River Bandits first-year manager Luis Aguayo smiles as he thinks back on his first season in the Quad Cities. Still, the Puerto Rico-born baseball veteran is quick to say that the Midwest isn’t quite like home.
Aguayo chuckled as he explained that people had warned him about the possibility of tornadoes, and, perhaps more likely, floods, as Modern Woodmen Park sits on the banks of the Mississippi River. He’s also quick, however, to say that the experience in the Midwest – the farming culture, the friendly people – has been a positive one.
“I think overall it’s been a great summer,” he said. “It’s been a great first experience … it’s been fun.”
One experience, familiar from what seems like a lifetime ago, he hadn’t exactly missed. Aguayo spent 10 years in the Major Leagues – 10 years away from the bus rides and commuters that drive Minor Leaguers batty. Now, 20 years later, those bus rides are the least welcoming of the summer’s encounters. And he’s not alone.
“The one thing that we have really struggled with – everybody – is the commuters,” Aguayo said. “It feels like we spend more time riding buses than playing the game.”
Some days, the game suffers from that. But bus ride or no, Aguayo had his hands full all season with a wealth of young talent, many getting their first taste of professional ball. » Continue reading “Bandits Buzz: Luis Aguayo”