116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Kernels finished their six-game series against Beloit at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
It was a decent series, though a 4-0 loss Sunday afternoon wasn’t optimal.
On the plus side, players could experience a rather relaxing week of truly being at home. That’s something others in the minor leagues apparently have not been able to experience.
A story from ESPN over the weekend featured a Double-A player for the Rocket City Trash Pandas in the Los Angeles Angels farm system blasting the organization for not caring about their minor leaguers. Kieran Lovegrove said he is living with six other teammates in a three-bedroom apartment, with one of his teammates sleeping in the kitchen and two in the living room.
It’s the only thing the players could afford, considering their meager paychecks, Lovegrove told ESPN.
“It’s gotten to the point now where there are guys who are in a serious mental health crisis because of how stressful money is here,” Lovegrove said.
This isn’t the only complaint you’ve heard this season from players. Guys at low-A Stockton told the San Francisco Chronicle they are losing money by staying at the team’s “home” hotel.
Which brings us back to the Kernels. After a month in a hotel here in Cedar Rapids, players were allowed to live with housing families in the area, as long as those housing families are fully COVID-19 vaccinated.
Cedar Rapids long has had an exemplary housing family program, one of the reasons the parent Minnesota Twins decided to remain partners with the Kernels for 10 more years during an offseason purge in which Major League Baseball eliminated 40-some franchises from affiliated baseball.
Players generally are not charged for staying with families. It gives them a true “home” base: someone to communicate with on a regular basis, someone who allows them to raid their refrigerator, freezer and cupboards for food and drink.
“I think with the Twins system, they do a good job of taking care of the players,” said Manager Bran Dinkelman. “With the host families we have here, they don’t have to find any housing. They get cars to drive for them.”
Dinkelman stressed that it’s not just Cedar Rapids in the Twins system in which players are looked after.
“In (Diouble-A) Wichita, I think they are set up with an apartment complex close to the ballpark,” he said. “Down in (low-A) Fort Myers, they have an academy that I think the guys really use during the season.
“So I feel like our guys are taken care of as best as possible. They are still trying to earn a living, make it to the big leagues, make a career out of that. It’s tough on them, being away from their families and stuff like that. But I do think the Twins do a good job of trying to help them as much as possible.”
The Kernels (40-32) couldn’t get anything generated offensively, as pitchers George Soriano and Jake Walters combined on a two-hitter. Cedar Rapids had 18 of its final 19 hitters retired.
The Kernels have Monday off, per usual, then begin a six-game series Tuesday at Wisconsin. They remained in a tie with Great Lakes for the second and final available playoff berth in the High-A Central League.
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