Kernels Likely To Sign With Twins As New Affiliate

By Jeff Johnson, Reporter

Kernels shortstop Raul Linares (2) throws to first for an out during the game between the Clinton LumberKings and the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids on Monday, September 3, 2012. (Stephen Mally/Freelance)

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By Grant Burkhardt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Despite a report Monday night, the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Minnesota Twins have not gotten hitched or agreed to get hitched. Though it's just a matter of time.

Twins officials visited Veterans Memorial Stadium and talked to members of the Kernels' board of directors Monday afternoon, which is expected to lead to an eventual agreement of a four-year Player Development Contract, sources said.

A press conference to announce the marriage is expected Wednesday. A blogger in the Twin Cities said a deal had been reached between the sides, which Kernels President Gary Keoppel categorically denied Monday evening.

"Nothing has been signed or agreed to," he said. "We actually have spoken to a couple of other clubs."

The Kansas City Royals are one of those clubs, sources said. But it's the Twins that will very likely win out.

The Kernels decided to end a 20-year relationship with the Los Angeles Angels to affiliate with a Midwest team, Keoppel said Sunday night. There are four of those technically available: the Twins, Cubs, Royals and Cardinals.

But the Cubs are reportedly going to enter into an agreement with Kane County. The Cardinals have decided to leave Quad Cities, but will most likely move to Peoria.

The Twins have been affiliated with Beloit for the past eight seasons, though Beloit is widely considered the worst place to be in the 16-team Midwest League because of small and poor facilities, as well as little attendance. Speaking of attendance, the Kernels had their lowest this season since moving into the newer Veterans Memorial Stadium in 2002, which helped move the club's board of directors toward an affiliate that makes much more sense geographically.

The Kernels have not had a regional affiliate since the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1960s.

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