It occurs to me that since Iíve been a little preoccupied with writing about the Cedar Rapids Kernels the past five months, I have written very little about the Minnesota Twins.
Now that the Kernelsí season has come to a close, Iím going to try to remedy that situation and Iím going to begin by posing a question to the Twnsí front office: Why the heck have you not announced that you are shutting Joe Mauer down for the season?
I mean it. Shut Joe Mauer down and do
In baseball's postseason, ďevery single pitch is so important; every at-bat, no matter what inning.Ē
That was Cedar Rapids Kernels third baseman Travis Harrison talking after Mondayís regular season finale about the playoffs, which start for the Kernels Wednesday night in Davenport against the Quad Cities River Bandits.
Harrison knows what heís talking about, too. He was a member of the rookie level Elizabethton Twins team that won the Appalachian League a year ago.
Almost exactly six years ago, I sat several rows up from home plate as Scott Baker took a perfect game in to the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals. While he didn't complete his date with immortality, it was the closest I've ever come to seeing a Major League no-hitter in person.
On Wednesday night, I watched Baker continue to try to work his way back to the Big Leagues with the Chicago Cubs with a rehabilitation start for the Kane County Cougars against the future Twins
One of the unique things about Class A minor league baseball is that the season is divided in to two halves. The format allows teams, such as the Kernels, that have strong first halves of the season to qualify for postseason play at the mid-point of the season. It also gives teams that struggle early a chance to start over with a clean slate for the second half.
The format benefits teams that experience significant roster turnover thatís common among Class A affiliated teams.
Cedar Rapids Kernels manager Jake Mauer has been in a unique situation for the past couple of months, since his Kernels nailed down a Midwest League postseason berth by finishing second in the MWLís Western Division during the first half of the season.
Travis Harrison and Manager Jake Mauer
Only in minor league baseball is a manager occasionally faced with the challenge