We began the playoffs with a compelling 3-0 victory over our divisional rival Clinton last night, the type of start we were looking for. While we drew a small crowd of 1,000, you could tell everyone was into the game. At times, I was convinced that the crowd was louder than some of the 3,000-fan nights we grew accustomed to during the summer. However, with it being a school night in the middle of the week, the crowd was about what we were expecting.
We are more than grateful for those fans that took the time to show up last night, as well as those who listened to the game on the radio or read the recap in today’s paper. I felt it necessary to take the time to thank many people for this past season, from those who made it possible both on the field and off. While this will not be my last post of the season, I wanted to do this sooner rather than later.
First, I thank my parents, brother, sister, and extended family for all of their support and the interest they have expressed throughout this season and in my career. I thank all of my friends from home, Rochester, Tampa, Tempe, Rancho, and everyone else I have met along the way who have checked in with me along the way this season to see how things were going. I thank my host families for their support and interest during the season, as well as providing me with a place to live and some meals along the way.
With regard to the blog, I have to thank Amy Gunnells, the sports editor at one of my hometown newspapers, The Independent, for getting me started with the idea of keeping this journal. I also thank Jeff Johnson with The Gazette, for providing my blog a local distribution medium, by linking to it on their website, as well as through a special interest article he wrote during the season. Stephen Smith with futureangels.com has also been key in the publicity of this blog, and I thank him for all of his help. I also want to thank Anita Tsuchiya, who has aided in increasing my readership by writing about my blog in hers (which can be found here: The Sporkball Journals). Another person who has been a big help to me with this blog is Erin Gallagher, who has let me bounce ideas off her all season and provided me valuable feedback along the way. I thank all of the readers for keeping up with the blog and the teams I have played with, especially those who have taken the time to comment and ask questions. This blog’s readership has far surpassed what I envisioned it to be, and I am truly grateful for the interest.
For the on-field side of things, I thank Jack Roeder and all of the front office staff for providing the Kernels with the opportunity to play in Cedar Rapids and all of the great things they have done for us during the season. Jesse Roeder and the entire grounds crew have allowed us to play on one of the best fields in the league, even when the weather was unfavorable, especially toward the beginning of the season. I thank Sonya Masse and the pep crew she led during the season to keep our fans involved during the game, as well as organizing all of the community events we were able to assist with all season. Our radio broadcaster, John Rodgers, has been great all season with his enthusiasm for the team, even when things were bleak, and his radio and community work is greatly appreciated. We would not have been able to get anywhere without our bus driver, Jim Willenbring, and his support on the road is matched by few.
Finally, I thank the fans, the city of Cedar Rapids, and all of its surrounding communities. Without you, there is no baseball. The entire team understands the hardship that you have endured with the floods this year and we cannot express how thankful we were to see your continued support this season, even during the trying times, when we know that you had many more important things to attend to than baseball games. Even though we will be leaving shortly, our thoughts will be with you, pulling for you to overcome this detestation and become even stronger than before. Words cannot express how thankful we are for your support this season, and we know that you will continue to offer this to the future teams of Cedar Rapids.
My apologies if I neglected to specifically mention certain individuals, but just know that your support and interest has been greatly appreciated. I thank everyone who has taken part in my 2008 season.