The Burlington Bees open the Midwest League baseball season tonight and they will do so with a new affiliation. The Bees had been affiliated with the Kansas City Royals but are starting a two-year player development contract with the Oakland Athletics.

Bees general manager Chuck Brockett says they came in and toured the stadium and were interested in getting back to Iowa. They had been in Burlington in the 1970’s. He says the A’s have been known for having a strong farm system. They’ve made the playoffs 6 of the last 8 years. He says they tend to get players that are ready to play instead of kids coming right out of high school that have to learn how to play the pro game.

When the Quad Cities River Bandits open the Midwest League season on Thursday night fans will see a number of upgrades in and around Modern Woodmen Park.

River Bandits general manager Kirk Goodman says the biggest change is a whole new flood wall put up by the city that will protect the entire front of the stadium. He says the stadium also features a new entry plaza. The team will host the Midwest League All Star Game this season and Goodman says they have been working for about two years to get ready.

Goodman says you don’t get many chances to host the All Star game, so they hope to make it a showcase for Davenpot.

Goodman says it will be the last time they host the All Star Game for a number of years. He says it used to be whoever wanted to host the game got it, but he says the game has become more popular, and now it is on a rotational system.

The River Bandits open the season against Beloit