The Quad-Cities River Bandits won a Midwest League championship in September.
Sunday, they received the rings to prove it.
All River Bandits players and coaching staff members from 2013 were presented championship rings – the ultimate reward for professional baseball players at any level – during a sit-down dinner at the Astros spring training complex in Kissimmee, Fla., on Sunday evening.
“The Astros did it right and showed their players what they mean to the organization,’’ River Bandits owner Dave Heller said. “It was a very classy event, not just handing out rings and getting on with the day.’’
Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow, Astros director of player development Quinton McCracken, River Bandits manager Omar Lopez and Heller each spoke briefly to the team.
Rings featuring the River Bandits and QC logos were then distributed, with players brought to the podium in alphabetical order to receive what they earned by compiling an 88-58 record to win the franchise’s second Midwest League title in three seasons.
Shortstop Carlos Correa, the No. 1 overall selection in baseball’s 2012 draft, wanted to speak and was given the opportunity to say a few words to his teammates.
“He talked about how that team became a family to him and how they had all worked together like a family to achieve good things. He went on to say that ‘no matter what any of us go on to do, we will always have a special season to remember and those experiences to build on,’’’ Heller said.
“His comments were brief, but they illustrated what leadership is all about and why he deserved to be the No. 1 overall pick.’’
The ring ceremony will be repeated by the Astros on Wednesday, when another dinner is scheduled for members of the Tri-City team which won the 2013 New York-Penn League title. Those players are currently working to land spots on the River Bandits’ 2014 roster.