USA Today & 10Best.com voted Modern Woodmen Park "The Best Minor League Ballpark in America"
League: Midwest League (Single-A)
Ballpark: Modern Woodmen Park
Location: Davenport, Iowa
Affiliate: Houston Astros
"Davenport has hosted minor league baseball since 1879, and has been affiliated with a major league team continuously since 1937. Its stadium was built as part of the Depression-fighting Works Progress Administration in 1931 and regularly appears on lists of best baseball stadiums in America. Owner Dave Heller has sunk more than $7 million into stadium upgrades in the past decade and just last year was given an award for having one of the best playing surfaces in all of minor league baseball."
-Iowa City Press Citizen, February 25, 2020
"Heller's clubs all get high marks for fan fun, community involvement and charitable fundraising.... Heller goes to a lot of games, and he shakes hands with everyone who comes in and everyone who goes out."
-The Today Show, February 17, 2020
"Heller's River Bandits are key to Davenport's downtown renovations.... His club spends nearly $2 million annually with local vendors."
-Des Moines Register, February 13, 2020
"What the Quad-Cities has going for it is an owner who understands the 'game' and how it works.... Bandits owner Dave Heller is a forward thinker, arguably the most creative mind in Minor League Baseball. In his time owning the local club, Heller has met Major League Baseball at the front door, as he does fans each night at Modern Woodmen Park, in addressing the game's changes. Heller understands the need for enhanced video in his ballpark, so that each step, throw and swing can be analyzed by MLB data compilers. He knows his players must stay in first-class hotels on the road, and he must provide as much for clubs playing at Modern Woodmen. Heller knows improved nutritional needs must be met and maintained for his club."
-Rock Island Dispatch-Argus, November 24, 2019
"Thumbs Up to Genesis Health System and the Quad-Cities River Bandits, who earlier this month donated $100,000 to flood relief efforts."
-Quad-City Times, August 24, 2019
"The Quad Cities River Bandits, the Midwest League A-ball minor-league affiliate of the Houston Astros, features a "cornfield deck" in its ballpark so fans can commune with the ghostly players from Field of Dreams."
-Chicago Reader, August 13, 2019
"The new ribbon board being installed later this week will stand seven feet tall and 84 feet wide, which compares to the 6x72 board it is replacing.... The new video board replaces one that has been in place since 2011. The new board will measure 30x42 feet and will replace one that was 20x35 feet as well as a scoreboard that has been in place since 2004."
-Quad-City Times, July 28, 2019
"The Quad Cities River Bandits ballpark is getting an energy-efficient upgrade. The team has installed a small solar farm at Modern Woodmen Park. The project includes 58 panels on the roof of the suite level and the panels are able to power the LED outfield lights, ultimately offsetting the electric usage. The LEDs have brought the team's energy consumption down by 40% since they were installed in 2017."
-WQAD.com, June 12, 2019
"The Quad Cities River Bandits have partnered with Century Electric and Solar to add a small solar farm on the roof of Modern Woodmen Park. The 58-panel array, paid for without any city or state money, is located on the roof of the suite level on the third base side. It uses green energy to offset the entire annual electric usage of the new state-of-the-art LED outfield lights."
-Ballpark Digest, June 12, 2019
"Dave Heller relishes the chance to stand at the end of a makeshift ramp and greet fans as they enter Modern Woodmen Park."
-Quad-City Times, May 23, 2019
"The Quad Cities franchise is in a unique situation given the location of a ballpark that has been recognized as the best minor league stadium in the country."
-Quad-City Times, May 9, 2019
"Almost every list of the best, most picturesque minor league ballparks in the country includes the stadium now known as Modern Woodmen Park."
-Quad-City Times, May 4, 2019
"The Mississippi River that has long given Quad Cities fans one of the most picturesque views in baseball regularly escapes its banks during the spring. Because of that, the team and the city of Davenport, Iowa, have long planned for the possibility of flooding. Upgrades 15 years ago built a berm around the park that helps keeps the flood waters out. And with flood walls, the park remained dry throughout the flooding."
-Baseball America, April 18, 2019
"Perhaps no park in the minors better combines elements of tradition and history with modern amenities than Modern Woodmen Park, nestled on the shores of the Mississippi River. Opened in 1931, the stadium underwent a full-scale renovation in 2002 that produced 20 climate-controlled luxury seats, two picnic areas and a sports lounge. But it continues to retain some original signatures, including the classic brick facade. It is perhaps most famous for the stunning view of the Mighty Mississippi flowing beneath the iconic Centennial Bridge."
-Stadium Talk, March 1, 2019, "Best Minor League Baseball Ballparks"
"Amidst the federal government shutdown, the Quad Cities River Bandits purchased lunch for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers last Friday. The action did not go unnoticed by airport officials, who noted the team's contribution in helping members of the community during a difficult time."
-Ballpark Digest, January 15, 2019
"The Quad Cities River Bandits (Low A; Midwest League) donated $100,000 to Genesis Health System on Friday, continuing one of the more robust charitable efforts in Minor League Baseball. The donation will help support several programs, including the Genesis neonatal intensive care unit, the Genesis Flu-Free Quad-Cities program, the Camp Genesis program, and the Genesis Family Connects program. The River Bandits have been known for years for their charitable work, as proceeds from amusements at Modern Woodmen Park help to raise money for charity."
-Ballpark Digest, January 14, 2019
"Modern Woodmen Park is one of the jewels of Minor League Baseball. And the Bandits continue to put out a solid product, a fact reflected by the team's strong ticket sales."
-Quad-City Times, September 8, 2018
"Modern Woodmen Park has received more than a few "best of" accolades over the years, and one look at the amenities makes the reasons obvious: 'Swivel-chair seats. 105-foot tall Ferris wheel. 30-foot tall Drop 'N Twist. NASA-inspired gyroscope. 300-foot long zipline. Arcade. River Rocker. Bumper cars. Double-Decker carousel. Kids roller coaster. Cornfield...because of course there is."
-Cool Material, July 13, 2018
"Lawn Striping. That’s the technique used by baseball groundskeepers to create those cool, patterned designs. The champ is Andrew Marking, head groundskeeper for the Quad Cities River Bandits, who won the 2017 Sports Turf Managers Association second annual Stars and Stripes mowing pattern contest with his “Banks of the Mississippi River” design... at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa."
-Parade, June 29, 2018
"The Quad Cities River Bandits have been chosen as a winner of the Pioneer® Athletics 2017 Fields of Excellence® Award. The work of Head Groundskeeper Andrew Marking and his staff on Modern Woodmen Park’s playing surface was chosen from a large pool of athletic fields from around the country.... In addition to this honor, Marking was also named the 2017 SportsTurf Managers Association “Stars and Stripes Contest” winner as well as 2017 Iowa Sports Turf Manager of the Year."
-Rock Island Dispatch-Argus, April 27, 2018
"In a league with a notable mix of classic and modern facilities, Modern Woodmen Park merges both. While renovations have led to major changes on the interior, the distinct red brick façade is original to 1931."
-Ballpark Digest, January 11, 2018
"Owner Dave Heller is more P.T. Barnum than Charles Comiskey. The man likes to put on a show. It's an approach not without detractors....Yet Heller's model has steadily boosted attendance since he purchased the club."
-Quad-City Times, April 7, 2018
"The Quad Cities’ Midwest League franchise was honored for having the best charitable program in all of minor-league baseball for the second time in three years, and the club was also honored for having the best ballpark improvement with a price tag of less than $1 million. A committee selected the River Bandits as the winner from more than 100 nominations in each category."
-Quad-City Times, October 24, 2017
"In a ballpark already known for a Ferris Wheel and other amusements, it takes a lot to stand out. The Quad Cities River Bandits added another set of unique amusements to Modern Woodmen Park, earning Ballpark Digest’s 2017 Award for Best Ballpark Improvement Under $1 Million."
-Ballpark Digest, October 24, 2017
"The Quad-Cities River Bandits have been selected by their peers in the Midwest League as its nominee for the John H. Johnson Presidents Award, the top team honor presented by Minor League Baseball annually at baseball’s winter meetings. The award is presented to a “complete baseball franchise that demonstrates stability and significant contributions to its community, league and the baseball industry.’’ The recognition comes one year after the River Bandits’ parent organization, Main Street Baseball, was named the sport’s Organization of the Year by Ballpark Digest."
-Quad-City Times, October 16, 2017
"Average annual paid attendance has jumped 63 percent at River Bandits games decade over decade since Heller took ownership [and] he has poured substantial cash into charity and college scholarships."
-Quad-City Times, October 1, 2017
"Heller is looking to give families reasons to patronize the park throughout the year."
-Quad-City Times, October 1, 2017
"Thank you to the River Bandits players, coaches and organization for an amazing summer and unexpected ride that ended, improbably, in a championship. We now prepare, as the great Rogers Hornsby did at the close of baseball season each year, to “stare out the window and wait for spring.”
-Rock Island Dispatch-Argus, September 19, 2017
"Thumbs up to the Quad Cities River Bandits.... It's been a good year for the Houston Astros' class A affiliate. And the Bandits have succeeded even as talent came and went."
-Quad-City Times, September 16, 2017
"Since completing a purchase of the team after the 2007 season, Heller and Main Street Baseball have presided over the River Bandits. Changes to the fan experience at Modern Woodmen Park have not gone unnoticed over the years, as the team has added a variety of amusements to the facility–and could add more down the road–while introducing some unique traditions, including the Mega Candy Drop."
-Ballpark Digest, August 31, 2017
"From the amusement rides that attract people well into fall during a farmer’s market in an adjacent parking lot to the receptions and meetings which take place in and out of baseball season, Modern Woodmen Park has become a year-round destination for Quad-City area residents."
-Quad-City Times, August 30, 2017
"If you go to a River Bandits ballgame, you’ll find there’s something for everyone. If you’re a baseball purist, the River Bandits are contending for a Midwest League title this year. If you’re out with the family, there’s something for everyone, ranging from the amusements, to the food, to the game."
-Ballpark Digest, August 25, 2017
"Complete with a Ferris wheel as well as a handful of other rides and attractions, Davenport's Modern Woodmen Park is a fantastic place to see a baseball game."
-Quad-City Times, July 22, 2017
"We should be applauding Heller for thinking outside the box in his quest to make Modern Woodmen Park a destination for families and kids in addition to hard-core baseball fans. Outside the box is never a bad thing."
-Quad City Times, June 15, 2017
"Since Dave Heller took over ownership of the ball club that calls Modern Woodmen Park home, there's been a lot more fun on and off the field."
-Quad-City Times, June 4, 2017
"Heller now owns the Quad City Bandits, as well as three other teams.... His ownership group Main Street Baseball was named “organization of the year” by Ballpark Digest. He’s in the midst of donating $250,000 in the Quad Cities area to fund a neonatal intensive care unit. He gives away more than $85,000 in scholarship money. He installed the first in-park Ferris wheel in minor-league history. Helicopters hover over his stadiums and drop candy onto the field as children scream “look at the candy! Look at the candy!”
His stadiums attract everyone – not just baseball fans. They’re destinations for fun in spring, summer and fall."
-Evansville Courier-Press, April 29, 2017
"Preparing for his 10th opening day as the owner of the Quad-Cities River Bandits, Dave Heller and the staff of the Midwest League club continue to keep their eyes on the fan experience at Modern Woodmen Park."
-Quad-City Times, April 2, 2017
"Creativity and innovation have never been an issue for the Quad Cities River Bandits, who celebrate their 10th year of ownership by Main Street Baseball."
-Quad City Times, March 17, 2017
"The Quad Cities franchise, in Davenport, Iowa, is a shining example of all the best of minor league baseball."
-Lowell Sun, June 11, 2016
"Modern Woodmen Park is home of the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros. It's a baseball stadium dressed up as an amusement park. They serve food at Modern Woodmen: vittles that rock. Stuff good enough to make you loosen your belt and look for an afternoon nap."
-Rock Island Dispatch-Argus, April 10, 2016
"The local baseball franchise never has been healthier and more vibrant than it is right now. Heller knows what he's doing."
-Quad-City Times, November 17, 2015
"Solid management, great facilities and loyal fans for the Quad Cities River Bandits all contributed to Quad Cities' rise to the top."
-Quad City Times, August 21, 2015
"Over at Modern Woodmen Park, Dave Heller leads an organization that has given fans plenty to shout about on the field and lots to entertain them off it, drawing record-setting crowds to the highly-decorated best minor league ballpark in America."
-Rock Island Dispatch-Argus, August 18, 2015
"America's hottest hot spot for Minor League Baseball is just west of Chicago in the Quad Cities."
-Chicago Business Journal, August 17, 2015
"There’s a ballpark in Iowa where the players emerge from a cornfield and step out onto the diamond. And as you sit down the right-field line, in the shadow of the majestic Centennial Bridge, and you watch the lights from the 110-foot-tall Ferris wheel in left field reflect off the adjacent Mississippi River, you can almost hear James Earl Jones’ voice beckoning you."
-Sports Business Journal, August 17, 2015
"Modern Woodmen Park has become a destination even when there's no baseball being played. So the Ferris wheel is open [Thursday through Sunday] when the Bandits are out of town."
- River Cities Reader, August 8, 2015
"In the Quad Cities, Main Street Baseball has developed a reputation for aggressively making improvements to 83-year old Modern Woodmen Park."
-MiLB.com News, January 5, 2015
"Heller ... revived a dormant franchise in Davenport, Iowa, using energy, flair and creativity."
-Billings Gazette, December 24, 2014
"It’s hard to argue with the success that Heller and his team have brought to minor league baseball here. We’re seeing solid baseball, an affiliation with the Houston Astros and its excellent farm system, fun promotions, scholarships to Quad-Cities students and an opportunity for summer employment for many."
-Quad-City Times, August 1, 2014
"Heller and his management team have done a terrific job of building on the great family entertainment venue in what’s been described as the “Best Minor League Ballpark in America.”
-Quad-City Times, August 1, 2014
"One of the largest video boards in baseball, an outfield ribbon board, outfield party decks, a new entry plaza and the suite-level sky deck are among improvements at the ballpark in recent seasons, many cooperative efforts between the City of Davenport, which owns the stadium, and the River Bandits organization."
-Quad-City Times, May 17, 2012
"The integration of the old with the new makes Modern Woodmen Park one of the nicest ballparks in the minors. With the Mississippi River sitting directly behind the center and right field fence, it is a ballpark Mark Twain would have loved. He could have parked his raft and walked about 200 feet to a gate behind first base and taken in a game."
-Ballpark Digest, September 2, 2010
"In the first year under Heller’s ownership, the club’s 53 percent increase in attendance over 2007 was the largest nationally in minor league baseball."
-Quad-City Times, February 1, 2009