Swing of the Quad Cities
The Swing of the Quad Cities was a distinct team identity that existed for four seasons in the Midwest League. While the team played their games at historic Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa, their identity was expanded to include the entire “Quad Cities” region of eastern Iowa and northwest Illinois. In their four years, they served as a Single-A affiliate of two major league teams–the Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals. The Swing identity began following the 2003 season, when the Quad City River Bandits underwent one of the most audacious rebrandings in modern minor league history.
The most striking and unique element of the identity was their choice to put their nickname before their place name. This is a rare phenomenon, but not without precedent. In fact, another team in the Midwest League (the Sultans of Springfield) had tried the same thing about ten years before Quad Cities, but it didn’t stick. The Swing, however, pushed all their marketing chips to the center of the table. The nickname was clearly intended to have double meaning–the swing of the bat and the style of music that enjoyed a brief renaissance around the turn of the millennium, but had gone the way of Beanie Babies by ’04. Primary team colors were powder blue and burnt orange, and their cap logo featured a saxophone in the shape of the letter S, with a baseball shooting out of the bell-hole. Their uniforms came in many styles, including pinstripes, vests, solid orange, navy, and with variable undershirt colors. Some of the uniforms featured one of the most ludicrous font concepts we’ve yet to see on a baseball diamond–mismatched number sizes.
Despite the branding sideshow, the team had a remarkable list of alumni, especially considering they played only four seasons at the low-A level. In 2004, they were affiliated with the Twins–a holdover from the River Bandits days. That year alone featured Glen Perkins, Evan Meek, and Denard Span. In ’05, the Cardinals swung on over to the Swing, and sent prospects such as Jon Jay, Colby Rasmus, Jaime García, Chris Pérez, and Tommy Pham to Modern Woodmen Park. With the relative proximity to St. Louis, there were a good handful of rehabbers who put on the Swing suit as well.
It was a gamble from the get-go, and ultimately the Swing couldn’t swing it. Following the 2007 season, the team reverted to their previous River Bandits identity, with a more well-developed brand design than the previous version. Though the wacky-font uniforms and the sax-y caps were tossed into the dustbin of history, the River Bandits did keep one element from the Swing days. Whereas they had previously been known as the Quad City River Bandits, now they are the Quad Cities River Bandits. That alone is the lasting legacy of the legendary Swing.