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  • Meeting the 2014 Cedar Rapids Kernels

    It was "Meet the Kernels Night" at Veterans Mermorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids Tuesday night, giving local fans and media a first look at the 2014 version of the Twins' Class A Midwest League affiliate and giving the Kernels players their first look at chilly Iowa April temperatures.

    After the media portion of the event, players and coaches mingled with fans on the concourse to chat and sign autographs. Then they shed their parkas for a brief workout.

    The cold temperatures made for a pretty small turnout from the public and that's unfortunate, but understandable. The more unfortunate fact is that the weather forecast for Opening Night on Thursday (and Friday, for that matter) makes the proposition of actually getting baseball played a little dicey.

    A year ago, it seemed like weather was forcing doubleheaders every week for the first couple months across the Midwest League and I wouldn't be surprised if we start the season with a twin-bill (or two) over the weekend as well.

    Manager Jake Mauer, along with hitting coach Tommy Watkins and pitching coach Ivan Arteaga met with media for a few minutes, as did four members of the new Kernels roster: Kohl Stewart, Aaron Slegers, Mitch Garver and Chad Christensen. They all arrived in the media room wearing their newly-issued Cedar Rapids Kernels parkas.

    Nothing says "play ball" like new team parkas and portable gas heaters in the dugout!

    The field staff and players who met with the media had some interesting things to say and I'll try to write a follow up story with quotes later this week.

    I did ask Arteaga about his plans for the rotation, specifically about whether he planned to use a six-man rotation again this year, as pitching coach Gary Lucas had in 2013.

    Arteaga explained that that's pretty much an organizational approach to young pitchers in order to protect their arms. He did add, however, that for the first couple of weeks, they were likely to use a five-man rotation, with a piggy-backing of their fifth and sixth starting pitchers in game 5 next week.

    Miguel Sulbaran is not yet stretched out to the point where he needs to start, so he'll split games with another pitcher the first couple times through the rotation. Within a couple of weeks, however, Arteaga believes they'll be on track with the six-man rotation.

    Other than that bit of "news," you'll just have to be satisfied with getting a little sense of flavor of the evening from a few pictures.


    Left to Right: pitching coach Ivan Arteaga, hitting coach Tommy Watkins, manager Jake Mauer

    Kohl Stewart

    Aaron Slegers

    Mitch Garver

    Chad Christensen

    Jake Mauer

    Kernels prepare for introductions

    Kernels introduced
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Thanks, JC. I hope you have another great and entertaining year covering the Kernels.

      No Parka pic? We have a winter storm warning for later today -- will try not to send it your direction but parkas sound advisable!

      Andrew mentioned that the Rock Cats players had to scramble to look for housing. For the most part, that isn't the case in CR, right? Most live with host families?
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      Can't wait for better weather and vacation time to make the trek across the state to see the Kernals again this summer!
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
      Thanks, JC. I hope you have another great and entertaining year covering the Kernels.

      No Parka pic? We have a winter storm warning for later today -- will try not to send it your direction but parkas sound advisable!

      Andrew mentioned that the Rock Cats players had to scramble to look for housing. For the most part, that isn't the case in CR, right? Most live with host families?
      There are a few parkas visible in a couple of those pictures, but it turned out that I took some pictures with my phone and some with my camera and the only ones with good pics of the parkas were on my phone, but the camera pics were easiest/quickest to get uploaded. So, yeah, write that off to me being lazy Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

      You're right about the lodging situation in CR. The Kernels have a robust "host family" program under which any player who would like to be placed with a family can do so, without charge (the no-charge part is, from what I hear, a bit unique compared to a lot of other communities that have host family programs).

      My understanding is that the Twins only cover a couple nights of hotel lodging upon arrival in town. The coordinator of CR's program was in Fort Myers last week meeting with players and attempting to make the best matches between families and players. (For example, he'd try to make sure players with limited English-speaking abilities get placed with bi-lingual hosts.)
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Here ya go JB. I sent this out via Twitter Tuesday. (Obviously, you need to start following me on Twitter!)

      Looking at the weather forecast, I do think these guys are going to appreciate the parkas over the next 4 days in CR, as well as their road trip next week in to Michigan.

      JimCrikket@JimCrikketApr 1Hard to tell these are baseball players pic.twitter.com/dx7OObuuOr








      6:07 PM - 1 Apr 2014 · Details
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Thanks for the pic. We are under a winter storm warning for late this afternoon into tomorrow. We desperately need moisture but it would be so nice to have rain in stead of snow. Hope you get at least moderate temps.

      I think I did see the photo somewhere but wasn't thinking about what I was seeing . I thought I had you on my Twitter list but I'll look again.

      Players in CR are younger than NB generally so the host program is probably more beneficial there, too. Then they'll have the new dorm in FM if they want so that'll help ease things for them, too.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Yeah that baseball academy/dorm looks like it will be pretty sweet in Ft Myers.
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