DAVENPORT, IOWA (December 9, 2020) — US Senator Charles “Chuck” Grassley (R-IA), who, together with US Sen Joni Ernst (R-IA), worked tirelessly to help save professional affiliated baseball in the Quad Cities, and 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.

“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. All of us in the Quad Cities who love baseball are extremely grateful to Sens Grassley and Ernst for all of their hard work. We can’t wait to welcome everyone in the Royals organization to the Quad Cities.”

“I am excited that the Quad Cities River Bandits have been invited to become an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals,” said Sen Grassley. “I fondly remember going to Minor League Baseball games growing up. I am thrilled that the Quad Cities area will continue to enjoy America’s national pastime affiliated with such a quality team.”

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).

ABOUT THE BANDITS: The 2021 season marks the River Bandits’ first year as a new Advanced-A major league affiliate. As such, the team will be offering higher-quality baseball than has ever before been played in the Quad Cities. Additionally, the Bandits will welcome a new MLB affiliate to the Quad Cities, the Kansas City Royals. The River Bandits anchor 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. For more information, visit www.riverbandits.com.

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