Congratulations to Manager Steve Dillard! With the Bandit's win Sunday afternoon he became the all-time winningest coach in Quad Cities' history. Steve was the manager of the QC Angels in 1993-94 and is in his second year at the helm of the River Bandits. With 70 games to go in the season, he will certainly raise the bar for anyone coming behind him.
Also, even in this difficult economy, the River Bandits have drawn a record number of fans in the first half of the season. They have attracted over 103,000 fans in the first half, up about 30% over last year's record-setting attendance. Attendance in the Quad Cities always improves when it gets warmer outside, so this trend should only improve.
Jon Edwards and Charles Cutler have been on the hot list lately. In Sunday's win they Jon went 3 for 4 and Charlie was 4 for 5. Some fans have talked about Charlie's "slump" since May. I hardly think that hitting .288+ in June can be called a "slump." We talked about that last week before the team left for their recent road trip. Here is what he had to say about that and more:
Charlie, thanks for talking to me tonight. You've been on quite a streak this summer with your hitting and being named to the Midwest League All-Star game. Congratulations! Let's talk a little about you as a player and also as a person off the field. First off, I want to say that it was a pleasure to get to know your parents when they were here last month. I think they are very good people.
I agree completely! They are two of the best people I would ever want to be around. I'm glad they are my parents.
Where are you from and where did you play last year?
I grew up in San Francisco and went to Berkley. Last year I was drafted in the 14th round and then played in Batavia.
Of everyone on the current team, who do you think has the best chance to make it to the Majors among the pitchers and the position players?
Pitcher- I'd have to choose Arquimedes Nieto because he's young and has already had some good successes and he has good stuff. Batter- That would be Jon Edwards and Alex Castellanos. Both of them have the tools to get there.
What part of your game needs the most improvement this year? What are you doing to improve it?
I'm working hard on my defense—trying to get smoother in everything I do. I'm working with the pitchers and improving my throw to second.
Do you ever read what the fans are saying about you in discussion forums like scout.com?
I'd rather not read them. I just concentrate on what I need to do.
What's your favorite off-field activity during the season?
I've been doing a lot of fishing—catch and release here in the Mississippi.
What kind of books do you read?
I like books that help me keep life in the proper perspective.
If baseball had never been invented, what profession would you choose?
I would go to law school or I'd want to work with a non-profit organization.
Where are you in the birth order among your brothers and sisters?
I'm the middle one of three brothers. My older brother went to Davis and earned a Master's in Agricultural Economics. My younger brother is going to UC Davis also.
Who is your hero?
I have several! My dad, my grandpa, and the Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsome are three of them. Joe DiMaggio is my baseball hero.
What advice would you give to kids just starting in baseball?
Play as much as possible. Don't try to make it a science—it's a game and it should be fun. Don't try to be perfect, but always try to get better by playing more.
Considering the strength of the Cardinals system now (the increase of "real" prospects at all levels) what are you doing to make yourself more valuable to the game?
I've never bought into the idea of "prospect" or "non-prospect." That thought is poison. I just go out there and do the best I can and I don't think about it anymore than I have to.
I know you aren't a pitcher, but what do you think of the tandem starter system?
I'm not a fan of it. I don't think it gives the starters a fair chance. When a starter is getting a good game going it really breaks his rhythm to pull him out of the game on a pitch count.
What is the biggest change in your personal life since you signed your professional contract?
I haven't really changed much except that I'm a lot farther from home. I'm not used to being gone so much.
What should people know about you that they probably don't know?
I'm an eternal optimist!
In May you batted over .400 and you've fallen off that pace a little bit lately. Some people are calling this a "slump." What do you have to say about that?
I'm glad you asked. Many people don't realize that to get a .333 batting average it doesn't mean that you will get a hit every third time you're up. I remind myself every night that before I get three hits, I have to get one. Each at bat is important. I just go out there every game to play and I try to keep an even keel. Some nights it works better than other nights, but I keep working it.
Charlie, it has been a pleasure to talk to you tonight. Thank you!
June 22 and 23 is the All-Star break. Charlie is the only River Bandit to be named to the team. I think that a couple more deserved the nod, but with the team's overall performance lately, it would be difficult to make a case to have more than one Bandit in the game.
Saturday, June 27, will be the first of this summer's jersey auction. It's going to be a Bob Marley-themed jersey.
The Bandits did not secure a play-off berth in the first half so they will have to step up their game in the next 70 games. I can't believe it's half over already!