Play Ball: Best Places To Catch A Pro Baseball Game In Iowa

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Baseball season is upon us and, thankfully, the Major League Baseball lockout ended.

While Iowa does not have an MLB team, it fortunately has many minor league and independent league baseball teams to watch. Take this summer to drive around the state to see the collection of baseball talent in the Hawkeye State. 

Iowa Cubs

Principal Park. Photo by Dylan Heuer/Iowa Cubs

Join the fun and visit Des Moines to watch the Iowa Cubs, the only Triple-A team in the state. Principal Park, home of the I-Cubs, sits at the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers to provide a pleasurable baseball-viewing experience. Looking out past center field, the golden dome of the Iowa State Capitol glimmers in the sun or moonlight. A romantic view for baseball lovers.

This season the I-Cubs have fun promotional days such as the Friday Fireworks, the Sunday Kids Run the Bases, and the new “Twos-day” on Tuesdays, where fans get two reserved tickets, two pizza slices, and two 16-oz beers or 20-oz soft drinks for $32. 

Affiliation: Chicago Cubs

Home Opener: Tuesday, April 12

Address: One Line Drive, Des Moines

Cedar Rapids Kernels

Photo courtesy of Cedar Rapids Kernels

Come to Veterans Memorial Stadium for the Cedar Rapids Kernels this baseball season. The Kernels have daily promotions such as two-for-one Fridays, fireworks on Saturdays, and select bark in the park dates so your pooch can get in on the action.

The Kernels also have one-off promotions throughout the year such as “Star Wars” Night on May 20, Iowa PBS Daniel Tiger Night on June 25, or a true Iowan affair, the Busch Light Night with Busch Light Cap Giveaway on Aug. 5.

For the die-hard baseball fans, this season is a return to “normal” with a full 132-game schedule for this competitive squad. Since the Kernels began an affiliation with the Twins back in 2013, they have made the playoffs every season with former Twin Brian Dinkelman returning for his third season as manager.

Affiliation: Minnesota Twins

Home Opener: Friday, April 8

Address: 950 Rockford Road S.W., Cedar Rapids

Quad Cities River Bandits

Photo courtesy of Quad Cities River Bandits

If there is one stadium to visit in Iowa, it is the Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport. The ballfield is home to the Quad Cities River Bandits. This stadium lies on the banks of the Mississippi River providing a perfect view of the river and the Centennial Bridge jutting out into mid-right field. 

In addition to baseball, this park also has amusement rides with a Ferris wheel overlooking the mighty Mississippi. The experience of baseball and rides at this stadium is the epitome of summer fun in the sun. The kids can play while the parents watch the ballplayers play.

Complementing the flawless stadium is the best name in baseball: River Bandits. Like their name, this team is great. The River Bandits are coming off their 12th league title in franchise history. Fans can expect some items to celebrate the team’s 2021 High-A Central Championship.

Affiliation: Kansas City Royals

Home Opener: Tuesday, April 12

Address: 209 S. Gaines St., Davenport

Sioux City Explorers

Photo courtesy of Sioux City Explorers

While not affiliated with an MLB team, the Sioux City Explorers are still worth watching. Their players can be picked up by Major League organizations and placed into a certain level of affiliated baseball.

The Explorers have been around since 1993, and are celebrating their 30th season. They will have the 30th anniversary for their first game ever played as well as an All-30 celebration on the 30th home game of the year. 

While the date is still being established, the Explorers have a promotion called “Pack the Park Night,” which will take place in early-mid June. For those who want to attend a game, this is the perfect promotion. For it, the Explorers hand out free tickets for the game to pack the park. Over the July 4 weekend, the Explorers will shoot off fireworks on July 3 and 4. 

Home Opener: Tuesday, May 17

Address: 3400 Line Drive, Sioux City

Clarinda A’s

Photo courtesy of the Clarinda A’s

The Clarinda A’s are one of the oldest baseball teams in Iowa most people may not know about. The A’s are preparing for their 67th season on the field and 68th overall. Plan ahead to attend one of their games as their season runs from the first week of June through the last week of July. Last season, they walloped their competition with a 37-6 record. 

While not professional athletes, the A’s have a mix of Division 1, Division 2, and junior college players. A few Major Leaguers have passed through the A’s ranks including Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, Chuck Knoblauch, Daniel Descalso, Andrew Cashner, and many more.

Highlights of the season is parents’ weekend from July 2-5 with a firework show after the game. The A’s also host the MINK League All-Star game on Sunday, July 10, with a home-run contest at 5 p.m. before the game.

The A’s are a gritty organization. No one with the A’s gets paid, but the community of Clarinda has always been a strong supporter of the program through financial means and game attendance. 

Home Opener: First week of June

Address: S. Fourth St., Clarinda

 

by Sean Dengler

03/17/22

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