Homestand Preview, Alumni Report

Homestand Notes

Use the force: The Cougars’ Star Wars Night is set for this Saturday’s game. Fans are encouraged to dress in character, take part in a pre-game parade and ballpark scavenger hunt, and enjoy a Star Wars-themed fireworks show following the game. Members of the Midwest Garrison will be on hand to pose for photos and Darth Vader will throw a ceremonial first pitch. Tickets are available at kccougars.com or by calling (630) 232-8811.

Here comes Jorge: The Cubs’ much-anticipated prospect, 20-year old outfielder Jorge Soler, is on the Peoria roster and is expected to face the Cougars this weekend. Soler is currently batting .305 through 15 games with the Chiefs.

Sunday Funday: Fans attending Sunday’s game will enjoy the final Sunday Funday of the 2012 season. That evening’s game will feature free entertainment for children inside the stadium, as well as live organ music by famed ballpark organist Nancy Faust. That evening’s events also include a pre-game autograph session with Cougars players, and in-game entertainment by the ZOOperstars! The first 1,000 children age 14 and under will receive a Captain Underpants book, compliments of Scholastic Books.

Giving back: The Cougars will welcome representatives from JDRF at Sunday’s game, to accept a charitable donation from the Cougars organization.   The Cougars will donate a portion of ticket proceeds from the Saturday, June 2 “Salute to Ron Santo Night” to JDRF, an organization that held close ties to Ron Santo and his commitment to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Thank you: The Cougars will unveil special stadium plaques honoring Philip B. Elfstrom during Sunday’s game. Instrumental in bringing minor league baseball to Kane County more than 20 years ago, Elfstrom served as chairman of the Kane County board and President of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County. A lifelong baseball fan, Elfstrom was the driving force in successfully bringing minor league baseball to Geneva.

This Saturday’s Star Wars Night is one of the most anticipated theme nights of the season!

Team News: Entering play on Wednesday, the Cougars (32-32) have their back against the wall in terms of solidifying a spot in the 2012 Midwest League Playoffs. With 6 games remaining in the regular season, the Cougars trail Burlington by 3 games for the 2nd half Western Division wild card spot. The Cougars fell to the Bees last night, splitting a critical four-game series at home.  The Cougars’ overall record is 66-68; the club has had a .500 or better 2nd half record for 12 of the past 13 seasons and has made the league playoffs 13 times in 21 seasons.  The Cougars are hoping to enter the Labor Day weekend with a playoff berth on the line. The last season that didn’t involve playoff implications on the final weekend of the season was in 2002. Infielder Danny Mateo is one triple away from setting a single-season franchise record. His 10 triples are currently tied with Quincy Foster (’98). Mateo’s 131 hits lead the team as well. Pitcher Andrew Triggs has a 0.98 ERA in 18 appearances. Pitcher Aaron Brooks gets the start tonight and is one win away from becoming the 28th pitcher in franchise history to win 10 or more games in a single season. No Cougars pitcher reached the mark last season and the most recent was Dan Straily (’10), who made his major league debut with Oakland earlier this month. Infielder Justin Trapp is 4 RBI away from reaching 50 RBI for the season. Jorge Bonifacio, Mateo and Michael Antonio have all reached the 50 RBI mark this season. Two Cougars reached the mark last season (Cheslor Cuthbert, Brian Fletcher). Trapp is batting .272, the highest mark for the outfielder since June 2.

Cougars infielder Danny Mateo is one triple away from setting the franchise single-season record.

Alumni News:  Detroit infielder Miguel Cabrera (’01) has driven in 107 runs this season, good for 2nd in the major leagues behind Josh Hamilton. His .325 batting average is 2nd in the American League behind Mike Trout and he is 5th in the AL with 32 home runs.  Minnesota outfielder Josh Willingham (’00-’01) recently surpassed 30 home runs for the first time in his career and is  8 RBI away from reaching 100 RBI for the first time in his career. Pittsburgh pitcher A.J. Burnett (’98) has 15 wins, the most in a single season for the right-hander since 18 wins with the New York Yankees in 2008.  The Los Angeles Dodgers roster includes the following Cougars alums: Adrian Gonzalez (’01), Josh Beckett (’00), Andre Ethier (’03), Joe Blanton (’03), Ronald Belisario (’02) and Matt Treanor (’99-’01). Arizona pitcher Trevor Cahill (’07) is still stuck on 9 wins; his last victory came on July 30. Cahill is hoping to reach the 10-win mark for each of his first 4 big league seasons. Pitcher Mickey Storey (’09) has a 3.21 ERA in 10 relief appearances for Houston. Pitcher Henry Rodriguez (’07) has made 35 relief appearances for Washington. Pitcher Andrew Bailey (’07) recently made his ’12 debut after opening the season on the disabled list. The right-hander and ’09 AL Rookie of the Year has made 7 appearances for the Red Sox. Boston outfielder Scott Podsednik (’97) is batting .362 in 36 games. Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz (’03) is 11 RBI from setting a single-season best.

Class-A Advanced Wilmington is in the mix for a postseason spot in the Carolina League. Manager Vance Wilson (’11) fields a squad that has included contributions from numerous former Cougars. Infielder Orlando Calixte (’11-’12) was named Carolina League Player of the Week on Monday. Calixte batted .385 last week and has hit 14 home runs this season between Kane County and Wilmington. Pitcher Jason Adam (’11) has a 3.61 ERA in 26 starts. Pitcher Matt Ridings (’12) is 6-1 with a 2.67 ERA . Infielder Cheslor Cuthbert (’11) leads Wilmington with 59 RBI, and has reached the 50 RBI mark for each of the past 2 seasons. Pitcher Yordano Ventura (’11) made his first start in nearly a month at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, going 4.2 innings and allowing 2 runs on August 24. Infielder Jemile Weeks (’08) is batting .476 with Triple-A Sacramento (Oakland) since being optioned from the big league club earlier this month. Pitcher Travis Banwart (’07-08) is 8-5 with a 3.89 ERA in 31 appearances at Sacramento. His ERA is 6th-best in the Pacific Coast League. Pitcher Tyson Ross (’08) is 5-2 with a 2.74 ERA at Sacramento. Outfielder Jeremy Barfield (’09) of Double-A Midland (Oakland) has reached 50 or more RBI for his fourth consecutive season. Teammate Anthony Aliotti (’10) is on pace to set single-season highs in batting average, home runs and RBI. His .296 average is 8th-best in the Texas League.   Pitcher Justin Friend (’08) is 2nd in the Eastern League with 23 saves for Double-A Reading (Phillies). (statistics through games played on 8/28)

Where’s Ozzie? Ozzie T. Cougar is scheduled to make upcoming appearances in the community at the following locations:
Saturday, September 8 from 8:30-10 a.m. – ECFA Life-a-thon (Wheaton)
Sunday, September 9 from 1-2 p.m. – Grandparents Against Autism (Chicago)

Saturday 9/1          Peoria Chiefs (Chicago Cubs farm team)
6:30 p.m. (gates open at 4:30 p.m.)            WBIG 1280 AM (6:15 p.m.)

Star Wars Night
Pre-game Star Wars costume parade
Appearance by the Midwest Garrison
Autograph session with Cougars players at 6 p.m.
National Anthem – Lauren Bashore
Post-game fireworks show (Star Wars theme)
Fans can run the bases after the game

Sunday 9/2             Peoria Chiefs
6:30 p.m. (gates open at 5:30 p.m.)            WBIG 1280 AM (6:15 p.m.)

Captain Underpants book giveaway for the first 1,000 children age 14 and under, courtesy of Scholastic Books
Sunday Funday – free kid-friendly entertainment inside the ballpark
Live organ music by Nancy Faust
Autograph session with Cougars players at 6 p.m.
In-game entertainment by the ZOOperstars!
Color Guard – Mooseheart Junior ROTC
National Anthem – Nancy Faust
Philip B. Elfstrom stadium plaque dedication
Post-game fireworks show (Patriotic theme)
Fans can run the bases after the game

Monday 9/3            Peoria Chiefs
1 p.m. (gates open at 12 p.m.)       WBIG 1280 AM (12:45 p.m.)

Weekday Special – Half-Price Monday ($5 reserved seats and $4 lawn tickets)
Pre-game performance by Palatine Dance Company
Autograph session with Cougars players at 12:30 p.m.
Color Guard – American Legion Post 342 (St. Charles)
Fan Appreciation Day – lucky seats throughout the game to win prizes
Fans can run the bases after the game

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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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