Four games at the Bandits, assuming they don’t get weathered out.
The Quad Cities are Moline and Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa. I like this team’s logo; it’s cute. The River Bandits play in Davenport’s John O’Donnell Stadium, reputed to be the most beautiful of all ballparks.
The Bandits are owned by Rick Holtzman, who owns several minor league baseball teams.
Fanlink’s River Bandits Page [gone] is excellent. The National Association’s page [link broken] is about like its other pages. The web has a photo of John O’Donnell Stadium provided by a Quad Cities advertising agency [photo gone], or maybe the Chamber of Commerce, and another by Gary Jarvis. There was a better photo than these in the Smithsonian exhibit at Lansing Mall in March; the place is beautiful.
A related weblink merits mention: The Astros’ assistant scouting director, David Rawnsley, writes a column for the ‘Stros website on issues related to Scouting and Player Development [another missing link]. Dave’s is one of my favorite websites; check it out.
The Bandit’s manager is Jim Pankovits, and the coaches are Don Alexander and Joe Pittman.
Perhaps you remember pictures of a flooded ballpark during the 1993 Mississippi River floods; John O’Donnell was that ballpark. The ballpark is directly on the river and everyone says the view from the grandstand is tremendous. This is the league’s favorite ballpark. It’s also the ballpark with the most games postponed due to weather….
The park’s dimension are 340-390-340; long down the foul lines and short to center field. STATS Minor League Handbook tells me it’s a pitchers park; runs are hard to get. (But lots of doubles get hit.) Attendance at this park is generally excellent (average is close to 4,000, annually); before the new eastern ballparks, this team was the usual league leader.
Directions: Exit I-80 at the US-61 South exit, and follow to River Drive. John O’Donnell Stadium is at the corner of S Gaines St. and River. It’s at the Mississippi River, next to Centennial Bridge.
Statistics quoted include games played on Sunday.
The River Bandits won the Western division for the first half of the season. This is an excellent team with terrific hitting and very good pitching.
You can reasonably compare this team to the Whitecaps. It has some stars, but it wins more because it plays good baseball than because some few players carry the team. Like the Caps, it’s a fairly “old” team; a year or two of experience counts a lot when you’re young.
Last summer the Astros’ Short-Season A club at Auburn in the New York-Penn League finished 5th (of 14) teams with a 40-34 (.541) record. The Rookie GCL Astros went 32-26 (.552) to tie for eighth in their league. The position players for this year’s Bandits mainly got promoted from Auburn, with a few hold-overs from last year’s excellent QC team. The pitchers come variously from the GCL team, Auburn, the Bandits, and Kissimmee in the Florida State League (Class A; one step up from MWL); many pitched for two of these teams last year.
The team’s hitting .274 right now, and everyone is contributing. Catcher Ryan Coe is hitting at a .357 clip with 9 HRs; and Jason Adams (3B), Carlos Hernandez (2B), and Hassan Robinson (OF) are playing regularly and hitting well. Carlos Hernandez steals lots of bases; Chad Alexander is also fast and leads the team in RBIs. Everyone knocks in runs; everyone scores.
Pitcher Brian Sikorski’s very successful (6 wins, 2.53 ERA, 81 Ks). Also starting (and winning) are Freddy Garcia and Paul O’Malley. Michael Walter has 10 saves (and few earned runs) in 24 appearances.