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Midwest League 1996

Cedar Rapids Kernels

Joel's Lugnut Summer


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This page profiles the 1996 Cedar Rapids Kernels, a Single-A affiliate of the Anaheim Angels and a member of the Midwest League.


This essay previewed the last 1996 series between the Kernels and the Lansing Lugnuts. It was intended to highlight the team's strengths, and was written from the perspective of a Lugnuts fan.



Four home games against Cedar Rapids. The Nuts will be giving away insulated mugs at Sunday's game, and lunch bags on Tuesday. Tuesday's game will also feature a NASCAR display.


The Kernels are affiliated with the California Angels and are locally owned by a large number of small stockholders. In my opinion, they've got the league's best logo.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette maintains a terrific website devoted to the Kernels; I [can no longer] highly recommend it [as its focus has changed]. There's an official Kernels page, too, but it's not as interesting [this one's improved]. Gary Jarvis has a fine picture of the ballpark at his site, as [did] Kevin Marsh at his. Finally, [former] Gazette photographer Chris Stewart offers [offered] some excellent pictures with and without Kernels connections.


The Kernel's manager is Tom Lawless. Coaches are Steve Renko and Charlie Romero.


MWL Fan's Guide

The Ballpark

The Kernels call Veterans Memorial Stadium home. The Vet dates from the late 1940s and is what I imagined minor league parks to look like: concrete and steel and wood, roofed grandstand, lots of outfield signs, steel mesh screen. Really a neat place. The fences are 325-385-325. STATS Minor League Handbook says the park doesn't favor either hitters or pitchers, but does help home run hitters. There's a picnic deck down the left-field line. Foul territory is steeply sloped, especially behind home plate; I expect it surprises visiting catchers.

Directions: Interstate-380 to Wilson Avenue; west on Wilson 1 1/2 miles to Rockford (just past the tracks); right on Rockford less than a mile to the park. Plenty of free parking. (We didn't have directions and got there by following signs; same route.)


The Team

All-Stars: Larry Barnes (1B), David Davalillo (2B), Jose Cintron (P).

Statistics quoted include games of Wednesday, August 7.

The Angels' Short-Season A team at Boise last year was the best in the Northwest League, and Cedar's was one of the best in ours. This team has members of both. The stat lines suggest Boise won its championship mainly with hitting.

The Kernels finished last in the Western Division for the first half, at 29-38 (.433), 7.5 games out of first place. They're tied for first, now, at 25-23 (.521), with the River Bandits.

I've been waiting all season to see Larry Barnes play; he's been having a spectacular season at the plate (.320, 71 runs, 33 doubles, 20 homes, 82 RBIs) and is probably the league's best hitter for the year. He plays first base for the Kernels. Other interesting position players on this squad include shortstop Justin Baughman with 35 stolen bases, outfielder Norm Hutchins with 13 triples and 21 steals, and outfielder John Vander Griend with 15 homes and 57 RBIs. This team's hitters are either excellent or poor.

Manager Tom Lawless likes his teams to run. This team, in general, doesn't run well, so the steals are concentrated in a few players. I wondered about that in my preview when the teams met in April.

The pitching staff is about average for the league. Jose Cintron is very good. Reliever Brian Scutero isn't racking up saves but is pitching extremely well. The rest of the staff is decent, but no one really stands out; many have only pitched a handful of innings.



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The Midwest League plays Single-A, professional baseball in America's agricultural and industrial heartland. 16 teams play a 140 game schedule which begins in early April and ends Labor Day weekend.

Disclaimers:
This website is a private project and has no official relation with or sanction from the Midwest League or Minor League Baseball.
The opinions expressed on this page are mine, and are worth about that.


Copyright © 1996-2010 Joel Dinda
Some Rights Reserved.