Quad Cities River Bandits Report: 05/01/08

Our Scout.com Quad Cities beat reporter Jon P. returns with his weekly report on the St. Louis Cardinals A-level Midwest League club. This week, we feature an interview with pitcher Wayne Daman.

This week in the Quad Cities was a washout—literally. With the Mississippi River encroaching on all the available parking, and on the stadium itself, baseball moved to higher ground. The Bandits played their Monday home game in Cedar Rapids. Tuesday it was Clinton, and Wednesday they hosted the Lancing Lugnuts in Iowa City. Even with the disruptions to their routines, the Bandits have shone all week. 7-3 in the last 10 games and 15-10 overall, the team has moved up to third place in the Western Division of the Midwest League behind the Kane County Cougars and the Clinton Lumber Kings.

The play of the week, in this reporter's opinion, goes to Andrew Brown who made a diving grab at first and then quickly turned it into a solo double play in a game against the Great Lakes Loons over the weekend. I'd like to see more plays like that in the Majors where too many players seem to be more interested in avoiding injury than in making a great play. Pete Kozma and Charlie Kingrey are both still on a hitting high and the fans in Davenport are not ready to give them up—so back off!

In my fourth weekly interview, I was able to sit down with 23-year-old Wayne Daman. He recently returned to the active roster after spending some time on the inactive list. He presents himself as a southern gentleman, but he's from the state of Washington. Here's what we discussed:

Jon: I'll start with the obvious. Growing up in Washington, who was your favorite MLB team?

Wayne: The Mariners.

Jon: How did I know that?!? When did you decide to make baseball more than a game? When did you know you wanted to go pro?

Wayne: When I was in high school, I got real serious about it. I worked hard and here I am.

Jon: Tell our readers about your best baseball experience so far.

Wayne: When I was at Washington State, in the Senior Game, I threw a complete game. I'll never forget that.

Jon: Among the other players on the River Bandits, who do you think is most like you in playing style? Or who do you think you are like?

Wayne: Blake King. We have a similar style—both throw for speed.

Jon: After a long and satisfying career of playing, what do you want to do after you leave the game?

Wayne: Whatever I do, I'm not leaving baseball. I'll probably go on to coaching.

Jon: What's your favorite color?

Wayne: I'd say it's green.

Jon: If you weren't pitching, what position would you want to play?

Wayne: I'd go back to shortstop. That's where I played before I changed in college.

Jon: Who's your favorite non-baseball athlete?

Wayne: I'd go with Bo Jackson. But you said outside of baseball—Bo Jackson as a football player! He's got it all.

Jon: What's your favorite holiday?

Wayne: Christmas. Because it's in the off season I get to spend time with my family so it's always special.

Jon: Speaking of the off season, what do you like to do to pass the time and relax?

Wayne: Anything outdoors! I like to hunt and fish as much as I can.

Jon: What are you working on this year to improve your game?

Wayne: I'm concentrating on getting my direction to the plate—getting an early separation. It's a challenge every time I throw.

Jon: Besides Bo Jackson, who was your baseball hero as you were growing up?

Wayne: I have to go back to Nolan Ryan. What an athlete!

Jon: On a typical day, if there is such a thing, what time do you get out of bed?

Wayne: I'm up every day by at least 8:30 so I can get to the gym.

Jon: One last question—what do you think the scout.com readers should know about Wayne Daman?

Wayne: I'm completely laid back. I like to have fun, no matter what I'm doing. And I love the outdoors.

Jon: Thanks, Wayne. Nice job!

Hot this week

Mark Diapoules made a big splash upon his arrival. (Please don't miss the flood pun!) He's pitched nine full innings with an ERA of 1.00, striking out 11 batters. Wayne Daman and Matt Spade are also below 2.00 in ERA. Osvaldo Morales is in the swim, too. (Another flood comment, just so you don't miss it!) His .545 slugging and .364 BA is a welcome boost to the team. Justin Roberson leads the team in stolen bases, doubling second place with six grabs. There are five active players over .800 in OPS.

Not so hot this week

D'Marcus Ingram has hit only 2-for-21 in five games. He'll leave this low water mark behind soon. (Did you get that one?) Cardoza Tucker is adjusting to the move to the bullpen and he got a save on Wednesday night in Iowa City, but he's still got to take off the waders and throw. (OK, that was the last one.)

On the watch list

Thomas Eager is making a breakout in his next few starts. Keep your eyes open! Mike Folli goes on a ten-game hitting streak. I might want to extend that after nine. Kozma, Kingrey…. that pretty much says it.

The Bandits head to the highway this week, first in Western Michigan and then on to Dayton. I'd appreciate hearing some eyewitness reports on the away games from anyone who gets to see them, so please post your comments in our daily minor league thread on the message board.

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