That’s a promotion by www.minorleaguebaseball.com to honor the best name in the minors. Fans vote online to determine individual winners of matchups in four brackets of 64 total players.
Bushyhead, who joined the Kernels from Rookie ball July 20, just knocked off Lake Elsinore pitcher Kevin Quackenbush. He faces Boise first baseman Rock Shoulders in the semis, with voting ending Thursday.
“I’ve noticed it, yeah,” Bushyhead said before last night’s 3-2 loss to Clinton. “I’ve followed it, kind of paid attention. I don’t know if I’m winning or not until someone Tweets at me and says congratulations. Then I’ll be like ‘OK, I won (this round).’ It’s pretty funny.
“The final four. I have no idea if I win anything. I hope so. That’d be cool.”
Fans can win prizes for voting, but it’s unclear if players benefit. They should get something, whether it’s monetary or maybe a nice trophy.
Bushyhead, by the way, is extremely proud of the heritage that comes with his unique last name. He is Native American on his father’s side, a member of the Cherokee tribe from Mannford, Okla., a one-stoplight bedroom community of Tulsa.
He played collegiately for the Oklahoma Sooners and was a 29th-round pick in June of the parent Los Angeles Angels.
“I mean, it’s important to me. I think it’s pretty special,” Bushyhead said. “I take great pride in that, I support it. It’s part of my family, my heritage. There’s some big names in the Bushyhead (family), from back in the Trail of Tears, a couple of chiefs and stuff.”
The Trail of Tears was in the 1830s when members of the tribe were forced by the government to leave their homeland in the southeastern United States to Oklahoma.
The Kernels (11-26 second half) wasted a strong starting pitching performance from Austin Wood, who got a no decision despite entering the ninth inning with a shutout. Wood gave up a leadoff single to Chris Taylor and was relieved by Stephem Tromblee (4-2), who allowed back-to-back home runs to Ji-Man Choi and Dan Paolini.
Cedar Rapids got a run in the second on a two-out Matt Scioscia double and Abel Baker RBI single. An unearned run in the eighth appeared to be the clincher.
The Kernels are 43-64 overall, worst in the 16-team Midwest League.