Quad Cities River Bandits Notebook: Week 4

This week's update from the Cardinals Midwest League home features an interview with outfielder D'Marcus Ingram.

What a difference seven days can make. In just one week the River Bandits have gone from first place in the league and the Western Division to fifth place in the Midwest League and third in our division. It's hard to identify the problem in one glance.


The team's bullpen is certainly struggling, even after Chris Corrigan and LaCurtis Mayes were returned to Extended Spring Training and Jason Novak and Justin Smith were promoted to Davenport. The offense has not been as productive as it was in the first two weeks of the season either. When the season started, the bullpen faltered sometimes, but it seemed the club was up by 3-4 runs before they got to the bullpen. The errors and miscues on defense have increased as well. I still trust that the team will come together and show great things but they are struggling right now.


On a more positive note, I was able to talk to D'Marcus Ingram this week to get a better look at who he is. The outfielder turned 22 just before the season started. He is one of the most improved members of the team since last year. He shows a real maturity on the field and at the plate. Here are some of the things we discussed:


D'Marcus, tell us how your love affair with baseball started. How did you get interested in the game?


Well, it first started kind of by chance. I was at school and somebody brought some baseball sign-up flyers by the school and it often happened that I didn't take the flyers home to my parents! But I just happened to take this one home to my parents and I told them I wanted to play baseball. They asked if I was sure and by chance someone had stopped at my Mom's shop and passed out the exact same flyer! So, I guess I was supposed to play baseball! I've played since I was five years old.


Where did you go to school?


I went to North Little Rock High School, but I started at Pike View Elementary.


Tell us how you were scouted and how you were signed.


I was scouted... Arkansas isn't very big in baseball like Arizona, Florida, Texas, California, but there was this kid named Travis Wood. He went to Bryant High school. He was a big time professional prospect. This was my junior year and he was a senior. He was a hard throwing lefty. There were 12 or 13 scouts at the game when we played them and I had a great game against them and against him. I had some great at bats against him and had a few hits. And after that I was right on the map just like that just from having some good at bats.


In the game, who is your mentor? Who do you emulate?


These past few years I've had the chance to get to know Albert Pujols through guys like Ryde Rodriguez and others. Pujols is a great baseball player—probably THE greatest, I think. But he's a better person. He came and spoke to the entire organization this year about mental toughness. That finally registered with me this year. Baseball is all about mental toughness, it's not all about talent.


Since you mentioned it, my readers know that I've always said that good baseball skills get you into the game, but being a good person keeps you there.


That's it! That's it! That's the truth! 


If you had to choose one or the other, would you rather go to the All-Star Game in June or the league finals in September?


Oh, the league finals! That's the real opportunity! Twenty or thirty years from now I can still show my kids that ring! The All-Star Game, that would be fun to go to but....


What other major league teams were looking at you? What teams did you consider?


I received a letter or a phone call from every team and had a scout contact me.


Who was your favorite major league team when you were younger?


It has always been the Cardinals because their Double A team was right there in my city.


Are there times that fans and autograph seekers become too intrusive? How do you deal with that?


Without a doubt, yes! But that's my responsibility as a professional athlete to give back to the fans. I can't just come out here and play and then walk off. I don't like it when guys do that and I'm not going to do it. I'm in the position to make a few kids smile here and there and I'm going to do it, you know?


What kind of guidance have you received as you made your transition from high school ball to being a professional athlete?


I've had a lot of help from a lot of people, man. This year, Johnny Rodriguez pulled me to the side. He said, "I'm going to make you a base stealer." I'm a base stealer now but I wasn't a base stealer here. [pointing to his head]. I would just run, you know. Now he's starting to mold me into a base stealer—a Rickey Henderson.


What's the best dinner that you cook for yourself?


Oh, it's fried catfish! Catfish or spaghetti.


What's your dream car?


My dream car is a Bentley!


If you could not work in sports, what would you do instead?


Oh, man... that's mean! I guess I would own my own business of some sort?


What advice would you give to a little leaguer coming up behind you who wants to play ball?


Learn things the right way when you're young. When you get older you don't want to change, you don't listen as much. Learn it right right now.


Who challenges you in your personal life to continue to be a good person?


My Mom and Dad. They pound me—pound me to be good. I was raised in the church and they stay on me 24/7.


One last question—what should baseball fans know about you that they probably don't know already?


[LOTS of thinking...] That's another tough question! You saved that for last, eh? Oh, oh! They should know that I'd rather be in the NFL than in MLB!


Thank you, D'Marcus! Keep up the great work!



April by the numbers:


10  The largest winning margin in a game. (April 15 vs. Clinton)


9    Longest hitting streak by an individual. (Ryan Jackson)


  Player tied for eighth place in the league for triples. (D'Marcus Ingram 3)


7    Most innings pitched by a starter in one game. (Eric Fornataro)


6    Most multi-hit games by an individual. (Matt Adams and Jason Stidham)


5    Players batting above .250. (Stidham, Jackson, Devin Shepherd, Adams, and Niko Vasquez)


4    Most home runs hit in one game by the team.


3    Longest losing streak. (against Kane County)


2    Second place in the League for base on balls taken.


1    Place in the Western Division at the end of April. (That has changed in the first 3 days of May.)



Tasty Tidbit


This week's unique concession feature at the stadium is the snow cone. No, not just a snow cone! For $3.00 you can get a simple snow cone. For just $5.50 you get the adult version with your choice of syrup and a shot of fruit flavored vodka. Choose from Apple, Wild Cherry, Raspberry, or Orange. I'm sure they'll get even more appealing as the weather gets warmer.


That's the month that was. Thanks for reading!



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