Kernels Leaders Hope New Twins Partnership Will Fill Seats
By Addison Speck, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Signatures made it official on Wednesday. Next season will start the 4 year relationship of the Cedar Rapids Kernels and the Minnesota Twins.
"I think it's going to bring a great deal of energy, anything new is great. The best part is that we are 270 miles away from them and the synergy between the twin cities and here is going to be great," said Gary Keoppel, Kernels Board President.
This year, the Kernels had their lowest season attendance since 2002. Leaders and some fans believe having an affiliate team within driving distance will help fill these seats next season with both Eastern Iowans and Minnesotans. "I think it's a tremendous deal because it's going to give people the opportunity to see major league players who have to come to Cedar Rapids for rehab," said Dale Brodt, of Cedar Rapids.
"Everyone knows where Cedar Rapids is and they are going to have an opportunity to come down and see our young talent and our young prospects perform at a facility that is really an outstanding facility," said Jim Rantz, the Twins Senior Director for Minor League.
Rantz said it will be nice not having to move players half-way across the country. "The distance and geography for Minnesota is great," he said.
Kernels leaders are working to develop more Twins Fans in the area but say they've already heard from a lot of fired up fans. "I think we've got a lot of ideas and we are just in the process of putting those together," said Keoppel.
We're told the uniforms and logos will stay the same, except there will be a Twins patch on the sleeve instead of an Angels. Rantz said the Twins organization leaves promotions up to the Kernels, but can offer give away items and ideas to help fill seats.
Leaders know not all fans will be excited about the switch, but they hope they still continue supporting the Kernels. Many fans at the conference on Wednesday were hopeful this partnership lasts longer than 4 years.
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