Affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Midwest League (Low-A)
When one thinks of Iowa and Baseball, they can’t help but think of the 1989 hit film Field of Dreams. Based on W.P. Kinsella’s 1982 book Shoeless Joe, the movie’s classic line “If you build it, they will come” hits home in Southeastern Iowa, where the Burlington Bees of the Midwest League have been a staple in the community for 65 consecutive seasons. Unlike every other Minor League team that has to be unofficially adopted by their community, the Burlington Bees are officially a part of the city. Owned by the Burlington Baseball Association and operating as a non-profit, the team and ballpark are maintained by the 503C(3) organization “Friends of Community Field,” making it baseball’s only community owned team.
If you go to Community Field, or “the Hive” as it is referred to by locals, you will be enjoying a unique chance to see an organization led by a completely volunteer Board of Directors, and contribute to local efforts to pump money back into the cozy confines of this park that seats 3,200 fans. This is an example of small town baseball at some of its finest, where fans know each other by name and local super-fan “Dancing Bobby” pumps the crowd up with his dance moves. I have been fortunate enough to attend games at over 50 Minor League stadiums, and Burlington provides a unique, hometown feel where a fellow fan might roll up to you and talk about how this year’s team compares to previous seasons and brag about all the Major League talent that has rolled through in recent seasons including Wil Myers, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer, as well as Vida Blue, Paul Molitor, Billy Williams, and Larry Walker.
So, let’s talk about Burlington, Iowa: when the bleachers burned down in June 1971, the team did not miss a game for the next two seasons while volunteers from the community rebuilt the bleachers. In 1999 and 2005, the team upgraded the scoreboard, external signage, the PA system, and clubhouses to make the organization more marketable and provide better facilities for its players. In the meanwhile, local fans have enjoyed the recent talents of prospects including five-tool talent Jo Adell, whose torrid campaign for Burlington earned him a jump to the California League way ahead of most talent prognosticators expectations.