On Monday, March 19, 2001, Davenport aldermen received a memo that stated, "After three years of negotiation and attempting to reach an agreement to renovate John O'Donnell Stadium and to make Minor A baseball successful in Davenport, the City of Davenport and the Quad City River Bandits have agreed that it is in the best interest of both parties to move ahead and go in separate directions."

The council had before it a lease agreement that provided the Seventh Inning Stretch organization a lease at $7,000 less than the previous lease for a period of one year with an option for an additional year. This put the City of Davenport in a position that they could not negotiate any agreement with any other team until after the 2002 season. But Seventh Inning Stretch could leave at the end of the 2001 season. In addition, it provided a reduction of $7,000 in lease payments. Davenport taxpayers have $7,000 less to cover stadium expenses.

I have been a baseball fan for 50 years. I managed a Davenport city park champion baseball team in the 1950s. I have attended games at John O'Donnell Stadium from 1937 until today. I want to keep baseball playing at John O'Donnell and not run baseball out of Davenport. When I introduced amendments to the lease, I wanted to provide the City of Davenport with the best negotiating position possible to ensure baseball would remain viable in Davenport. The Memorandum of Understanding singed by Kevin Krause and Acting City Administrator Ken Kolwey clearly acknowledges Mr. Krause is not interested in any long-term commitment to play baseball in Davenport, Iowa.

If Mr. Krause had agreed to a definite two-year contract instead of having the option to leave in a year, I would not have made the amendments that I proposed on Monday. We would have a definite commitment for 2001 and 2002. But the way it stands under the current agreement, baseball might be here in 2002, but at the whim of Mr. Krause. That is not a tenable position for the city of Davenport or for the citizens who want to keep baseball at John O'Donnell Stadium for the foreseeable future.

Baseball is a game that I have intently followed since Mickey Owens dropped the third-strike ball in the World Series that allowed the New York Yankees the life they needed to win that series. Brooklyn's annual battle cry became my battle cry: "Wait until next year!" Now Davenport has to wait until next year to know if we will have baseball in 2002. That is not how I was taught by the federal government to negotiate. One must always negotiate from a position of strength.

George Nickolas,
2nd Ward Alderman, Davenport

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