Cold temperatures and a snow-covered field make it hard to believe that there's only two-and-a-half weeks until opening day for the Quad City River Bandits. Preseason preparations, though, are well underway for the staff at Modern Woodmen Park.
“I know there's snow on the ground, and it's tough mentally to get your head around that, but baseball is right around the corner, and we’re gonna be ready for opening day," said Shane Huff, the Bandits' director of marketing and promotions.
Despite empty bleachers and Tiki huts -- and weather that's far from tropical -- it's full speed ahead for ballpark staff.
“Putting up the new signage or putting the new furniture together for our group areas, cleaning up the restrooms and getting them stocked for games, things like that, at some point we just have to say, 'You know, it's cold, bundle up,' and we have to get them done anyway," said executive director Stefanie Brown.
The Bandits are also getting help from the season's schedule. The team starts on the road this year on April 4th, meaning Mother Nature has an extra week to warm things up in Davenport.
“That definitely helps us, especially for this year, where last year we were having wonderful 70 and 80 degree weather in March," said Brown.
Saturday, nearly 400 fans proved they're ready for spring, too. They came to check out the field, discounted concessions and merchandise during Fan Fest.
For staff, it was a chance to practice for game day, and although things went well, they're still hoping for more melting.
"I could do without the snow. Let's get it cleared out, let's get some dry ground, let's get the 5K in on April 6th, and yeah, let's start the season," said Huff.
The River Bandits home season officially gets underway on April 11th.