The Quad Cities River Bandits will move up a level of play and become a Kansas City Royals affiliate, whenever the team ends up playing again after covid-19 mitigations.

Major League Baseball announced today that the Quad Cities River Bandits and eleven other Midwest League teams will be moving up one level of play, as the team and the league have been promoted from Single-A to Advanced-A baseball. That puts Quad Cities players just below Double-A and one step closer to the major leagues.

The River Bandits also announced today the team has been invited to become the Advanced-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The team will be receiving a long-term Player Development License from Major League Baseball sometime in the next two weeks. Unlike previous affiliations, the Bandits’ agreement with the Royals will last at least five years.

Bleacher Report lists the Royals as having one of the Top Ten farm systems in baseball, so the Quad-Cities should be seeing some future stars on the field at Modern Woodmen.

“Moving up to Advanced-A and securing a long-term affiliation with the Kansas City Royals will be the best thing to happen to baseball in the Quad Cities since the renovation of Modern Woodmen Park,” said River Bandits owner Dave Heller. “Having Advanced-A baseball in the Quad Cities means the players who come through our ballpark are markedly more likely to reach the major leagues. It’s a higher level of play, with better pitchers and better hitters and more experienced players. And there is no better organization in baseball than the Kansas City Royals, no one with whom we would rather affiliate. Dayton Moore, J.J. Picollo, Scott Sharp –they are the best. They do things the right way, treat people the right way. And they have a proven record building a World Series Champion. We can’t wait to welcome everyone in the Royals organization to the Quad Cities.”

The Quad Cities franchise joined the Midwest League in 1960. The affiliation with the Royals marks a welcome return to having a Midwest-based MLB parent club. In addition to the Royals, the team’s major league affiliates have included the Milwaukee Braves (1960-1961), Los Angeles and California Angels (1962-1978, 1985-1992), Chicago Cubs (1979-1984), Houston Astros (1993-1998, 2013-2020), Minnesota Twins (1999-2004) and St. Louis Cardinals (2005-2012).A

The River Bandits are the baseball anchor of the Quad Cities sports market, which The Sports Business Journal named the top minor league sports market in the country in 2015 and second-best minor league market in its 2017 follow-up ranking.. In 2015, 2017 and again in 2019, the River Bandits earned Ballpark Digest’s award for “Best Charitable Works” in Minor League Baseball, the only club to win that coveted award three times.

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Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.