Looking out over the still-green grass at Modern Woodmen Park, Joe Kubly sees potential.
"There’s so much we can do, so many great experiences and memories we can create, and that’s what we’re looking forward to doing," the new general manager of the Quad-Cities River Bandits said Wednesday.
Kubly was part of the River Bandits’ front-office team in 2014 and 2015 and returns to the Midwest League team after spending the past four years as the president of the Grand Junction Rockies.
He led that short-season team to annual growth and unprecedented levels of success, among the reasons Quad-Cities owner Dave Heller brought Kubly in to lead the River Bandits’ staff.
"In the two years Joe was here, we set attendance records, we set sponsorship records and we set sales records that we have been unable to replicate," Heller said.
"With the experience he gained in Grand Junction and the growth of the franchise there, when we had the opportunity to bring Joe home to the Quad-Cities, it was like when the Astros traded for Gerrit Cole or Zack Greinke. It was a chance to improve our team."
Kubly welcomes the chance to do that.
The Forreston, Illinois, native and Northern Illinois University graduate is anxious to see how he can grow the River Bandits’ franchise.
"When I left here, there were a lot of ideas that had been floated around out that, for one reason or another, never were tried, and we’re going to try some new and different things," Kubly said.
"One of the things I always appreciated about Dave when I was here was that he was always open to new ideas, always willing to push the envelope a bit and try new things."
Some of those new ideas will likely be reflected on the River Bandits' promotional schedule for the 2020 season when it is unveiled early next year as the team works toward its April 9 season opener against Peoria.
Others involve bringing new and different events to the riverfront ballpark.
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Kubly would like to work with area high school baseball programs to give them opportunities to play at Modern Woodmen Park.
He also feels the time might be right for the ballpark to host a concert or two in the postseason.
"The Quad-Cities is a community that loves coming out to the ballpark and it loves baseball," Kubly said.
"We have a unique setting here, the best in the minor leagues, and we want this to be a place where people want to be, both during the season and at other events during the rest of the year."
Heller said Kubly believes in the River Bandits’ philosophy.
"He knows the culture of our organization of putting people first, putting the people of the Quad-Cities first and making sure everyone in the park understands that we are there for them," Heller said.
Kubly remembers chatting with a number of season ticket holders who arrived at Quad-Cities games early, enjoying each other’s company and the atmosphere at the Davenport riverfront stadium.
"That’s part of what makes this community special, and we look forward to renewing acquaintances and friendships and having a lot of special times together at the ballpark," he said.
River Bandits co-owner Roby Smith believes Kubly will help the organization create new and different memories.
"He will help make our River Bandits a better team," Smith said.
Kubly was one of three new staff members introduced Wednesday by the Midwest League club.
Taylor Satterly, who previously spent two seasons working in special events for the River Bandits, returns to the organization as the executive director of special events and will oversee the development of year-round events at Modern Woodmen Park.
Micheal Plummer joins the Quad-Cities staff as group sales account executive after working for the Kokomo Jackrabbits of the college wood-bat Northwoods League.