CEDAR RAPIDS — The closer and closer they got to Veterans Memorial Stadium, the warmer and warmer it got.
Dan Vogt and Brian Anderson liked that. A lot.
“On the car ride here, we kept looking at the temperature,” laughed Vogt. “When we left home, it was 40-some degrees. It was like ‘Come on, 65!’ I don’t think it’s gotten to 65, yet.”
Vogt and Anderson drove into town from the cold and snowy Twin Cities area and were the first people in line at the gates of Veterans Memorial Stadium before Kane County’s 5-2 win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels. This was a bit before 3:30 Friday afternoon.
They weren’t allowed into the ballpark until 5:30. First pitch was at 6:30.
But there was a reason for the very early arrival. Vogt and Anderson made the journey to secure a Royce Lewis bobblehead.
They were distributed to the first 1,000 fans through the gates. Lewis, of course, is the Kernels shortstop and first-overall draft pick in last year’s Major League Baseball draft.
“For the bobblehead and the game,” Anderson said. “My brother brought his daughter, and we decided to tag along.”
“Number one pick,” Vogt said. “He’s got to be good. Haven’t seen him play. Can’t wait to see him tonight.”
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Who says it’s irrelevant who is your major league partner? Minnesota Twins fans in large numbers made the trip from the land of 10,000 lakes to Cedar Rapids to watch Kernels outfielder Byron Buxton in 2013.
Now they are doing the same for mega-prospect Lewis. This was Vogt and Anderson’s first time at Memorial Stadium.
“Already bought a bag full of merchandise,” Anderson said. “This actually feels a little bit like spring here today.”
“I like it,” Vogt said, looking through the gates as the Kernels took batting practice. “It’s nice, very nice.”
Because of the barrage of cold and wet weather, this was C.R.’s first game in a week. The Kernels had two home last weekend against Clinton snowed out, the Midwest League had Monday off, then a three-game set at Beloit was snowed out Tuesday through Thursday.
They came in having played the second-fewest games (five) in all of minor league baseball. Triple-A Buffalo went into Friday having played just five times.
The Kernels (6-2) kind of played like they had some rust on them, committing a pair of errors. Kane County (7-5) scored three times in the third inning and chased starting pitcher Blayne Enlow with another run in the fifth.
The highlight of the night was Akil Baddoo’s two-run home run to right field in the second, measured at 400 feet. The teams play again Saturday afternoon at 5:05.
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