Because Quad Cities has the best winning percentage for the season in the West, they will also get to choose to host either game one or games two and three in the second round, assuming they win round one, of course. By League rules, if the Bandits reach the finals, they will host games one and two and then play games three, four, and five if necessary on the Eastern Division's home field. Home-field advantage rotates between the east and the west each year. The Great Lakes Loons are the only team with a better overall record (90-49, .647).
The loss of Matt Adams, although having a big impact on the offense, went mostly unnoticed because he has stayed with the team to offer moral support and leadership. He didn't think twice about leaving the team, even though his mom and grandma were here for the weekend and could have taken him with them when they left on Monday morning. What a great show of leadership from this young man!
Matt's trip to the DL brought the return of Ross Smith. He's going to give the team a good boost for the play-offs. Speaking of a good boost, Cody Stanley joined the Bandits for the last two games of the season. He didn't impress anyone on Sunday, going 0-3. However, in Monday's matinee, he hit a very nice home run to the right field berm - going into a 15 mph wind.
My concerns for the playoffs revolve around hitting - or the lack of hitting - that this team has shown lately. It will be a very short trip to the playoffs if they don't keep the bats alive. They're at the end of the longest season that any of these guys have played and August was a brutal month with 31 games in 31 days so I know the team is tired. This is where these guys can step up and show that they are professionals. I hope they do that.
For my final interview this year, I had a couple of guys that I wanted to corner for talk but it just didn't work out the way I wanted. I had hoped to talk to Nick Greenwood for an added perspective as a River Bandit who was a TinCap the first time he played here this summer. I wanted to talk to Danny Bibona (pictured) about his commitment to excellence and what it was like to join the team almost directly from the draft. Mother Nature had other plans yet again as the Sunday game got to be very soggy and the lightning lasted all night.
So instead, I caught most of the players Monday and asked just one question. I asked each of them, "What did you like the most about being in Davenport this summer?" I should have known that this team has come together so much that I got one of about four answers from all of them!
I'll compile those answers here:
I love playing baseball so it was great to be here to do that this summer with a team that I really like.
This is the first year that I've played that the whole team liked each other and that made it fun all summer.
This field is the nicest one I've ever played on so it has really been a privilege to be here and the fans here are just great.
It's an honor to get to play for such a great crowd who seems to know the game.
Other than that, there were a few who said they like Whitey's Ice Cream and Happy Joe's Pizza. For you readers outside the Quad Cities area, it's something that can't be explained, but we do have the finest ice cream and pizza anywhere! Both are local, family-owned businesses that are worth the trip to the Quad Cities. Happy Joe invented the first taco pizza but my favorite remains his original—Canadian bacon and sour kraut! See, I told you it can't be explained but must be tasted.
I'll be adding my season recap soon, and nominating my pitcher of the year and my player of the year. Those are daunting tasks. If you'd like to make suggestions on those nominations, feel free to PM me on the scout.com message board; I'm sport61201.
Thanks for reading!
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