The Minor League Game of the Week

P.J. Phillips hit two doubles in the Kernels’ July 2 game against Kane County.

July 2, 2007 — It’s Future Angels vs. Future A’s as the Cedar Rapids Kernels host the Kane County Cougars in a Midwest League contest.

One of my guilty pleasures during the off-season is to listen to Kernels broadcaster John Rodgers on a cold January weekend morning. Listening in January to John calling a July game reminds me of what’s to come in another six months.

John is now the dean of Midwest League broadcasters. He’s been with the Kernels for twelve years, but he’s respected throughout the league for his hard work and effervescent personality. John’s broadcasting style is definitely old-school, peppering his prose with phrases like "worm-burner" or "Uncle Charlie." A student of history, he revels in the history of the franchise, the league and the game in general.

Because the Kernels are community-owned, the community is part of the broadcast. Members of the community will be interviewed on-air during the game, from teachers to retirees to children.

For those of us who live in Southern California, Kernels broadcasts might seem a bit "corny" (hey, they’re called the Kernels for a reason) but I wouldn’t change a single word. I always enjoy visiting Cedar Rapids, where on the whole people are far more genuine and humble than they are here in SoCal.

Jeremy Haynes pitches seven shutout innings for the Kernels. At age 21, he doesn’t get the attention that "name" prospects do, such as Sean O’Sullivan, Trevor Bell and Jordan Walden. Jeremy was a 37th round draft-and-follow pick in the June 2005 draft. He signed in May 2006, just as he was about to go back into the draft pool. We shouldn’t be surprised that he was a Tom Kotchman find. Jeremy finished 2007 with a 3.06 ERA in 19 starts, a 75:41 SO:BB ratio in 94.0 IP, and most telling was that he gave up only three homers. I’m looking forward to seeing how he does this year with Rancho Cucamonga in the high-octane California League. I’ve yet to see him pitch, so I’m looking forward to his stint with the Quakes.

Left fielder Stantrel Smith homers, a fairly rare event for Stan, and shortstop P.J. Phillips hits two doubles. Submariner Aaron Cook closes it out with two shutout relief innings.

Click Here to listen. You need Windows Media Player.

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