Quad Cities River Bandits Report: 05/29/08

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 second baseman Mike Folli.

Once again, it has been a strange week in baseball in the Quad Cities. The River Bandits' win/loss record hasn't changed dramatically, but there have been a few bumps along the way.


Readers may have noticed that Thomas Eager started on Monday afternoon and pitched to only one batter. After walking the first man he faced, Eager was pulled from the game. Some assumed that he was hurt. In truth, his start was the result of a mental error on the part of Manager Steve Dillard.


Monday was supposed to have been Eduardo Sanchez's start, with Eager as the tandem reliever. When Dillard turned in the official lineup, he had Eager listed as the starter. When the Kane County Manager caught the error, Eager had to quickly warm up and pitch to one batter before being replaced by the "starter" Sanchez. Don't you just love minor league baseball?


The Bandits are hovering just above .500, holding on to third place in the Western Division. They are currently in a four-game homestand before making another eight-game trip to Wisconsin.


This week's feature player is one of the "veterans" who has been here since the beginning of the season. Mike Folli gives us a closer look at who he is and how he sees the game of baseball.


Jon: Mike, what part of your game are you working on to improve the most this season?


Mike: I'm trying to develop my right-handed hitting.


Jon: Where did you go to school?


Mike: University of Buffalo.


Jon:  What's your favorite color?


Mike: Black, I think.


Jon: Among your teammates, who would you say has a playing style that is most like yours?


Mike: Charlie Kingrey and I are both hard-nosed players. I'd say our style is a lot alike.


Jon: What has been the best moment of your life in baseball so far?


Mike: My junior year of high school we were the state champions in New York. That's a great memory.


Jon: You've been in the Midwest League for almost two months. What's the best part of playing minor league baseball? (I'm eliminating the "worst" part of the question since everyone immediately says that's the bus trips!)


Mike: It's a real good opportunity to meet lots of people. I'm playing against other guys who are going to make the Majors, so that's been fun.


Jon: Who was your baseball hero when you were growing up?


Mike: Mark McGwire.


Jon: Outside of baseball, who was your sports hero?


Mike: The Great One, Wayne Gretzky.


Jon: That's right, you played hockey, too, didn't you?


Mike: I did. I was being scouted by Boston (College) before I went to Buffalo. It's fun to watch them now since they are going for the NCAA.


Jon: What's your favorite food?


Mike: Sushi, but it's hard to find in the Midwest.


Jon: What was your favorite team when you were a kid?


Mike: The New York Mets.


Jon: Do you have any superstitions?


Mike: Oh, I have lots; mostly my daily routines.


Jon: When you get the call to the Majors, what number do you want to wear?


Mike: I've always worn number four. In college, last year in Batavia, and this year. I'd want to stick with that.


Jon: What's your favorite beverage?

Mike: The new G2 Gatorade—good stuff.


Jon: What's your favorite off-season pastime?


Mike: I just like to relax and spend time with my family.


Jon: Do you have any tattoos?


Mike: None, yet. But I noticed that there are a lot of places in Davenport to get them!


Jon: Do you have any fears or phobias?


Mike: I can't stand spiders.


Jon: If you were a car, what kind would you be?


Mike: Hmmm, I'd have to say a Ferrari.


Jon: What's your favorite baseball movie?


Mike: Field of Dreams.


Jon: Do you have a favorite brand for sports gear?


Mike: Nike.


Jon: What would be your choice for an intro song if you could have one?


Mike: I'm not sure what song, but it would be country.


Jon: What else would you like Scout.com readers to know about Mike Folli?


Mike: Well, not many people know that I played hockey. I was recruited by Boston College. I'm glad I've got a shot in baseball, but I would have liked hockey, too.



Deal this week


Paul Vasquez has had a tremendous week. In 11 at bats in Kane County, he collected six hits and seven RBIs. Through 17 games, he is now hitting .317. Charlie Kingrey and Domnit Bolivar also added a lot to recent Quad Cities successes.


No Deal this week


Matt Arburr had a great April and a very lackluster May. He has only nine hits for the month. Tommy Pham was at the top of my watch list when he first arrived to help the Bandits, but he has gone into a deep slump, recently recording a 1-for-26 slide. Osvaldo Morales has been with the Bandits for 22 games and he has struck out 36 times.


On the watch list


Pete Kozma has not been performing up to expectations lately. He's due for a big week. Dylan Gonzalez and Nick Peoples have both recently arrived. I'll be paying attention to them this week.


On a side note, the Rasmus Report


I was able to attend a couple of games in Des Moines to watch the Memphis Redbirds this week. Colby Rasmus told me that he has figured out what the bosses have been trying to "fix" in his swing and he knows it's working. He has the confidence that it takes to start to skyrocket from here out. I believe him.



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