Diamonds and Ice

“Deep Thoughts” by Jeff Johnson
July 19, 2008, 2:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Just sitting here at Memorial Stadium through a long double-header and started thinking about some things:

— Are there any worst scourges on this earth than professional sports agents? Pitcher Francisco Liriano’s agent is having the MLB Player’s Union investigate the Minnesota Twins because they haven’t called up his client from Triple-A, yet, despite him pitching well. The impetus behind the investigation is money. Liriano could have been granted arbitration had he been up with the club this season long enough. That’s not going to happen, so ….. an investigation to see if the Twins are leaving him in Triple-A on purpose. Guess no one remembers that Liriano (coming off Tommy John Surgery) made the club out of spring training and got lit up before being sent to the minors.

The whole situation prompted this response from Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire: “I don’t know who is throwing this out there, but it is a joke,” Gardenhire told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “We have a player in Double-A who’s got like 18 homers. His agent is going to start calling us. They cannot dictate what we are going to do.”

Well said, Gardy.

— Congratulations to Cedar Rapids Xavier’s baseball team for another trip to the state tournament. But why did the Saints get to play every one of their postseason games leading to state at home? Xavier takes a 16-22 to Des Moines next week. That doesn’t seem right.

— Go away, Brett Favre. The former/current Green Bay Packers quarterback has lost a lot of his luster in these eyes with his I’m-retired, I’m-not-retired Prima Donna act. He has put the Packers in a tremendously difficult situation and has bashed their front office publicly. No one player is bigger than the game he plays, Mr. Favre. No one player is bigger than the team he plays that game for.

— Gotta think the Chicago Cubs lost the World Series the other night when the American League outlasted the National League in the MLB All-Star Game. The Cubbies have been out of sight at Wrigley Field this season but ordinary at best on the road. And here’s another point no one has brought up: the Cubs finished Interleague play with a losing record. They may be a very good team, but that’s a very good National League team.

— 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.

Riders mini-camp/car wash
July 9, 2008, 9:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders will hold a three-day mini-camp this weekend, with a Sunday morning practice open to the public from 10 a.m. to noon.

The team also will conduct a fundraising car wash Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Surgery Center Cedar Rapids parking lot (1075 1st Avenue SE). Players will wash cars in exchange for donations to the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation’s Flood 2008 Fund.

By the way, it’s no longer the Iowa Stars AHL hockey club. It’s the (believe it or not) Iowa Chops. The club is no longer affiliated with the NHL’s Dallas Stars but the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, which necessitated the name change.

According to the AHL’s website, the new logo “depicts a vicious boar’s head in the team colors of crimson, grey and black, and was designed to depict the tougher style of hockey coming to Iowa. Showcasing the team’s proud Iowa roots, the secondary logo (located on the shoulders of players’ jerseys) is an outline of the state of Iowa with a giant letter “I” in the center.”

You can check it out yourself at

More help, none from the Angels
July 2, 2008, 9:03 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Cedar Rapids Kernels announced 4,000 pounds of food was donated to the HACAP Food Reservoir by fans during the team’s last homestand. In a nice gesture, the Dale and Thomas Popcorn Company (who the field at Memorial Stadium is named after) donated 7,700 pounds of popcorn products.

The Kernels Prep Crew (hello, Sonya) passed a hat around Memorial Stadium each night during the last homestand and collected $6,500 for the Red Cross to assist with flood relief. Thank you, fans.

And the parent Los Angeles Angels still have yet to publicly acknowledge there has been a flood in a city they have been partnered with for 16 years. That’s embarrassing, Angels. Hopefully this lack of response has opened some eyes on the Kernels’ board of directors.

Also, recently talked with Cedar Rapids RoughRiders head coach Mark Carlson, who has been helping out with flood recovery. Most days during the past 2 weeks, Coach Carlson has driven around affected neighborhoods in town to help residences and businesses with whatever needs to be done. Coach says the other members of the RoughRiders front office also have been eager to help.

BTW, it appears the long-awaited sale of the club is close to being finalized.