Burlington, Iowa might not be where baseball was invented, but if you’re in search of the game's grassroots, look no further than Community Field in Southeast Iowa, right on the banks of the Mississippi River. I’m a filmmaker and I did this very thing several years ago and as such, my life and love of baseball has never been the same.
The Burlington Bees are special for a variety of reasons:
1) They’re community owned and operated, being one of the only Minor League Baseball franchises to have the designation
2) Burlington is the smallest town in America with a Minor League Baseball Franchise
3) They’ve been playing baseball in Burlington since 1889, the longest streak of any franchise in all of baseball at any level.
In doing my research for the short film I made (see below), these were the three things that brought me to Burlington. But when I traveled from Los Angeles to attend my first game, I found much more than that. I witnessed a community in love with baseball. A community that will stop at nothing to make sure that baseball continues to thrive. A community that, every year, welcomes 25 to 50 players from around the world and embraces them as their own. Burlington may be small compared to other minor league baseball towns across America, but I dare you to find one with more heart. I highly recommend taking in a game as there’s something for everyone — cheap beer and tickets, a great family atmosphere, a professional brand of baseball, the chicken lip, the macho nachos, and the pork tenderloin, Dancing Bobby, giveaways, not to mention getting to watch players who one day might become the next Major League Star.
Greater Burlington is a fantastic community, made even more magical by its community baseball team. During the spring and summer if the stadium lights are turned on, do yourself a favor and follow them towards the best baseball experience you’ll ever have.
A special thank you to our friend Dave Targan; writer, producer, and director of filmography. Dave is also the creator of Early Innings, a 2011 short film about the Burlington Bees.