Welcome to August!

Hard to believe, but here we are. We’ve played over 100 games and nearly four months. The River Bandits have traveled all over the Midwest. We’ve seen wins and losses, 14-inning games and rain-shortened seven-inning affairs, blowouts, suspended games, and a host of other twists and turns that inevitably pop up over the course of a full season. That’s why you’ve gotta love this game.

I am writing this post from Grand Chute, Wisconsin, a suburb of Appleton about 30 miles southwest of Green Bay. For a born-and-raised Chicago Bears fan like me, this is as close as I get to enemy territory. I can practically feel the green and yellow Kryptonite pushing me away.

But not so fast! We’ve got two games left to play against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. The River Bandits blew out the Rattlers last night, 7-0, thanks in large part to another great starting performance by Arquimedes Nieto. You gotta love this guy. He’s 20 years old, listed at 175 pounds, and no way he  touches six feet tall – but he’s got a wicked changeup and when his control is on he’s dangerous. Most guys, especially ones with a slight build like his, wear down as the season goes on. But not “Arqy.” He finished July with a 2.72 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 36.1 innings, making it easily his best month of the season.

After this trip we’ve got another loaded homestand coming up Monday-Thursday at Modern Woodmen Park. We’ve come a long way, haven’t we? It wasn’t more than two years ago that our homestands were plain, boring and as run-of-the-mill as you could get. Now, even a four-day, middle-of-the-week homestand is loaded with promotions. 

Tuesday and Wednesday will be two huge crowds thanks to the annual events held at the ballpark by the Quad Cities Homebuilders & Remodelers Association and the Optimists International. If you like candy – and the huge success of last week’s candy drop makes me thing that more than a few of you do – we’ve also got Halloween in August coming on Wednesday. I might even try to sneak away from the radio booth to see if I can knock on some suite doors and go trick-or-treating!

But the most unique thing going on this week is on Thursday. Never mind the $2 drink specials on a Thirst-day Thursday. Never mind a special Thursday night fireworks show after the game. DID YOU KNOW THERE WAS A PROFESSIONAL PILLOW FIGHTING LEAGUE?!?!?!

Yup, it’s for real. I’m dead series. Click here for proof. They’ve even got instructions on how to try out. Now look, I’m a married man. Happily married in fact. Wendy, if you’re reading this, I love you more than anything in the world.

But the day a bunch of cute, young and energetic women pillowfighting in front of a beer-infused crowd doesn’t sound like fun is the day I need to be checked into a nursing home.

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