Local Pro Baseball Thrives Despite Challenges
Despite a record flood, pandemic, and a shake up in minor league baseball, the Quad Cities River Bandits excelled this year.
Joe McCoy reports the local High-A Central team captured its fourth championship in 10 years.
Owner, Dave Heller, says the team and staff are thrilled with the success the Bandits had in their first year as an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The players' camaraderie was a major factor that led to this year's championship.
The River Bandits' success is not only about the team, but the Quad Cities community that attracts roughly 4,000 people per game. He says high quality baseball is a big draw, and visitors spend money at local hotels, restaurants, and gas stations.
Heller says philanthropy is a top priority for the River Bandits, and the team continues to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the community healthy and give those in need opportunities to succeed.
This past year, the franchise gave $100,000 dollars to Genesis hospital to pay for free flu shots for every child in the Quad Cities, plus funding for the neo-natal unit at Genesis.
The Bandits also fund the largest scholarship foundation in all of minor league baseball, awarding full scholarships to students at Augustana College and St. Ambrose University.
Heller says, the close relationship between the Bandits, the city of Davenport, and everyone who supports the team is what allows it to thrive.
He is emphatic the Bandits have the best fans in America, and the enthusiasm they bring each night means a great deal to the players and coaches.
The River Bandits will open the 2022 season against South Bend on April 8th.