Hello Cougars fans,
Talking baseball and tickets on this unseasonably mild Tuesday – not that I’m complaining about the 70 degree temps whatsoever. Can we hold onto them for more than a few days, though? Something tells me that we’ll be wishing we had them in a few short weeks.
We unofficially kicked off the 2013 season this past Saturday as single-game tickets went on sale to the general public here at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. We welcomed fans – some of whom arrived in the darkened pre-dawn hours – to get the first chance at tickets for next spring. It’s something of a Cougars tradition and we love opening our doors and talking baseball with our fans.
In talking with some of our fans over breakfast in our Super Suite, I could sense the anticipation for Opening Day, and our first season as a new Class-A affiliate of the Cubs. Fans were greeted by Ozzie and were able to get the prime seats for top dates next season, including July 4th, Opening Night, and popular fireworks nights games.
The first fan was in line by 11:10 PM Friday night!?! Bill Taylor, all I can say is that, I hope you were able to enjoy a nice long nap Saturday afternoon! Bill is from Hoffman Estates and it was a pleasure to catch up with him this weekend – at the more conventional hour of 8:30 Saturday morning when I arrived at the park…
There’s no time like now to get single-game tickets for next season. You can stop by our office between 9 and 5 during the week, order online, or call us at 630-232-8811. Ticket packages, catered event group outings, and season tickets are available, too. Make your plans now before the date of your choice is either limited or sold out. It’s going to be a fun year and we can’t wait.
News and notes…
— The 2012 World Series will include a former Kane County Cougars player on both sides, as the Fall Classic kicks off tomorrow. The well-rested Detroit Tigers feature Miguel Cabrera, who can put the signature stamp on what has become nothing short of a phenomenal season. Cabrera, winner of the American League Triple Crown, a MLB All-Star, and a Cougar in 2001, is returning to the World Series and hoping to win his second championship. His first came in 2003 when the young Cabrera was a budding star on the Florida Marlins. You’ve got to believe that if Cabrera can be part of another world championship, and possibly win the American League MVP, we may be talking about one of the greatest single seasons in modern baseball history. So far this postseason, Cabrera has batted .278 in 9 games.
The San Francisco Giants’ roster includes relief pitcher Santiago Casilla, who pitched for the Cougars for a portion of the 2003 and ’04 seasons. Casilla has pitched in 9 postseason games, working 5.2 innings and allowing just one run. Casilla was part of the 2010 Giants squad that poured the World Series bubbly, so both former Cougars have been there before. Time will tell who gets to celebrate again.
— Continuing the baseball talk, we have numerous former Cougars involved in fall and winter ball. Let’s start with the Arizona Fall League. It would take a 5,000 word blog post to explain how solid this league is and to list every major league star – past or present – who has been part of the AFL. The league is a showcase for future stars of the game, without question. Each MLB team sends six of their top prospects each fall to the AFL.
The Surprise (Arizona) Saguaros include many former Cougars in Orlando Calixte (’11-’12), Brian Fletcher (’11), Edwin Carl (’11-’12), Jon Keck (’11) and Justin Marks (’10). Marks, through 2 starts, has yet to allow an earned run. Marks had a nice season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas last season. Calixte, a rising star in the Royals farm system, is batting .385 through 3 games.
The Phoenix Desert Dogs have some Kane County ties as well, dating back to our affiliation with the Oakland A’s. That group includes Max Stassi (’10), Shawn Haviland (’09) and Brett Hunter (’08-’09). It will be interesting to follow Stassi’s progress in particular. The catcher has battled injuries through portions of his pro career, and is still fairly young – just 21 years old. Stassi batted .268 with 15 homers and 45 RBI at High-A Stockton last season. Stassi was a Midwest League All-Star for the Cougars in 2010.
Let the dealing begin. A former first round pick and former Cougar has already switched addresses this off-season. That would be infielder Cliff Pennington (’05), who was dealt from the A’s to Arizona along with minor league infielder Yordy Cabrera for outfielder Chris Young.
Pennington joins an Arizona squad with another former Cougar in pitcher Trevor Cahill (’07). Pennington is a middle infielder who struggled offensively last season, batting just .215.
As always, thanks for reading and enjoy the World Series! Remember, you can sign up to receive an email notification each time a new blog is posted. Simply enter your email address on the right-hand side of the blog and you’ll be all set.