When it comes to supporting “America’s favorite pastime”, Iowans do not have a team of their own to cheer for, in fact, they are one of the twenty-five states which does not have at least one of the four major sports teams, but that doesn’t stop them from pledging allegiance to one or more of the thirty teams in Major League Baseball. (Technically the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs play on the Missouri side of the border)
Unfortunately for the residents of the state of Iowa, while they are home to the “Field of Dreams”, they do not have their own MLB franchise. However, with that being said, they do have the opportunity to catch (pun intended) the next generation of players or some major leaguers who are making a return from injury through the Triple-A ranks as the Iowa Cubs are the affiliate to the Chicago Cubs.
Of the 225 players who have come from Iowa in MLB history, including seven members of the Hall of Fame, five current roster players play for Boston, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston, and Seattle.
As part of the International League, the Iowa Cubs, who were originally known as the Iowa Oaks, and play their home games at Principal Park, have been connected to the Chicago franchise since 1982.
According to sites like SeatGeek.com, baseball fans in Iowa have split their MLB preference among a number of teams. Despite having the ridiculous MLB television blackout still in effect, Iowans are still dedicated to Major League Baseball fans.
Chicago Cubs / Chicago White Sox
*Ok, we are cheating a bit by putting both Chicago teams on here, technically making the list six teams
Before Des Moines, Iowa became home to the Cubs Triple-A program in 1982, the team was actually associated with the crosstown Chicago White Sox for five years (1973-74 and 1976-1980). Being that the Cubs are the older brother of the two franchises, one would think that it is a given that they have more fans and are more successful.
Given that both teams have won three World Series championships, with the Cubbies winning the most recent Chicago title in 2016, following a 102-year drought, they have won the hearts of Chicago fans around the country.
With both the Cubs’ home field (Wrigley Stadium) and the White Sox’s home park (Guaranteed Rate Field) approximately 320 miles away from Iowa, the legendary Chicago park is that much more of a draw.
In 2021, the Field of Dreams game played host to the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees in a memorable 9-8 victory for the Bronx Bombers in the first ever Major League Baseball game played in the state of Iowa.
One year later, the Cubs would take on the Cincinnati Reds in the second annual game. Oddly, despite being the hometown of the Cubs Triple-A franchise, the White Sox were designated as the home team, while the Cubs would be the first team to hit.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 11, 2022
St. Louis Cardinals
As you head towards the southern border of Iowa, chances are the MLB fanbase will switch towards the St. Louis Cardinals, especially as you get closer to Missouri. Although they are divisional enemies of the Chicago Cubs, that hasn’t stopped residents of Des Moines, Cedar Valley, and Cedar Rapids from supporting the Redbirds.
A 350-mile drive from Iowa, Busch Stadium is slightly further than either of the Chicago parks, but that doesn’t stop members of the Cardinals Nation from making the trek. For those that aren’t able or willing to make the five-hour drive to watch the game in person, the Cardinals Radio Network has an affiliate station in Iowa for fans to listen to.
Over the course of the past twenty years, St. Louis has been a constant fixture in the MLB post-season. While they have missed the playoffs seven times in that period, the Cardinals have also made four trips to the World Series Championships, winning twice (2011 and 2006). Currently, in a battle with the Milwaukee Brewers for the top spot in the National League Central Division, the Cards are a lock to extend their playoff streak to a fourth straight year.
Perfection 👌 pic.twitter.com/UequkXuqvn
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 29, 2022
If you live smack-dab in the middle of Iowa, the trek to Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota is only a short 246-mile excursion.
After nearly three decades at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, (which let’s face it, was an eyesore for fans), the Twins moved into the $435 million open-air stadium. While their new home holds eight thousand fewer fans, many of which travel from Iowa, at least those 38,544 can at least enjoy the aesthetics of a beautiful park.
Since relocating to their new park, the Minnesota Twins haven’t exactly given fans, regardless of where they reside a huge reason to support the team as they have only made the playoffs three times. In 2019, the Twins hosted the New York Yankees for a single game in their 3-0 American League Divisional Series loss, and then a year later during the Covid impacted season, the Twins welcomed the Houston Astros for a quick two-game American League Wild Card Series sweep.
Currently, on the outside looking in on the American League Wild Card chase, the Twins are on pace for a winning season record-wise, but will likely fall short of a post-season berth.
For Iowans who are fans of the Twins, they were able to catch a number of their potential future stars when the Cedar Rapid Kernels venture to the Field of Dreams as part of the MLB and MiLB celebration. Although they fell 7-2 to the Quad Cities River Bandits, the people of Dyersville made the experience one that the Twins hopefuls won’t soon forget.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) August 29, 2022
It’s been forty years since the Milwaukee Brewers last appeared in the World Series. While they are bound for the playoffs for the fifth straight season, sitting just a game back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the top spot in the National League Central Division, oddsmakers have the team ranked tied for ninth when it comes down to favorites to hoist The Commissioner’s Trophy.
For any Iowans who are diehard Brewers fans, a trip to American Family Field is an all-day affair as the 328-mile trip clocks in at approximately five hours. That is unless, of course, you live in the “Field of Dreams” hometown of Dyersville, which is just 195 miles to the Brewers stadium, the closest of all six neighboring major league parks.
Brew Crew fans will be looking forward to the next few years as eighteen-year-old centerfielder and second baseman Jackson Chourio, the Brewers’ number one prospect has been identified by Baseball America as the number two ranked prospect in all of minor-league baseball. The Venezuelan teen recently entered the record books as the youngest player to participate in the Major League Baseball Futures Game held during the MLB All-Star festival.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 19, 2022
Kansas City Royals
In the same amount of time, it takes to watch The Godfather: Part II (3 hours 20 minutes), Kansas City Royals fans who live in Iowa can make the journey to Kauffman Stadium to catch their favorite MLB team.
While it has been eight years since the Royals last appeared in the post-season, of which they won the World Series title against the New York Mets, fans of the team, regardless of where they live have had to deal with a predominantly losing franchise. Yes, the Royals made back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014 and 2015, but aside from those two showings, the last playoff berth came in 1985 when the franchise won its first World Series.
Clearly, an “all or nothing” approach by the team hasn’t really sat well with fans, as the Royals’ rankings in MLB attendance numbers, are evident by the struggle to fill even half of Kauffman Stadium’s capacity rate.
Iowans may have more of a reason to make the trip to Kauffman Stadium in the future as Fairfax, Iowa native, and Louisville Cardinal center fielder, Levi Usher was drafted by the Royals with the 295th pick in the tenth round of the 2022 MLB Draft.
Best day ever.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) November 3, 2016