It's official: The Twins are moving their low-Class A affiliate from Beloit to Cedar Rapids starting next season and running through at least 2016. While this doesn't quite satisfy Clarence Swamptown's dream of having a minor league team in a new stadium in St. Paul, there are several benefits to the move. As such, we'd like to give minor league baseball enthusiasts (we count ourselves among them) a head start on what to expect from a road trip to see the future Twins in Cedar Rapids:
*The ballpark: This is a major upgrade. Perfect Game Field at the new Veterans Memorial Ballpark
(pictured) opened in 2002. While we have never been to a game at the new Vet -- we have relatives who live in Cedar Rapids and did see a few games at the previous incarnation when it was a Reds affiliate during the 1980s -- it looks like your classic minor league park. It seats 5,300 and will certainly be an upgrade over Harry C. Pohlman
field in Beloit, which is an actual ballpark name and not a Fletch alias.
*The team history: Cedar Rapids has had a Midwest League affiliate since 1962. For the past 20 seasons, it has been with the Angels, which makes no sense geographically. They appear thrilled
to be linked up now with the Twins.
*The drive: Show a little hustle and you can comfortably get to Cedar Rapids in 4 hours, 30 minutes. That’s a good 45 minutes faster than the trip to Beloit. Win.
*The city: Again, here’s a victory. Beloit proper has about 36,000 residents, while greater Beloit
has about 91,000 residents. Cedar Rapids
has 125K in the city alone and double that in the three county area. Translation: More hotels, more pre-game options, more post-game options. It’s also 30 miles from Iowa City if you want to go mix it up with some Hawkeye fans. Take a day trip to the Field of Dreams
movie site, about 65 miles away. Make a weekend out of it. Let Cedar Rapids give you a warm embrace.
*The smell: Here’s the downside: Cedar Rapids is sometimes called, “The City of Five Smells
.” This is not a compliment. There is often a wind-driven scent from one of the major food production centers there.
*The movie: Cedar Rapids, the movie, was hilarious. We do not know of any Beloit-based movies.
*The schedule: In a strange coincidence, it appears Cedar Rapids
will open against Beloit next season. Who's ready for a 2013 road trip?