Pull up a seat, grab a coaster and let Todd Brommelkamp pour you a double shot of words with a punctuation chaser. Consider this the equivalent of giving your mind a stiff drink. Just remember this blog, like most things in life, is best enjoyed in moderation.
Never one to turn down a good time, Todd will hang out with anyone (even a pair of cardboard cutouts) as long as the drinks keep coming. Just don't tell him these guys aren't real because it would break his bacon-clogged little heart.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels will play the Quad Cities River Bandits at 7 PM June 28. That, in and of itself, isn't exactly newsworthy. It's one of 70 road games the Kernels will play over the course of the Midwest League season. But Hacksaw Jim Duggan isn't scheduled to appear at any of the team's other road contests in 2012.
I love these types of appearances. If you listen to our show at all, you're aware of my semi-serious efforts to get the Kernels (or someone) to bring TV's Mr. Belding, actor Dennis Haskins, to the area [Just look at all the fun the folks in Reading, Penn., had with him in 2010] . Like the former principal at Bayside High, Duggan was a big part of my youth. As a matter of fact, when a friend and I learned of his upcoming appearance, we simultaneously broke out into Duggan's patented "Hoooooo" cry. (Full disclosure: Neither of us were entirely sober)
Many minor league teams across the country have figured out bringing in pop culture figures like Haskins and Duggan is good for business. Everyone wants to feel like a kid again from time to time. It's why I still buy the occasional pack of baseball cards when I'm out and about or why every Easter I have to buy at least one Cadbury chocolate egg. Adults tired of working 9-to-5 jobs and all that comes with being a grown-up will jump at the chance to go watch a baseball game, drink a little beer ($2 drafts the night of Duggan's QC appearance) and recapture a fleeting glimpse of their youths. There's major money to be made cashing in on the retro craze these days - just look at all the sports teams that wear (and sell) throwback uniforms.
The Zooperstars, Birdzerk and other kid-friendly minor leagues acts have their place and they've become staples at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium over the years ... which is fine if you're into seeing the same thing over and over again. I'll take Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Mr. Belding or Carlton Banks (the River Bandits are also scheduled to host Alfonso Ribeiro on August 9th) any day of the week. The beauty of pop culture icons is there's a seemingly endless supply of would-be ballpark guests which means fans never see the same thing year after year (Zooperstars Spoiler Alert: Clammy Sosa swallows the 'ballboy' and spits hiim out half-naked). You can bring in Mr. Belding one year and follow him up with Poncherello or Bo Duke the following year. No one that lives two hours away will jump in their car to see Myron Noodleman but you bring a 1980s wrestling icon to the town and you'll have folks from all over checking out your ballpark and spending money there.
Celebrity appearances and traveling entertainment acts both cost money. Someone like Hacksaw Jim Duggan doesn't just show up and sign autographs, pose for pictures and perhaps swing a two-by-four out of the goodness of their heart. But, as the old saying goes, you've got to spend a little money to make a little money. My guess is the River Bandtis will get quite a nice return on their investment this June as will the Peoria Chiefs, who will be hosting Haskins for their June 8th game against the Kernels at O'Brien Field.
The Zooperstars, by the way, visit Cedar Rapids May 27th. Just wait until you see Harry Canary sing Take Me out to the Ballgame...
Major League Baseball already had four different opening day celebrations so let's have another one in Cedar Rapids.
Tonight at 6:35 the Cedar Rapids Kernels will open the home portion of their 140-game Midwest League schedule when they take on their Highway 30 intrastate rivals, the Clinton LumberKings (1-2). The Kernels actually began the season last Thursday near Appleton, Wisc., and bring a 2-1 record into play this evening at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Kernels were gracious enough to invite both the Gym Class (3-4) and our show, Balbinot and Brommelkamp (4-7), to broadcast live from the park for the home opener. If you can't join us live at the park, make sure to tune in as both shows will have an array of Kernels-themed guests including 2012 manager Jamie Burke.
The first 1,000 fans through the gates tonight will also receive a one-of-a-kind bobblehead of former Kernel and future All-Star Mike Trout. Trout spent the first half of the 2010 season in Cedar Rapids and has been compared by many scouts to none other than Mickey Mantle for the tantalizing package of tools he brings to the diamond each night.
If bobbleheads aren't your thing, it's a ballpark: They serve beer. Speaking of beer, don't forget to check out Thirsty Thursdays with the Kernels and Z102.9 all summer long.
With the prospect of semi-decent weather for a home opener, the Kernels are optimistic they can draw one of the largest crowds for an opener since their new park openend on a rain-soaked night in 2002.
A lot of golf fans are giddy with excitement this week because, as you likely know it's "Masters Week."
Well, I'm like a kid in a candy store this week as well. Baseball season officially gets under way this week at both the minor and major league levels. I've spent most of my Monday morning checking out the rosters of Midwest League teams to see who may or may not play at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium this year.
The Kernels are set to announce their initial roster later today. If you listened to Friday's edition of "Balbinot and Brommelkamp" you likely heard Kernels radio guy Morgan Hawk hint at the fact 2010 Angels first-rounder Kaleb Cowart would be among the 25 players who broke camp with manager Jamie Burke. When the Kernels release their roster it will be found here.
We won't know who the Kernels will be facing when they host us for the home opener April 9th because the Clinton LumberKings won't find out their roster until Wednesday - the day before the season begins. That's because the Seattle Mariners, Clinton's parent club, doesn't want to set rosters until after the final round of big league cuts have been made.
For Cubs and Cardinals fans in the area curious about which prospects they will - or won't - be seeing in Peoria and Davenport this year, here are links to the rosters for the Peoria Chiefs and Quad Cities River Bandits. Peoria's roster features six of the Cubs top 30 prospects as ranked by Baseball America. The Bandits make an early visit to Cedar Rapids on April 12th for a four-game series. The Chiefs won't play here until a three-game series on May 19th.