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Passion for Q-C fuels Croken's Bandits interest
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Passion for Q-C fuels Croken's Bandits interest

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Ken Croken enjoys baseball, but the Scott County supervisor had another reason for wanting to become part of the Quad Cities River Bandits’ ownership group.

Croken said Monday he wants to be a part of a thriving downtown Davenport and believes the Midwest League team is an important component to that equation.

“I’ve been a big booster of the city and the downtown businesses for many years and this last year or so has been so rough for a lot of good people. I want to do what I can to help,’’ Croken said.

“I feel like the River Bandits and Modern Woodmen Park can be a catalyst for the restaurants and other entertainment options downtown. While I never really envisioned myself becoming part owner of a professional sports franchise, I see a lot of potential and I’m excited to be joining the ownership group.’’

Croken, a Scott County supervisor who worked with River Bandits owner Dave Heller on a number of projects during the 13 years Main Street Baseball has owned the Quad Cities club, finds the team’s commitment to community and charitable causes to be worthy endeavors.

“The River Bandits are so active in the community and I hope to help to create even more ways for the team to be involved throughout the Quad-Cities,’’ Croken said.

Heller said that sense of community is among the reasons he welcomed Roby Smith to the team’s ownership group in 2016 and Croken now.

“They share the love of this community that I have and the three of us are stewards of what I feel like is a wonderful community asset in the River Bandits,’’ Heller said. “It is our mission to make this community a little better place than we found it and through work at our ballpark we have a chance to do that.’’

Croken, who spent 15 years working as the corporate communications and marketing executive leader of Genesis Health System before his retirement in 2017, has worked with Heller in the past through the River Bandits’ efforts for the Flu-Free Quad-Cities program and other endeavors.

“Dave is one of the brightest, most imaginative people I’ve ever been associated with and the opportunity to work with him sounds good to me,’’ Croken said.

“I’ve seen how young families enjoy a night out at the River Bandits, good, family-friendly entertainment, and I’m looking forward to attracting even more folks to the ballpark In 2021.’’

In addition to his work at Genesis, Croken previously worked as a senior vice president with Edelman Public Relations Worldwide in New York City and a marketing manager with IBM Corporation’s global government industry sector in Washington, D.C.

Croken’s application to join Heller and Smith in the River Bandits ownership group was approved by Major League Baseball on Dec. 21 after prior approval from the Midwest League and Minor League Baseball.

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