It doesn't feel like spring, but the new Midwest League baseball season begins Thursday night. And the Quad Cities River Bandits will begin defending their league title, hosting Cedar Rapids at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport.
The team will be led by first-time manager Mickey Storey who pitched for several teams in the major leagues, and coached for the first time last year.
"It's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I thought it would be real hectic, expecting rain, expecting snow. It's a little cold out but nothing we can't handle."
Storey says he wants to win, but as a manager for a minor league team his main responsibility is to develop players for the parent club, the Houston Astros.
"It's a very tough balance because as a manager and a coach, your hands are tied on players for the most part because it's organization-based - what they have planned. But the balance is just keeping consistency and continuing to go out, day in and day out, play hard, work hared, and win ball games."
And he's looking forward to the family-friendly atmosphere of Modern Woodmen Park.
"Look at all the rides they have out there - it's unbelievable. My kids are never going to watch a game, they're never going to see me get thrown out, they're never going to see anything. They're going to be on the Ferris wheel the whole time and the bumper cars."
After games against the Kernels Thursday night and Friday night, the River Bandits will play two games at Cedar Rapids Saturday and Sunday.