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Bet On It! The MLB Postseason

Whew! We made it!   I know I can’t be the only person who wouldn’t have bet much money a couple of months ago on the chances of MLB even having a Postseason in 2020. It looked pretty bleak when the Marlins and Cardinals started things off with a bunch of postponed games.   But here we are. The American League starts their first round on Tuesday and the National League gets going on Wednesday.   And, yes, the Minnesota Twins will be participating in this rather strange endeavor, having squeaked t

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Bet On It! Part 5 - Opening Day Edition

With Opening Day of the 2020 Major League Baseball season now upon us, I thought I would take a quick peek at what, if any, adjustments the sportsbooks I subscribe to have made compared to those I posted in Part 4 of this "Bet On It!" series earlier in July, as teams were making their way back into their abbreviated summer camps.   It turns out, however, that my fellow betting subscribers have given the oddsmakers at William Hill and Elite Sportsbook very little reason to make adjustments to the

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Bet On It! Part 4

When I posted Part 3 of this "Bet On It!" series back on March 8, it's unlikely any of us could have foreseen that four months later we still wouldn't have seen Major League Baseball's Opening Day.   Within just a couple of weeks from the time that article was posted, pretty much all MLB bets had been taken off the board at the sportsbooks.   Now, as we try to celebrate our nation's birthday, the two books that I'm a member of have begun to post some MLB baseball action, though neither William H

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

A Shortened MLB Season? Bring It On!

It may be because I’ve spent years enjoying Class A Midwest League baseball, which routinely splits its season into two halves with every team’s record resetting to 0-0 by mid-to-late June, but I find myself embracing the plans for big leaguers to sprint through a 60-game Major League season in 2020.   I am not only embracing it, I’m excited about it!   (This article was originally posted at Knuckleballsblog.com)   In fact, the only thing tempering my enthusiasm is the concern we all (I would ho

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Making a 50-Game MLB Schedule Work

Fifty games? In a Major League Baseball season? It's some kind of joke, right?   We wish it was, but in 2020, the year a pandemic threatened to scratch entire professional and college sports seasons, it's starting to feel like baseball fans will be lucky to get even a 50-game season.   I know. "Lucky" isn't how I really feel, either. But when you consider that we're almost certainly going to see zero minor league games in 2020, a 50-game MLB regular season, followed by an expanded post-season, i

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Bet On It! Part 3

It has been over a month since we checked in on the MLB “Futures” at the William Hill and Elite sportsbooks and with spring training now well underway, it seems like a good time to see how the betting odds for the Twins (and others) are looking.   Of course, even if I see something really interesting, it won’t do me any good right now since I’m in Florida at least through the end of the month and the Sunshine State has not legalized sports betting, yet. So, while I can look up odds at the two bo

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Bet On It! Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, in the aftermath of the Minnesota Twins signing free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson, I checked in with sportsbooks at William Hill and Elite to see what effect the addition of the Bringer of Rain was having on the oddsmakers' views of the Twins' chances of winning their Division, the American League Pennant and the World Series in 2020.   As it turned out, the bookies weren't exactly joining in Twins' fans euphoria. The odds had shifted very little or not at all.   As

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Twins Moves Improve Postseason Chances? Bet On It!

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I've been taking advantage of legalized sports betting in Iowa. Not many days go by between my comments or observations concerning the betting lines on the teams and sports that I tend to follow.   http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Elitesports-screen-3-e1579315630183.jpg   Naturally, that means I had to check out the shifts in what the oddsmakers set for the Minnesota Twins chances of success are in 2020 after the Twins front office

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Minor League Pay - Some Progress At Last?

When the Cedar Rapids Kernels host the Lansing Lugnuts in a three-game series beginning July 13 of this summer, Lugnuts players will have one significant advantage over their counterparts in the home team dugout.   They’ll be getting paid more than 50% more than the Kernels players.   http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/baseballMoney900.jpg It doesn’t mean the Jays’ farm hands necessarily win every contest against the Kernels on the field, nor will they be swimming in ric

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Will Players Be Willing to Stand Up For Themselves?

So much is being written and debated concerning MLB ownership’s unwillingness to spend on free agency, whether the big ticket guys like Machado and Harper, or more middle of the pack veterans.   (This article was originally posted at Knuckleballsblog.com)   The players’ union obviously got completely dominated in the last couple of rounds of negotiations over the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Limits on amatuer player signing bonuses, limits on international player bonuses and a completely ine

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Miracle & Twins Extend Agreement Thru 2022

With the closing of the minor league baseball season on the field, we open up the biennial minor league affiliation-swap season and, to nobody's surprise, the Twins have extended their affiliation with the Class High A Fort Myers Miracle.   http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/fortmyersmiraclebaseball-600x416.jpg   Teams are allowed to sign agreements for either two or four years and the Twins/Miracle extension will run through the 2022 season.   With the current governing

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

The Baddoo Philosophy: "Just Score Runs"

Ask Akil Baddoo about his mentality as the Cedar Rapids Kernels’ leadoff hitter and the young centerfielder keeps it pretty simple. “Just score runs. That’s the goal and that’s how you win games.”   http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Baddoo062418a-2-600x400.jpg Akil Baddoo (Photo by SD Buhr)   Of course, being a consistently productive leadoff hitter at any professional level, is really is a little more complicated than that.   “Just really getting on base,” Baddoo said

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Dear Twins: Don't Sell!

Like a lot of Twins fans, I think, I’ve been coasting a bit with my fandom. The results on the field have been disappointing.   http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Buxton16STa9x6600-600x401.jpg Byron Buxton (photo by SD Buhr)   Ervin Santana, Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco hadn’t even been on the field much, if at all, during most of the first half of the season.   The expected two-team competition for the American League Central Division title quickly became

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Gore and Dobnak Lead By Example

After the Cedar Rapids Kernels finished batting practice on a warm, humid July 4 afternoon, two of the most productive players on their roster agreed to sit down and talk about the season.   http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/GoreDobnak070418-600x400.jpg Jordan Gore and Randy Dobnak go through Kernels pre-game workouts on July 4, 2018 (Photo by SD Buhr)   One, an infielder, has been hitting over .300 with an on-base percentage around .400 virtually all season. (And three

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Happy Birthday Moneyball (and Damn You)

Happy birthday, Moneyball!   http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Moneyball-book-600x295.jpg   Yes, as Yahoo’s Jeff Passan alerted us via Twitter over breakfast this morning, Michael Lewis’ seminal baseball book, Moneyball, was released 15 years ago today.   I have to admit, I was picturing the entire SABR community simultaneously Skyping and toasting Lewis and his book, each member raising a glass of their favorite obscure local craft beer. It made me chuckle.   Moneyball

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Jose Miranda Heats Up With the Weather

The month of April was not kind to Cedar Rapids Kernels infielder Jose Miranda.   http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Miranda060618a-600x400.jpg Jose Miranda (Photo by SD Buhr)   After hitting .284 and putting up a .824 On-base Plus Slugging (OPS) for rookie level Elizabethton in 2017, Miranda was one of several highly-regarded hitting prospects that were expected to power the Kernels’ offense in 2018, but the 19-year-old from Puerto Rico managed just a .180 batting avera

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Talking Hitting With "Dink"

When Brian Dinkelman hung up his spikes as a player after the 2013 season, a defensive shift with three infielders on one side of second base was still a relative novelty being employed occasionally by the Houston Astros and perhaps one or two other teams at the Major League level.   http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/DinkelmanLewis052718-600x400.jpg Brian Dinkelman talks hitting with Royce Lewis during batting practice. (Photo: SD Buhr)   Less than five years later, “Di

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Kernels: Will Offense Suffer As Prospects Move Up?

When this season was in its infancy, I had a lot of high expectations for the 2018 Cedar Rapids Kernels. I was not alone, of course, since the Kernels’ opening day roster was filled with big-bonus position players, highlighted by 2017’s first-overall draft pick, Royce Lewis, and the Twins’ 2016 first round pick, Alex Kirilloff. http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Lewis05182018-2-600x400.jpg Royce Lewis (Photo by SD Buhr)   Unlike some, though, I was freely effusive with m

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Alex Kirilloff: More Than Just the "Other" Kernels First Rounder

After standing in a line of about 20 people for a few minutes, a couple of guys finally got the autograph they wanted during the Cedar Rapids Kernels regular Sunday post-game autograph session. They had secured the autograph of Royce Lewis, the Minnesota Twins first round pick in the 2017 MLB amateur draft and the first pick overall.   They stood for a moment and looked out at the area of right field where Lewis' team mates were spread out, some standing by themselves and some in groups of two o

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Edwar Colina: From Chilly Home Opener to No-Hitter

Imagine for a moment that you grew up in an area where high temperatures each day run between 80 and 85 degrees, year-round. http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Colina2018b-600x400.jpg Edwar Colina (Photo by SD Buhr)   You enjoy sports, especially baseball, and you can literally play ball every day, all year, if you want.   You realize your dream of signing a professional baseball contract and then, one day, you’re pitching for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, a mere 2,600 miles

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Rortvedt's MWL Encore Is Off To Strong Start

What a difference a year makes. http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Rortvedt0413a-600x400.jpg Ben Rortvedt (Photo: SD Buhr)   A year ago, Ben Rortvedt was getting his first taste of full-season minor league baseball after having been drafted out of high school in the second round of the 2016 amateur draft by the Minnesota Twins.   Things did not go well for the young catcher from Verona, Wisconsin. Through April, he was hitting only .096 with an OPS of just .229.   This s

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Kernels: "Lot of Guys Doing Some Really Good Things"

The Cedar Rapids Kernels hit the frozen ground running this season, jumping off to a 6-0 record before finally suffering their first loss of the year on Friday night against Clinton. http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Sammons0413e-600x400.jpg Bryan Sammons delivers a pitch Friday, April 13, against Clinton (Photo: SD Buhr)   Don’t say the start surprised their manager, Toby Gardenhire, though. With a lineup as full of highly regarded prospects as this Kernels roster is,

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Kernels Media Night Highlights

The tarp covering the infield in Cedar Rapids was wet from a mix of rain and snow flurries over the past couple of days, but fortunately the only "work" that this year's Cedar Rapids Kernels had to do on Tuesday was do a meet and greet with fans on the concourse and, for a select few, survive a brief media inquisition. http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/DSC_0075-2-1-600x358.jpg L to R: pitching coach Cibney Bello, manager Toby Gardenhire, hitting coach Brian Dinkelman, p

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Will Congress Screw Minor League Players Today?

If you believe that maintaining the status quo in minor league baseball is important, you aren't going to like this article.   http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/baseballMoney900-1-600x401.jpg   However, if you believe that some things - like simple human decency in the area of fair pay - are more important than whether or not the current minor league model is continued, I suspect you'll be joining me in raising your voice in objection to what Major League Baseball (alon

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

Mitch Garver & Zack Granite back in CR for Winter Caravan

Wednesday night, the Cedar Rapids Kernels and their Major League partner, the Minnesota Twins, combined to put on a terrific program for eastern Iowa baseball fans as the Twins once again included a stop in Cedar Rapids for their annual Winter Caravan in conjunction with the Kernels' annual Hot Stove Banquet. http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Caravan2018Panel-600x229.jpg Kris Atteberry (far left) tosses questions to Winter Caravan panelists (seated L to R) Brian Dinkelm

Steven Buhr

Steven Buhr

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