When every hit could mean a run and every run could mean a win, there is pressure on every play to be the best.
“It’s another world,” says Omar Lopez, Manager of the Quad Cities River Bandits. “It’s a completely different world.”
But Lopez and Harold Craw, General Manager of the River Bandits, say there is a big difference between a true baseball star and a manufactured one.
“When they talk about Babe Ruth back in the past, his vice was eating hot dogs, you know?” says Craw. “That’s hilarious to me, but it’s really true and now we have a whole different athlete. Sports have gone to a different level.”
It’s a dangerous level that some are calling the “Steroid Era” with baseball’s highest-paid player – Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez – just one of up to 20 players under investigation for doping.
To the River Bandits, education is their best tool for prevention. In the locker room, there are several posters listing the risks and rules when it comes to drugs. Outside on the field, it’s about putting those words into action by staying true to your team and your fans.
“What we really try to tell those kids is just come to the field every single day and play hard and play the game the right way,” says Lopez.
The right way is something the River Bandits say they are proud of and it’s a commitment to every hit, run, and win they make.
All players in the Minor Leagues follow the same rules as the Major Leagues – they undergo random drug testing throughout the year.