For more great baseball stories like this one, 'like' us on Facebook -

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Road Trip: Mission Burlington

The first time I was in Burlington, Iowa, for a baseball game, I was on a mission.

The visiting Appleton Foxes, the single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, had the top pick in the draft and he probably wasn't going to be in Single-A very long. Or at least long enough to make it to Appleton's visit to Cedar Rapids, where my dad and I usually went to games.

My mission was Alex Rodriguez and his autograph. And my mission failed. He stayed warming up in the outfield too long and the autograph window closed before I could get him to sign. He did hit two home runs that night, before we had to leave. I had school in the morning.

I returned with my dad to Burlington's Community Field at least one more time, the next year. Last month, I returned with my wife, with the Bees a late addition to our vacation back to my home state of Iowa.

It was down the first base line, just beyond the dugout, that I waited in vain for Alex Rodriguez

The main games were Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium and Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark. But we got off on vacation a day early, and that opened up a slot for Burlington.

We actually got to the game a half hour late. I assumed a 7 p.m. start. The game actually started at 6:30. My wife and I spent the time trying to find Snake Alley, a Lombard Street-like road in downtown Burlington. We finally found it and got to the ballpark just in time to be a half hour late.

But, since my mission this time was to simply add another ballpark to our growing list of ballparks my wife and I have seen games at together, and not getting a future steroid user's autograph, I was fine with being late.

Burlington's Sugar Ray Marimon goes to the plate

We went to the Aug. 23 game, a Monday night with $2 game tickets. Can't beat tickets for two totaling $4. The game pitted the Royals-affiliate Bees with the Twins' affiliate Beloit Snappers. It was one the visiting Snappers won by a score of 6-4.

The stadium was the same stadium my dad and I went to, but it didn't look it. It underwent a renovation for the 2004 season, and it certainly showed it. I don't have any pictures from the games my dad and I went to.

But I did come across this photo in a museum case in the souvenir shop after the game. Compare that shot with the exterior shot up top. It's a big difference and a nice looking difference. Inside, that wing like overhang serves to protect part of the stands from rain and foul balls.

Also in the museum case were several old Bees programs, including one from 1995. I have a copy of the same program upstairs. While I don't have any pictures from the games my dad and I went to, I do have a bunch of programs, rosters and non-ARod autographs.

In the back of the shop was the trophy case, including the Bees' 2008 Midwest League Championship trophy.

To bring this home, since I started this blog, I watch out for coaches and managers being from the CMC set. There were no CMC set members with either the 2010 Bees or Snappers. But I have seen a CMC set member in Burlington before, in 1994, when I was there to see A-Rod.

The hitting coach with Appleton that year? One Delwyn Young, father of the younger Delwyn Young and member of the 1990 Canton-Akron Indians. I'm sure I picked up Young's autograph, maybe not in that visit to Burlington but later in the year when Appleton visited Cedar Rapids. At some point, if it's up in my attic, I'll have to dig it out.

The roster from that game is below, A-Rod under the Appleton infielders and Young at the bottom with the coaches. Click for the larger version.

734 - Delwyn Young, Racing Home, 4/3/10

1 comment:

  1. I visited that park last year and I really liked it. I had seen some older pictures of the park and I had a hard time believing that the park was renovated. But, once I went to the restroom, I knew that was the case.