Results tagged ‘ river bandits ’

Summertime in November

First off, I have to apologize. It has been too long. I have been a bad blogger… and by that I mean I haven’t been doing much blogging at all.

So I’m back! Here we are in November, and it’s like 60 degrees outside. I’m pretty sure the Quad Cities didn’t get the memo saying it’s supposed to be snowing by now. I say we all help keep the secret and see how long it lasts…

But while the baseball season we are all familiar with is in hibernation, there is a lot of good ball being played in winter leagues right now. For those of you who are as nerdy as I am when it comes to the minor leagues, I highly recommend following Jeff Luhnow on Twitter. I don’t think there are too many big league farm directors out there tweeting from the stands, but Jeff has got some great real-time scouting updates from wherever he may be at the moment.

Most recently, that was at the Arizona Fall League, where eight of his Cardinals farmhands (six of which are former QC’ers) are playing for the Surprise Rafters. OF Tyler Henley is leading the way with a .310 average and a .524 slugging percentage through 12 games, following up a great season in Double-A with a strong fall league. C Bryan Anderson (.265) and RHP Mike Parisi (2-1, 3.50) are both making up for lost time after their 2009 regular seasons were primarily lost to injury. For those two, just having them on the field and staying healthy is the important thing. OF Daryl Jones is also out there doing his thing, although the exciting prospect is off to a bit of a slow start.

But the AFL is as loaded this season as it has been in recent memory. The top two picks in the 2009 draft – RHP Stephen Strasburg (3-1, 5.28) and OF Dustin Ackley (.295) – are both making their pro debuts in Arizona this fall. They are joined by four other college picks from the Top 15 of the June draft, including No. 7 LHP Mike Minor (1-0, 2.31), No. 8 RHP Mike Leake (0-2, 2.31), No. 10 RHP Drew Storen (2-0, 0.93, 2 sv) and No. 12 RHP Aaron Crow (0-2, 7.94).

Former Peoria Chiefs lefty Donald Veal may be offering the most surprise, shaking off a reputation of wildness and leading the league with a 0.54 ERA to go along with a 3-0 record and more than a strikeout per inning. OF Grant Desme was a Kane County Cougar this past season, but is leading the AFL with 10 homers – double his closest challenger – and hitting .370 in the prospect-laden league.

No doubt, the Arizona Fall League is a great test to see where prospects stack up to the best in the game. Many of these names will be coming to a big league ballpark near you in 2010 and 2011. And it’s always a blast to see these guys working their way up!

Field of Screams

Ahhhh, baseball season…… so far away.

One of the unique things about Modern Woodmen Park is that when the baseball season ends, things still tend to stay pretty busy. A big reason why? The Field of Screams haunted house, which opens once again tonight!

When we were going through the ownership transition after the 2007 season, we decided to bring back the haunted house. It had been very successful in 2005 but dropped the next year due to the difficulties involved with putting it together. After the front office has logged 15-20 hour days, seven days a week for 5-6 months during the baseball season, the idea of building and running a haunted house just 3-4 weeks later isn’t necessarily next on the wish list.

BUT… at the River Bandits, we like to go all out. We brought the haunted house back in ’07 and have been running it ever since to rave reviews.

This year, the theme is Pirates of the Mississippi.

Spooky, right?

I’m not going to give away too much, but I can tell you that it will be awesome. It will take you about 15-20 minutes to get through and you might cry. Really. If a few people don’t leave crying over the course of the month, then we’re not making it scary enough!

So come on by and see if you can beat our marauding pirates to the hidden treasure! Tickets are just $10 for individuals and $8 for groups of 15 or more.

We’ll see you at the ballpark… if you dare!

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.

Welcome to Bandits Banter!

Welcome to Bandits Banter, the new blog for the Quad Cities River Bandits!


I’ll be your blog host, Ben Chiswick. For those of you who aren’t already loyal listeners on WYEC 93.9 FM, I am the River Bandits’ play-by-play broadcaster on the radio. I also do a number of other things for the team, including involvement with our website ( and the Play Ball publications that you can pick up at the ballpark at every game.


Now, I am also you’re resident blogger! I’ll be popping in to bring you River Bandits updates about everything related to the team. If you have any particular questions that you would like answered, feel free to email me at and I am happy to respond on my next entry.


This blog comes to you from the luxurious Quality Inn in South Bend, Indiana, where the River Bandits are in town playing the South Bend Silver Hawks. Last night, we were dominated by a Diamondbacks lefty named Wade Miley, who threw five perfect innings before being pulled because of an innings limit!


But still, the biggest thing going on right now in River Bandits nation is still the reaction to the Mega-Candy Drop last Sunday at Modern Woodmen Park. WOW! In five years here, I never thought I would see anything like that. In case you missed it… check out this video: