Quad Cities River Bandits Gear Up for Opening Day

April  01, 2014

      It may not seem like spring, but Thursday is opening day for the Quad Cities River Bandits and the rest of the Midwest League. Players and coaches started arriving over the weekend and practiced today at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport.

      Manager Omar Lopez is back for his second season with the team. He says this year's players are older than last year's and some played on the same team last season in another developmental league. 

      "People don't realize that last year we started with twenty-five guys in the first probably month. And then otherwise , when you turn around and a month later, you have a different team and at the end of the year, six or seven guys were the only guys that we had since day one," says Lopez. 

      Even though he's supposed to develop players for the parent team, the Houston Astros, Lopez thinks it's also important to create what he calls a winning atmosphere for his young players. 

      "The players that we have right now, we probably have more prospects on the pitching department, better arms than last year. Offensively, we have speed, you know a lotta speed and not much power. But a lot of land drive hitters, gap to gap guys."

      Last season, Lopez and the River Bandits won the Midwest League Championship.  Opening day for the River Bandits is Thursday when they host Kane County for the start of a four-game weekend series.