Friday, January 11, 2013

January 11- Cedar Rapids Kernels

I find it kind of fitting that I’m sitting in a bar right now, writing this piece and enjoying a pint of Pabst Blue Ribbon and jamming out to The Clash. The library closed at 7 PM and I of course waited until the last minute to write it. Those are the breaks I suppose. Now, onto business.

I came across this hat in July of 2010 on the Lids Web site and immediately shouted in my head, “Daddy likes!!!” The Cedar Rapids Kernels introduced this hat in 2007 while they were still an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which they were from 1993-2012. During that stretch was the last time the Kernels attained a league championship in 1994. At the start of the upcoming 2013 season the Kernels with be the high-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.

I’m not really sure what is what that made this hat so attractive to me so quickly. For starters, I’ve always had a fondness for navy blue and green; yet at the same time, there’s just something amusing about an ear of corn in the shape of a baseball bat mean mugging people on the center of a cap.

#20- Picking out numbers to mark my cap with it became a bit of a challenge. The thing that’s consistent about high-A ball is that there is always a plethora of talent rolling through year after year. After all, you have to get your start somewhere. In the same breath; however, I had to stay between 2007 and the present. When searching through the Angels rosters over the last five years, I came across an unknown talent who may or may not have a decent career in the majors. He originally grew up in New Jersey and made his original debut during the 2011 season, but didn’t do so hot. The Angels moved him back to AAA and called him back up in late April of this last season. His number is 20 and I’m sure he’ll fall suit with being a solid franchise player like the other outfielders who came before him whose last names happened to be the name of a particular breed of fish. Maybe you’ve heard of him… Mike Trout. (Before you have to ask, yes, the last few sentences were oozing with sarcasm.)

Trout played two half-season with the Kernels, hitting .358 with six home runs, 39 RBI, 50 walks and 45 stolen bases. His OPS was .966. Even then, people knew how special this kid is.

For the other number, I decided to roll the dice with #33. This one is a bit more obscure. Back in 2001 there was a kid drafted in the 23rd round (677th overall) by the Minnesota Twins, which coincidentally his little brother was also selected by the Twins much earlier in the draft. He played for four seasons in the minors and was sidelined permanently after injuring his elbow. At the end of the 2005 season he accepted a coaching job and eventual managing job with the Gulf Coast Twins in 2008. During the two years he acted as skipper, the team finished in second place the first year and in first place the second year, combing for a record of 69-42. He then moved on to manage the Fort Meyers Miracle in 2010 where he was met with lesser success, posting a record of 64-74. Despite the bad run, this guy was promoted to manage the upcoming Kernels squad for the 2013 season. Oh, and in case you haven’t figured it out, this guy’s name is Jake Mauer, the older brother of Joe who was selected #1 in the 2001 draft.

So with that I have a little bit of the old and a little bit of the new as the Kernels transition into the Minnesota Twins era.

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