Homestand Preview

The grass is green, the stadium looks great, the sun is out…and the Cougars are undefeated. =)

Life is good as we prepare for Monday’s home opener. Here’s a preview of sorts for the upcoming homestand. If you’re coming out for any or all of next week’s games, here’s what we have on tap for you.

Monday 4/9
Beloit Snappers (Minnesota Twins farm team) 
1 p.m. (gates open at Noon)           
WBIG 1280 AM (12:45 p.m.)

–           Opening Day
–           Midwest League All-Star Game T-shirts for the first 1,500 fans, courtesy of Provena Mercy Medical Center
–           Pre-game autograph session with Cougars players
–           Introduction of rosters
–           National Anthem – Kaneland Harter Middle School (Sugar Grove)
–           Fans can run the bases after the game

Tuesday 4/10
Beloit Snappers
Noon (gates open at 11 a.m.) 
WBIG 1280 AM (11:45 a.m.)

–           Ozzie’s Reading Club Kids Day
–           Pre-game Ozzie’s Reading Club Parade
–           High School Sports Business Seminars (Downers Grove South, Richards, West Chicago, Prairie Ridge, Naperville North, and Hinsdale South High Schools)
–           National Anthem – TBD
–           Fans can run the bases after the game

Wednesday 4/11
Beloit Snappers
Noon (gates open at 11 a.m.) 
WBIG 1280 AM (11:45 a.m.)

–           Ozzie’s Reading Club Kids Day
–           Pre-game Ozzie’s Reading Club Parade
–           High School Sports Business Seminars (Wheaton Warrenville South, Burlington Central, Lyons Township, Grayslake North and Central, Conant, and Stevenson High Schools)
–           National Anthem – Maple School Band (Northbrook)
–           Fans can run the bases after the game 

Homestand Notes

Here we go: The 22nd season of Kane County Cougars baseball in Geneva begins on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. as the Cougars host the Beloit Snappers. This will be the first home game for new Cougars manager Brian Buchanan, who joins the team after managing the Royals’ Rookie-Advanced squad in Idaho Falls in 2010 and 2011. This will also be the first game played at the newly-named Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, on the grounds of the Philip B. Elfstrom Events Center.  

Ozzie’s Reading Club is back: Ozzie’s Reading Club is back for its 18th year of promoting reading for Chicagoland youth. This season, the program includes 400 Chicago area schools and a total of 134,816 students who are improving their reading skills through Ozzie’s Reading Club. Participating students who complete reading goals set by teachers are rewarded with a ticket to a Cougars game, a food voucher, Ozzie’s Reading Club T-Shirt, and a chance to take the field for a pre-game parade. Ozzie’s Reading Club is sponsored by Provena Mercy Medical Center, Cantigny Park and Bobak’s. 

High School Sports Business Seminars: The Cougars’ High School Sports Business Seminars will take place before Tuesday and Wednesday’s games this week.  The seminars, led by Cougars staff members, provide an inside look at the sports industry and give students a chance to enjoy a Cougars game. Students were asked to create a between-innings promotion to be considered for a Cougars game. Winning schools whose promotional ideas will be featured this homestand are Naperville North HS (4/10) and Stevenson HS (4/11). Winning schools’ teachers will also throw a ceremonial first pitch before their school’s game date this week. 

Big concert planned: Tickets go on sale this Saturday at 10 a.m. for the July 8 concert at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark featuring Wilco, along with Andrew Bird and eight-piece soul outfit, The Congregation. The summer evening of Chicago’s finest homegrown talent is part of WXRT’s 40 Years of XRT celebration and culminates with a spectacular fireworks display at the home of the Cougars. Complete information is available at kccougars.com. 

Lending a hand: The Cougars organization will host an “Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Day” on Saturday, April 21. In conjunction with the 1 p.m. game that afternoon, the Cougars will be celebrating National Donate Life Month and give fans an opportunity to support a worthy cause through several opportunities. Fans can receive more information and order tickets for April 21 by calling (630) 232-8811 or by visiting kccougars.com. 

Fans attending the April 21st game can sign up to be an organ and tissue donor through Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, and have a chance to win a Cougars team autographed bat. People who already have registered to be organ and tissue donors can show their driver’s license to provide proof of registration and be eligible as well. 

Also in conjunction with Gift of Hope, the Cougars will honor several families who have been touched by organ and tissue donation, through an on-field ceremony before the game. 

Team News: A grand slam from Lane Adams sparked the Cougars to a nine-run second inning which boosted them to an eventual 11-10 triumph on Thursday night in the season opener against the Quad Cities River Bandits at Modern Woodmen Park.  Andrew Stueve recorded the win while Nick Graffeo picked up the save. The three-game series continues this evening at 7 p.m. as Edwin Carl gets the start for the Cougars. 

Alumni News:  Early preseason prognosticators lean towards a pair of former Cougars as possible MVP candidates this season in the American League: Detroit infielder Miguel Cabrera (’01) and Boston infielder Adrian Gonzalez (’01). A pair of Boston pitchers and former Cougars are battling thumb ailments. The news is worse for Andrew Bailey (’07), who suffered ligament damage to his right thumb and will be out indefinitely. The news was much better for Josh Beckett (’00), who isn’t expected to miss time with a bothersome thumb that was evaluated this past week. Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster (’96) struck out 10 batters in Thursday’s game against Washington; it was Dempster’s fourth Opening Day start in his career. Miami pitcher Ryan Webb (’05) made a relief appearance in Wednesday evening’s game between Miami and St. Louis, the first game at Marlins Park. Many Cougars alumni in the big leagues will be in new surroundings this season. Those include the aforementioned Andrew Bailey (’07), who was dealt to Boston from Oakland. Another big-name closer in Huston Street (’04) is now with San Diego as part of a winter deal with Colorado. Josh Willingham (’01) is now with Minnesota and hoping to build upon career highs in homers (29) and RBI (98) last season. Trevor Cahill (’07), who has won 10 or more games in each of his first three big league seasons, was part of a trade sending him from Oakland to Arizona. Bo Schultz (’10) was signed to a minor league deal by Arizona and will open the season at Class-A Advanced Visalia as the closer for the Rawhide. A portion of last year’s Cougars field staff was promoted to Class-A Advanced Wilmington. Manager Vance Wilson will lead the Blue Rocks this season, and is joined by hitting coach Damon Hollins and trainer James Stone. One player from last year’s Cougars team will open at Double-A Northwest Arkansas: catcher Ryan Jenkins. Justin Marks, a pitcher from the ’10 Cougars team who at the time, was an A’s prospect, will open there as well. Former Cougar Vin Mazzaro (’06) will open the season at Triple-A Omaha. 

Where’s Ozzie? Ozzie T. Cougar is scheduled to make upcoming appearances in the community at the following locations: 

         Saturday, April 7 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. – Meijer (St. Charles and Aurora)
         Monday, April 9 from 4-5 p.m. – Heartland Blood Center (Geneva)
         Wednesday, April 11 from 4-5 p.m. – Heartland Blood Center (St. Charles)

Here’s our Opening Day video. Hope everyone has a nice Easter weekend and we’ll see you on Monday for the home opener!

-Shawn

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About Kane County Cougars

The Kane County Cougars are the Class-A Affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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