-related news, staff and grounds crew members from Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities and Clinton assisted Monday in helping repair the field at the Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville. The field suffered $5,000 in damage in February when a local man intentionally drove on it.

The man, 20-year-old Austin Pape of Dyersville, recently pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree criminal mischief and reckless driving and hoped to come to a resolution with prosecutors prior to a trial.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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