Results tagged ‘ Cedar Rapids Kernels ’

Kernels Announce Opening Day Roster

Press release from the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Kernels release 2009 Opening Day Roster

April 6, 2009 – The 2009 Cedar Rapids Kernels have broken Spring Training camp and are on their way to Cedar Rapids! The 25-player roster includes two of the LA Angels Top 30 Prospects, as ranked by Baseball America, in RHP Will Smith (#12) and RHP Manuarys Correa (#19).

The roster includes nine members of the 2008 MWL playoff team as pitchers Chris Armstrong and Michael Davitt; catchers Anel De Los Santos and C.J. Bressoud; infielders Alexi Amarista, Hector Estrella and Gabe Jacobo; and outfielders Angel Castillo and Carlos Colmenares return to Cedar Rapids. RHP Vladimir Veras, who played in Cedar Rapids in 2007 but was injured last season, also is a member of the 2009 team.

Pitching will once again be the Kernels’ strong suit as the projected starting rotation features RHP Manuarys Correa, RHP Michael Davitt, LHP Manuel Flores, LHP Jayson Miller and RHP Will Smith. The bullpen looks strong too with two closers: LHP Andrew Taylor (5 saves) and RHP Jeremy Thorne (8 saves – .121 BA against).

The Kernels’ offense should feature lots of speed as OF Robert Auer and INF Alexi Amarista both had over 20 stolen bases in short-season play. Gabe Jacobo (10 HR/56 RBI) and Angel Castillo (14 HR/47 RBI) should supply some power and RBI production.

The 2009 Kernels are scheduled to arrive in Cedar Rapids at 4 pm tonight (Monday) and are scheduled to play an exhibition game against Kirkwood Community College at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, April 7th as part of ‘Meet the Kernels Night’.

Opening Day at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium is scheduled for Thursday, April 9th when the Kernels take on the Beloit Snappers at 6:35 pm. Tickets are on sale online at, or by calling the Kernels Ticket Office at (319) 896-7560. Ticket Office hours are 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, and 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday.

“Odd Man Out”: One Player’s Opinion

Chris Rosenbaum
Angels minor leaguer Chris Rosenbaum comments on “Odd Man Out” in his latest blog entry.


Angels minor league catcher Chris Rosenbaum kept a blog journal last year during his season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. It was widely acknowledged by fans of the Angels’ minor league system as a humble yet honest insight into the life of a minor leaguer.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that Chris would comment on Odd Man Out, the book published by former Angels minor leaguer Matt McCarthy. Click Here to read Chris’s comments on the book.

This paragraph pretty much sums up his sentiment:

I have not read the book, and have no intentions of reading it. However, I have read excerpts and spoken to individuals surrounding the stories told within the covers, and have formed my opinion that this work was an attempt to hurt people for personal gain. Many things discussed in this book, whether true or not (and much evidence is piling up suggesting the latter), occurred in the inner sanctum of a clubhouse or related team functions.

Strictly my opinion, those on the Internet defending this book want to see athletes knocked off their pedestal. Never mind the athletes never asked to be placed on that pedestal. But there will always be those who are jealous of people who are successful in life. A “tell-all” book, accurate or not, that claims to reveal the foibles of athletes might give comfort to those who feel inferior and insecure about their own lives.

Unfortunately, that goes with the territory on the Internet. People can hide behind the anonymity of their modem and attack others with behavior that would get a punch in the nose if they tried it in public.

Come to think of it, McCarthy may have thought he could embellish his book without consequences, because he’d never run across the people whose integrity he attacked in the book. It remains to be seen if any of the people named in the book will take legal action.

Flood Relief Update from Cedar Rapids

This letter came in e-mail today from Kernels Foundation president Gary Keoppel:

On behalf of The Kernels Foundation, I would like to thank you for your support of Cedar Rapids as we recover from the record floods of 2008. The Kernels Foundation received $1,595 from you and followers and that money was donated to the Taylor Elementary School Tiger Cub Club. Taylor Elementary, a partner school of the Kernels, was severely damaged and will not reopen until the 2009-2010 school year. The Tiger Cub Club will use the money to build a walking track around the school campus and the Cedar Rapids Kernels ground crew will help rebuild their baseball field. The children from this neighborhood school are attending other schools around the city this year and the track and field will allow them to use the school property while they are waiting for the school to be reopened next year.

In addition, The Kernels Foundation received a $25,000 donation from Minor League Baseball and the entire amount was donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Cedar Rapids (BGCCR). The BGCCR was housed in a former YMCA building and water reached the second floor ruining not only the facility but also everything in it. The Angels donated nine laptop computers to the BGCCR to replace those destroyed in the flood. BGCCR is continuing their programs in a separate facility as they determine what they can do to replace their main facility.

The Kernels Foundation also held a raffle this summer and gave away a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Proceeds of the raffle went to the YMCA of the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area resulting in a $3,000 donation. The Angels donated six laptop computers to the YMCA to replace the ones they lost in the flood. The YMCA was recently reopened to serve the community.

Jack Roeder of the Kernels can give you more details, but the Kernels helped raise over $67,000 for flood relief this summer and used the ball park for distributing school supplies to students, preparing food for the Meals on Wheels program and many other activities. Veterans Memorial Stadium was indeed a multi-purpose facility this summer.

Thanks again to you and your readers for your help. Cedar Rapids is working hard to recover and make CR an even better place to live, work, play and cheer on the Kernels. I enjoy checking your website and look forward to meeting you during your next visit to CR.

Gary Keoppel
The Kernels Foundation

I just wanted to say I’m very proud of all of you, including BeesGal, the Quakes and Owlz Booster Club for stepping up to the plate to help the people of Cedar Rapids when it mattered most. You did good.

Report: Ever Magallanes Signs with White Sox

Quakes manager Ever Magallanes has left the Angels organization to manage Double-A for the White Sox in 2009.


Travs’ manager Bobby Magallanes was on the Angels’ pre-game radio show today. Interviewer Rory Markas brought up that his brother Ever, who managed the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2008, has left the Angels organization to manage Double-A for the Chicago White Sox in 2009.

Like Bobby, Ever is a class act. Ever was the Cedar Rapids Kernels’ manager in 2007. After a devastating flood struck Cedar Rapids in 2008, Ever helped me put together a video for Kernels fans that played on their scoreboard to let them know the players in Rancho Cucamonga — most of whom played for the Kernels in 2007 — were thinking of them.

The Angels don’t usually announce their minor league coaching assignments until December or January, so we’ll have to wait and see who manages the Quakes in 2009.

Chris Rosenbaum’s Final Blog

Kernels catcher Chris Rosenbaum wrote a blog this year called

Looking Through the Mask
which was an insight into the life of a minor league ballplayer.

His final entry is, in my opinion, his best.

Click Here to read his final blog. Be sure to post a reply with your thoughts.

5 for 6 Ain’t Bad

Owlz outfielder Roberto Lopez has a shot at the Pioneer League triple crown.


The Angels system came within one run of placing all six minor league teams in the post-season.

The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes lost a one-game sudden-death playoff Tuesday at Inland Empire, 7-6 in 13 innings. Flip that score and all six teams are playing capture the flag.

Still, five out of six is darn good. And although I don’t count them because they’re an academy operation, the Dominican Summer League Angels finished 47-24 in a virtual tie for first in their division. They won their first best-of-three series 2-0 over the DSL Rangers, but were eliminated in the second round 2-1 by the DSL Nationals.

With players called up from Salt Lake to Anaheim for September, the Angels have moved around some minor league chess pieces to compensate. Catcher Tim Duff and second baseman Adam Morrissey reported to the Bees from Arkansas, and Quakes second baseman Ryan Mount also reported to Salt Lake. None of them are in tonight’s starting lineup at Sacramento.

Arkansas got catcher Hank Conger from the Quakes to complement catcher C.J. Broussard who reported from Rancho Cucamonga a couple days ago. Hank will probably DH most of the time; he hasn’t caught since August 22 as the Angels continue to treat gently his shoulder recovering from a slight labrum tear in spring training.

Cedar Rapids got infielder-outfielder Alexi Amarista from the Tempe Angels. Charitably listed at 5’8″ 150 lbs., for some of we long-timers he evokes memories of popular diminutive infielder Joe Urso, who played for the Lake Elsinore Storm in the mid-1990s. 19-year old Amarista finished with an AVG/OBP/SLG of .332/.416/.431 in the Arizona League.

Orem won both halves of the Pioneer League South Division. They’ll face their I-15 rivals, the Ogden Raptors (Dodgers affiliate), in a best-of-three starting Saturday in Ogden. Games #2 and (if necessary) #3 will be in Orem. The winner of that matchup will face either Billings or Great Falls in the title series.

Should the Owlz get to the championship round, I’ll fly up for Games #2 and #3 at Orem scheduled for September 12 and 13. It looks like manager Tom Kotchman won’t return as he remains in Florida to tend to his ailing wife, so I’m going to videotape as much as I can to send him the highlights.

Owlz outfielder Roberto Lopez has a shot at the Triple Crown. He’s first in average at .402 (Great Falls’ Tyler Kuhn is second at .370), second in homers with 14 (trailing teammate Luis Jimenez and tied with teammate Angel Castillo), and first in RBI with 69 (teammate Jimenez has 63). Regarding the RBI record, Robb Quinlan had 77 RBI with Boise in 1999, which is probably the best short-season record in the Angels system in recent years, although I haven’t researched it. Lopez has three games including tonight to catch Quinlan.

Just in … Cedar Rapids shut out Clinton (Rangers affiliate) 3-0 tonight to take a 1-0 lead in their series. Arkansas’ game against Northwest Arkansas was postponed due to the remnants of Hurricane Gustav. They’ll try again on Thursday.

Cedar Rapids Flood Update

The flood waters long ago receded, but the damage remains.

A recent article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette puts the actual number of flood victims in Cedar Rapids at about 12,000, of whom 3,000 were children. A study by the non-profit Iowa Fiscal Partnership found that, “The population hit by the June floods was vastly poorer, more likely to be minorities and renters, and occupied property worth less than three-fourths of the city’s median home value when compared with other Cedar Rapids residents,” according to the Gazette.

Several web sites have sprung up where you can send money.

The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation has started a Flood 2008 fund. Click on the home page link to make a donation by credit card. is a not-for-profit partnership between government, civic, business and faith-based organizations. Click on the Donations link for a list of worthwhile organizations where you can send financial help. is a web site dedicated to resurrection of the Cedar Rapids Downtown District. You’ll find information about downtown businesses recovering from the flood, and photos of the flood.

KCRG-TV has a web site with video clips from their flood coverage. They’ll also start taking orders on August 18 for a DVD and coffee table book that will be released in November. Proceeds go to help flood victims.

On Deck for Tempe

With six hours to go until I find out how much gas costs in the middle of the desert …

Kernels beat writer Jeff Johnson of the Cedar Rapids Gazette notes in his blog that the Angels have still taken no action to help the flood victims in Cedar Rapids:

Still waiting for the Los Angeles Angels to even acknowledge there has been a flood in Cedar Rapids. The word is the Angels are waiting for the Cedar Rapids Kernels to tell them where it’s best to donate some money. Why are you waiting, Angels? It’s not hard to figure out: try the Red Cross, try the Kernels Foundation, try something! Despite what certain members of the Kernels front office and board of directors believe, there is absolutely NO loyalty in professional sports. The quicker you learn that, the better off you’ll be. You are running a business, and it’s very apparent you are not giving your business its best chance of success by continuing to partner with a Major League organization that NO ONE around here cares about. Or apparently doesn’t care much about you.

Since some fan sites tend to see one line on a Transactions page and misinterpret it because they lack context, this appears in today’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:

The Quakes made three moves after Thursday’s game.

Catcher Alberto Rosario (.202) was sent to Triple-A Salt Lake City to fill in for Tim Duff, whose wife just gave birth.

Right-handed pitcher Marco Albano (2-3, 7.11) went to Double-A Arkansas and catcher Ikko Sumi came from rookie ball to fill in for Rosario.

Is it too early to talk about magic numbers?

Yes, if you’re talking about the American League, although the Oakland A’s seem to have run up the white flag by trading away Rich Harden and Joe Blanton, the latest victims of Billy Beane’s mad scientist experiment. If he’d run scouting and player development properly instead of implementing the failed “Moneyball” mumbo-jumbo spawned from sabermetrics, his farm system wouldn’t have been so barren that he had to hock his veteran players to replenish it.

But it’s not too early if you’re talking the Orem Owlz and Tempe Angels.

The Pioneer League has a 76-game schedule divided into two 38-game halves. Owlz manager Tom Kotchman is a master at manipulating these split-season sprints to get his teams into the playoffs. The Owlz are currently 21-9 — best record in the league — with eight games to go and a 1 1/2 game lead over Casper. Orem’s magic number is eight. I don’t know what the league rule is should they tie; head-to-head, Casper leads 4-2, so Orem should plan on taking the division outright. They can put it way by winning two home games hosting Casper on Thursday and Friday.

The Arizona League has a 56-game schedule split up into two 28-game halves. No divisions, all nine teams are together. (When the Dodgers arrive next year, they’ll have ten and the schedule will change.) Tempe is 15-6, three games ahead of the Mesa Cubs and Surprise Rangers. (Surprise is a town, not an exclamation.) So the Angels’ magic number is five to win the first half. The first half winner plays the second half winner in a one-game championship.

A shout out to Owlz pitch Will Smith, who totally dominated Great Falls last night in the Owlz’ 10-0 romp over the Voyagers. Smith pitched six shutout innings, struck out nine, walked none, and gave up only two hits. For the season, in 29.1 IP he has a 34:3 SO:BB ratio and a 2.15 ERA. It should come as no surprise that he was a Tom Kotchman find in the 7th round, a 19-year old 6’6″ left-hander who might start drawing comparisons to Randy Johnson in a few years if his velocity develops.

Kotch could add another signing of his, 3rd rounder Ryan Chaffee, when he’s healthy. Chaffee was supposed to be ready about now, recovering in Tempe from a broken foot, but I haven’t seen his name in any Tempe box scores yet. I’ll determine his status in the next couple days.

This ‘N That

Another busy week with non-baseball stuff. I really need to win the lottery. Which I guess would mean that I should buy a Lottery ticket some way.

I’ll be with the Tempe Angels in the next few days. I’ll be at Peoria on Sunday for the game against the Mariners. Then I’ll be at Tempe on Monday and Tuesday for the home games. Monday is against the Phoenix A’s. Tuesday is against the Peoria Padres.

All three games are scheduled for 10:30 AM, but the Tuesday game is now a doubleheader. The Angels’ July 11 game against the Padres in Peoria was rained out. The league office decided the game would be made up on Tuesday at Tempe. The Padres will be the home team in one game, the Angels in the other. The twinbill begins at 9:00 AM.

As you might suspect, the temperature for these games is usually around 100 degrees. Minor league doubleheaders are seven innings for each game. Fourteen innings is a lot to ask in 100+ degree weather, but if the boys are game, I’ll be right there with them. Just have the ambulance standing by.

Elsewhere …

The Angels promoted Jordan Walden today to Rancho Cucamonga. Jeremy Haynes was reassigned to Cedar Rapids. Walden was named the #3 prospect last November in the Top 10 Prospects report.

Hank Conger hit three dingers in Rancho’s day game Wednesday at home against High Desert. Reports in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin suggest that Conger may start catching again in a few days. Hank also hit a homer last Sunday for the Quakes — right after I left to head home to tend to other responsibilities. Are you avoiding me, Hank? (smile) I need to get some of his dingers on video.

A final note … Normally I ignore posts on other web sites and blogs, because unprovoked personal attacks against me are usually intended to draw attention and distract me from more important things.

I have noticed, however, that a particular blogger has repeatedly posted on his blog and others a false statement claiming I said that “Michael Collins is the next Mike Piazza,” and similar falsehoods.

In truth, I granted this individual an interview in July 2005 where he posed several questions. Here’s the truth of what he said, and what I said:

Rob: Michael Collins at Cedar Rapids: Old for his league? Another guy I looked up and said, wow, those are some good numbers. Good plate discipline, hardly ever strikes out (17 K’s in 167 AB — exactly the kind of player the Angels seem to like) and a little pop (.545 SLG, more of a gap hitter based on his doubles).

SS: Michael belongs in a special category, in my mind. He was signed out of Australia at age 16. He didn’t grow up where there’s much of a true baseball development program (i.e. no Little League) so his learning curve will be longer.

That said, I’ve seen him every year since he’s signed and have seen him sprout into a big athletic body. In the back of my mind, for some reason when I see Michael I think of Mike Piazza. The defense may not be as good as, say, Mathis but the offense is finally coming along just as Piazza was a late bloomer.

As a basis of comparison … Piazza’s DOB is 9/4/68. As you know, he was selected by the Dodgers in the 7,945th round (okay, the 62nd round) of the June 1988 draft. His first year, in 1989 at age 21, he played Short-A at Salem in the Northwest League and posted an AVG/OBP/SLG of .268/.318/.444. The next year, his first full season, he was at High-A Vero Beach and posted .250/.281/.390. Returning to High-A at Bakersfield in 1991, he posted .277/.344/.540.

So now we have Michael, who turns 21 on July 18, posting .347/.426/.545 in a pitcher’s league.

(Yes, his age is appropriate for the Midwest League.)

Is it for real? Well, at Provo in 2003, he posted .333/.353/.447 in 132 AB. The Pioneer League is a hitter’s league, but I felt he needed to play every day in 2004 at Provo but he didn’t get the chance. Now he’s getting to play every day and he’s finally kicking in.

I hope the Angels find a way to keep him. He’s a six-year minor league free agent at season’s end. I think he’s worth placing on the 40-man roster but if he indicates he’s willing to stay with the system then maybe they can save that slot for someone else.

Now that’s what I really said.

This isn’t the first time this individual has misquoted and distorted what I’ve said. Based on the comments I’ve read about him on various boards, it seems my sentiment about his veracity is not alone.

It’s also interesting that this individual has a penchant for going down the home page to copy the links I’ve posted for reposting on his site without attributing from where he copied them.

This is the last time I will comment on the matter. But having seen this falsehood posted multiple times on multiple boards, I wanted to set the record straight.

That’s not to say I have anything against Michael Collins. He’s been a friend since I met him in August 2001 at Arizona Summer League, when he had just turned 17. Michael turned 24 on July 18. His AVG/OBP/SLG at Double-A Arkansas are .264/.351/.412. He’s been on the disabled list since mid-June with a bulging disc that apparently has been bothering him most of the year.  It’s interesting that the veracity-challenged individual didn’t mention Michael’s injury either as context for his 2008 numbers.

I’ve always admired Michael for no other reason than beginning his professional career as a 16-year old halfway around the globe, when most American high school juniors would be looking for minimum-wage summer jobs if they got any job at all. He’s always been one tough ballplayer and, yes, his physical build reminds me of Mike Piazza.

If Michael is at Tempe next week, I’ll look forward to shaking his hand, catching up on things, and wishing him luck to get his career on track.

Bees and BeesGal Raise Money for Cedar Rapids

The Salt Lake Deseret News reports that “The Bees will donate 50 cents from each ticket sold to today’s game to aid Iowans affected by the recent floods. Minor league teams located in cities devastated by flooding include the Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Iowa Cubs and Quad City River Bandits.”

Not to be outdone, BeesGal of The Sporksball Journal sent out this announcement:

The Sporkball Journals pledges $25 for every run scored by the Salt Lake Bees in Sunday’s fundraiser game for the Iowa Flood Relief Fund. For example, should the Bees score 8 runs, the total donation will be $100. 20 runs (like Tuesday) puts $500 into the relief fund.

Furthermore, The Sporkball Journals challenges any and all citizens, orgs and corporations to match this pledge, dollar for dollar. As most of you know, I’m just a one-woman shop based out of my home. If this matching challenge could be announced at the ballpark and on the radio, perhaps my tiny seed money can be the catalyst for a larger wave of financial support from our community as a whole.

Lastly, all of you are aware of how our fellow Minor-League Angels fans, families and friends in the Midwest truly need our help. Nonetheless, it is certainly worth repeating that in Cedar Rapids alone — home of the Angels Single-A Affiliate Cedar Rapids Kernels — damages caused by the floods is estimated at over $1.3 billion dollars, and rising.

Meanwhile, still no indication of any announcement from the Angels that they’ll help Cedar Rapids …