Can you believe this weather we have seen of late? If you’re like me, I’m sure you are soaking up every bit of sunshine and warmth that you can, because we all know how unpredictable Chicago weather can be.
The day-after-day pattern of record temperatures has been historic, and it’s certainly been noticed in the innerworkings of our office. Operationally, the agreeable weather has made life easier for much of our staff who is outdoors this time of year, getting the ballpark ready for Opening Day on April 9. Normally at this point in the calendar, some of our staff is accustomed to putting up outfield signs amidst a 30-degree wind chill while wearing a coat.
Same goes for Tyler Carter, our head groundskeeper whose only nature nemesis these last 10 days has been a gusty wind, as opposed to seeing frost on the field.
Ticket sales have been strong as fans are thinking warm thoughts of Cougars baseball as well. Group outing packages, individual ticket sales and basically any type of ticket or ticket package has been keeping our phones busy. Just under 600 tickets were gobbled up by fans as part of last week’s $3.17 St. Patrick’s Day ticket special. If you’re a group that has typically chosen a fireworks night or popular holiday date for your annual event, it might be a good idea to give us a call and reserve some seats today, if you haven’t already.
Onto some baseball news. I’m warning you, it might be a little painful. But let’s get it out of the way now.
On Monday, Detroit star Miguel Cabrera suffered a fracture of the orbital floor in his right eye, after taking a wicked ground ball that took an unusually high hop off the dirt. If you haven’t seen the video, take a deep breath before clicking HERE.
The hope is that Cabrera will be ready for Opening Day. For now, Cabrera has eight stitches and some swelling around his eye.
There must be something about former Cougars and eye-related ailments. Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett suffered an orbital bone fracture after taking a foul tip to his face during a bunting drill on February 29. Click HERE to see the video.
Burnett, a Cougar from ’98, will be out for a while, but has thrown several side sessions of late and may even pitch in a simulated game this weekend.
The injury bug took aim at the Cougars’ parent club as well, unfortunately. Don’t count on the Royals’ starting catcher or closer being on the field anytime soon. All-Star reliever Joakim Soria is exploring his options after experiencing elbow soreness – always a red flag for a pitcher. Don’t rule out Tommy John surgery for Soria.
The bad news continues, as Royals catcher Salvador Perez underwent surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his left knee on Friday. Perez made quite a splash with Kansas City late last season, and has the makings of a big league star. But that progression will be halted until mid-July, from what you read.
Shifting to some positive baseball-related news, the Cougars team will be arriving in town the weekend of March 31/April 1 and will have a few days of workouts here at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, before departing for Davenport, Iowa on April 5 for the 2012 season opener. In fact, in exactly 2 weeks from this exact moment, the team bus will likely be crossing the Mississippi River into Iowa from Illinois.
While no official announcement has been made on what the Cougars roster will look like, we know that we’ll have a 25-man roster and a group that you can begin cheering for on April 9, when Cougars baseball kicks off in Geneva for the 22nd season.
Until then, keep the shorts and flip-flops going! And keep a jacket nearby just in case. Thanks for reading!