QC ballpark to keep Modern Woodmen name through 2027

The home of the Quad Cities River Bandits will continue to be called Modern Woodmen Park through the 2027 season. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

The Quad Cities River Bandits’ ballpark will keep the name Modern Woodmen Park for at least 10 more years.

According to the Quad-City Times, Modern Woodmen of America recently exercised its option to extend its naming-rights agreement with the River Bandits for 10 years.

Modern Woodmen of America is a fraternal financial services organization based in Rock Island, Ill., one of the Quad Cities. Modern Woodmen Park is located in Davenport, Iowa, which is across the Mississippi River from Rock Island.

Modern Woodmen signed its original 10-year naming agreement with the River Bandits in December 2007. The facility was known as Municipal Stadium when it opened in 1931, and was renamed John O’Donnell Stadium in 1971. The ballpark’s press box is now named after O’Donnell (a former Quad Cities newspaper sports editor), with that change happening when Modern Woodmen bought naming rights to the stadium.

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Wong leads Durham to Triple-A championship title

Kean Wong played for the Bowling Green Hot Rods in 2014, and was a Midwest League All-Star that year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Former Bowling Green Hot Rods second baseman Kean Wong went 3-for-4 with a grand slam and a double to lead the Durham Bulls to a 5-3 win over the Memphis Redbirds in this year’s Triple-A National Championship Game.

Wong provided an unexpected source of power at the plate for Durham, considering he has only 13 home runs in 488 career regular-season minor-league games. His more-expected contributions in the game came in the form of a pair of defensive gems, both made in the late innings.

The Bulls are a Tampa Bay Rays affiliate, as are the Hot Rods. Wong played for Bowling Green in 2014, batting .306 with 2 HR, 24 RBI and 13 SB in 106 games. His batting average was second in the Midwest League that year, behind MWL MVP Wynton Bernard, who hit .323 for the West Michigan Whitecaps.

Wong batted .265 with 5 HR, 44 RBI and 14 SB in 105 games with the Bulls during the 2017 regular season. Bernard played in Triple-A this year, too, batting .254 with 2 HR, 14 RBI and 13 SB in 82 games with the Sacramento River Cats, a San Francisco Giants affiliate.

The Redbirds are a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate. Wong is the younger brother of Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, who played in the Midwest League in 2011. The older Wong batted .335 with 5 HR, 25 RBI and 9 SB in 47 regular-season games with the Quad Cities River Bandits, and was still with the team when it won the MWL championship title that year.

Posted in 2011 Playoffs, 2014 All-Star Game, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Durham Bulls, International League, Memphis Redbirds, Midwest League, Pacific Coast League, Quad Cities River Bandits, Sacramento River Cats, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Burlington Bees pitcher traded to Tigers

Elvin Rodriguez made three starts for the Burlington Bees at the end of the 2017 season. (Photo by Steve Cirinna)

The Los Angeles Angels announced Friday that they are sending RHP Elvin Rodriguez to the Detroit Tigers as the player to be named later in the Aug. 31 trade involving outfielder Justin Upton and RHP Grayson Long.

Rodriguez ended the 2017 season with the Burlington Bees. In his three Midwest League starts, he went 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA (seven earned runs in 14 innings), 12 strikeouts and three walks. He also made 11 starts for the rookie-level Orem Owlz this year, going 5-1 with a 2.50 ERA, 49 strikeouts and 11 walks in 54 innings, earning him the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year award.

The Dominican hurler likely will return to the Midwest League to start the 2018 season, in which case he would pitch for the West Michigan Whitecaps. He will turn 20 less than a week before the MWL season begins.

MLB Pipeline had Rodriguez ranked as the No. 22 prospect in the Angels organization prior to the trade’s completion. MiLB.com said this about him:

The 6-foot-3, 160-pound right-hander throws a fastball that sits in the high 80s with late life, and his command is far ahead of most teenage pitchers. He combines a repeatable delivery with good feel for his curveball and change-up, but will need to get stronger to reach his full potential.

Upton and Long also are former Midwest Leaguers, which I wrote about here at the time of the trade.

Posted in Burlington Bees, Midwest League, Orem Owlz, Pioneer League, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Former Lugnut nearly no-hits White Sox

Detroit Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday congratulates Matt Boyd after the left-handed pitcher one-hit the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. (Photo by Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports)

Former Lansing Lugnuts lefty Matt Boyd nearly no-hit the Chicago White Sox, giving up only one hit with two outs in the 9th inning of the Detroit Tigers’ 12-0 win Sunday afternoon.

Tim Anderson broke up the no-no with a double that made him only the second White Sox baserunner of the game. The first one was Rob Brantly (2010-11 West Michigan Whitecaps), who drew a walk with two outs in the 3rd inning.

Despite losing the no-hitter, the game surely was a pick-me-up for Boyd, who has struggled this season. He is 6-10 with a 5.33 ERA, 99 strikeouts and 48 walks in 123.1 innings (24 games/23 starts) for the Tigers this year.

Boyd briefly pitched for the Lugnuts in 2013, when he was a Blue Jays farmhand. He went 0-1 with a 0.64 ERA, 12 strikeouts and one walk in 14 innings (five games/three starts). Toronto traded him to Detroit in a four-player deal involving LHP David Price in late July 2015.

Posted in Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

River Bandits win third Midwest League title in seven years

Quad Cities River Bandits catcher Chuckie Robinson had four hits and three RBI in Saturday’s game. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

The Quad Cities River Bandits beat the Fort Wayne TinCaps 12-2 Saturday to complete their sweep of the Midwest League Championship Series.

It is their third Midwest League title in the last seven years, and the team’s seventh league championship overall.

Chuckie Robinson led the River Bandits offense by going 4-for-5 with a home run, a double, and three runs batted in. Troy Sieber, Abraham Toro-Hernandez and Kristian Trompiz each drove in two runs for Quad Cities.

Jack Suwinski drove in both TinCaps runs with a two-run double in the top of the 7th inning.

River Bandits starter Ronel Blanco struck out 10 while allowing only four hits and no walks in 6.2 innings. His counterpart, TinCaps starter Adrian Morejon, gave up six runs on five hits and three walks in 1.2 innings.

Ronel Blanco pitching

Quad Cities River Bandits RHP Ronel Blanco (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Posted in 2017 Playoffs, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Midwest League, Quad Cities River Bandits | Leave a comment