CEDAR RAPIDS – A crowd of 2,886 took in the opener of the season’s final homestand at Veterans Memorial Stadium last night, clinging to what’s left of the summer baseball season.
“Well, it’s been a wonderful summer,” Jim Hutton of Cedar Rapids said before the hometown Kernels had their three-game winning streak snapped by the Clinton LumberKings, 5-4. “I’ve been looking forward to a new start next year already.”
For ardent fans like Hutton, 74, who has attended games dating back to the 1949 unveiling of old Vets Stadium, the looming marathon of the eastern Iowa winter is merely a prelude to the next season.
“I’ll watch the Major League games until they’re through with the World Series, then I start thinking about spring again,” Hutton said.
So after the final echo of the public address system has floated out over Rockford Road, after the infield tarp has been fitted for its winter hibernation, thick memories of the season will still remain in the mind’s eye of the child clutching their first autograph, the steady couple who shared their first date night, and the adult who FINALLY caught their first foul ball.
Two o’clock matinees remain, both today and Labor Day, before the book on the 2012 Cedar Rapids baseball season can officially be closed. Two more chances, for fans like Jim Hutton, to grasp the fading summer with fingers which will all too soon be donning winter gloves.