4 Minor League Games in 4 Nights: Burlington Bees, Quad Cities River Bandits, Clinton LumberKings, and Cedar Rapids Kernels

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Yesterday (Sunday) Bill and I returned from our self-proclaimed “baseball and crop tour.” The baseball part was all in eastern Iowa; the crop part extended into Illinois.

Each evening of this past Wednesday through Saturday, July 14th-17th, we attended a Class A minor league baseball game. The first three were along the Mississippi River; the fourth was in Cedar Rapids.

These were the Class A Midwest League standings prior to game time on Friday, July 16th. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

While our primary goals were to attend a baseball game each day and to check out crops, we also tried to dine at a brewpub each day. On Monday we intended to go to a brewpub in Fort Madison, only to find out it was closed that day. At the recommendation of a local, we ended up at The Drake restaurant on the riverfront in Burlington. For both Bill and me, the favorite meal of the trip was at The Drake. There I had the “Oak Grilled Salmon” which was delectably complemented with my side choice of risotto. Bill had the “Slow-Smoked Brisket.”

We weren’t all that wild about the beer at any of the brewpubs where we stopped, but we did like the Bier Stube Bar & Grill in LeClaire. The pretzels and beer were authentic enough to stir fond memories of Germany.

Our favorite ballpark ambience was at the Burlington Bees’ Community Field; its atmosphere came the closest to being pure baseball. Although there was a brick and mortar stadium, a sense of Field of Dreams entered our minds. We sat in the third row on the third base side. While players were on deck we could listen to them talk with each other and/or talk with spectators. We liked that the atmosphere wasn’t as commercialized as at the other three ball parks. The only drawback was that we weren’t in the shade; we were at the other ballparks. However, even though temperatures had been into the mid- (maybe upper?) 90s the evening we were at the Bees’ ballpark, with the sun at our backs and the game starting at 7:00 PM, we were comfortable.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Burlington Bees’ regular attendee, Dancing Bob. Bill and I got a kick out of watching Dancing Bob dance to just about every song played over the Bees’ PA system. According to the woman sitting in front of me, Dancing Bob attends every (or almost every?) game and, with his brother, after the games cleans up the stadium. The night we were there, throughout the game Dancing Bob was surrounded by children who danced the night away with him.

Our “worst” ballpark food was our brats at the Quad Cities game. However, in hindsight that might have been because their brats are probably more like authentic German brats (definite casing to chew through, which I’m not fond of), indicative of the German heritage in that area.

On Friday, we went to the German American Heritage Center in Davenport. We didn’t stay long but were glad we stopped. The center’s web site says, “The GAHC building was built in the 1860s, and was originally the Standard Hotel where thousands of German immigrants stayed in the 1800s when they arrived in the area.”

Admittedly, the following photos of Bill and me aren’t all that exciting or telling. Basically we have about one photo from each ballpark, except for at the Clinton stadium where the Klement’s Sausage mascots were just too funny. The following links provide team/stadium information.

Wednesday, July 14th: Burlington Bees

Bill and me before the Burlington Bees game, July 14th.

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Thursday, July 15th: Quad Cities River Bandits

During the Quad Cities River Bandits game. In the background is the bridge over the Mississippi River.

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Friday, July 16th: Clinton LumberKings

At the Clinton LumberKings game.

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Late in the LumberKings' game when things were slow, the three (two seen in this photo) Klement's Sausage mascots were hilarious as they livened things up in the stands. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

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Saturday, July 17th: Cedar Rapids Kernels

In the 9th inning of the Cedar Rapids Kernels game.

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(Click here to go to Louise Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

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3 Responses to “4 Minor League Games in 4 Nights: Burlington Bees, Quad Cities River Bandits, Clinton LumberKings, and Cedar Rapids Kernels”

  1. Peg Moore Says:

    I especially like the second photo of you and Bill. 🙂

    And I sent the link to J, J, B, J, C, and a few more friends with mid-west ties. Fun! Maybe J and C will change their plans for an east-coast major league tour to an Iowa minor-league tour! 🙂

  2. Marti Gunderson Carlson Says:

    Mick is from Burlington. I’ll let him know you visited his old stomping grounds.

  3. Clara Hoover Says:

    Actualy, the Fun!!!!!!!! was supposed to be here.

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