Cedar Rapids, IA - Arguably the most colorful play-by-play announcer in professional baseball is leaving the Cedar Rapids Kernels broadcast booth. John Rodgers, the dean of Midwest League announcers, is calling it quits after 15 years with the Kernels.
"John is the most likeable, entertaining, and sincere individual you'll ever meet" said Jack Roeder, the retiring General Manager of the Kernels. Roeder said that, "when it comes to John's broadcast style, it is truly unique, entertaining, and memorable. There will never be another John Rodgers".
John's contributions to the team went beyond the broadcast booth. He pioneered the Kernels Summer Reading Program in area elementary schools 12 years ago, seeing steady growth year after year. Over 50 schools participated in the program last year. In all, more than 24,000 students have benefited from the Kernels Reading Program. According to Rodgers, "It's one of my proudest accomplishments with the Kernels."
He also pioneered another student related program, School Nights at the Stadium. Over 40 schools were featured during home games this past season, with their videos appearing on the scoreboard's big screen, and faculty and students taking part in pre-game activities.
The business side of baseball also interested Rodgers. When not in the booth, John was quite successful in contributing to the advertising revenues generated by the team. Teams in professional sports rely on corporate advertising to exist.
But for the most part, John will be remembered by the fans for his unique style of bringing the live action at the stadiums around the league home to his listeners. There are fans that wouldn't miss a game on radio because of John's entertaining play-by-play.
Doug Nelson, the new General Manager of the Kernels, echoed the feelings of the fans and the team's staff when he said, "John will be missed".
The Kernels open the 2011 MWL season on the road at Peoria on Thursday, April 7 and host Wisconsin on Monday, April 11. The Kernels will release the entire 2011 MWL schedule in October and start taking reservations for Group Outings and Season Tickets at that time. Visit www.kernels.com for more information.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.