A fan's guide to the Kane County Cougars
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When the Kane County Cougars switched their MLB affiliation to the Cubs, it immediately created a buzz around the team from local fans.
Since then, the franchise has focused on helping casual baseball fans, Cubs fans and die-hard Cougars fans come together to enjoy the baseball experience at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva.
There are three more homestands this season at the ballpark starting with Saturday's seven-game stretch against Clinton and Beloit. The Cougars wrap up their season Labor Day weekend.
Here's a quick fan guide to enjoy the final stretch.
For Cubs fans:
This season, the team exemplifies the Minor League Baseball slogan, "Watch the stars of tomorrow, today." A few of the Cubs' top prospects have called Kane County home this summer, including Albert Almora, Dan Vogelbach, Rock Shoulders and recent Class A Advanced call-up Pierce Johnson.
As with any prospect, these players are not guaranteed to be a part of the Cubs' future roster at Wrigley Field, but they have each put together some good runs this season.
Almora, the Cubs' sixth overall draft pickin 2012, started out with a bang and has continued to show solid ability. His fielding talents are top notch as he appears to track down each ball hit to center field with ease or dives for seemingly out-of-reach balls on a regular basis.
Pierce Johnson, the team's former ace, joined the Class A Advanced league midseason. After leaving the Cougars and joining the Daytona Cubs, Johnson has posted a 3-1 record with a 2.90 ERA.
For the Cougars' fanatic:
The team also attracts its own fan base without the Cubs influence. Some people just want to root for a professional team that plays in their area.
Die-hard fan Max Akerman of Wheaton has been following the team since the beginning. Twenty-two years ago, he and his wife, Jane, became just the third people to purchase season tickets. He has seen nearly every home game from the same seat behind the Cougars' dugout for the last 19 years.
"It's like therapy," Akerman said. "On this level (minors), it's about the name on the front of the jersey, but in the MLB it's about the name on the back. I can relate to these guys."
Akerman is one of many longtime season-ticket holders who attend as many home games as possible each season.
He said he gained an interest in the team when he read in the Daily Herald that a minor-league baseball team would be building a new stadium in his area. After inquiring about more information, he decided to purchase season tickets. He was hooked after his first game.
"It took about three heartbeats," Akerman said.
He and his wife have also housed some Cougars players over the years. That personal connection with the players made his fan experience all the more special.
"I'm not the most typical fan," Akerman admits, adding that the Cougars do "a wonderful job of making this place family oriented."
For the casual fan and family:
If you just want to enjoy an affordable night out by the light of a baseball stadium, the Cougars have plenty of options. They have box seats, suites and upper-level bleachers. Beyond the outfield is the "Kids Zone" with a bounce castle, two sections of lawn seating and areas to bring the family dog during "Bark in the Park" days.
There are also three outfield decks for party and picnic purposes. Behind home plate, the Hyundai Upper Deck holds enough indoor and outdoor seating for 20-200 people.
Fans can also enjoy regular fireworks shows, autograph signing sessions and special events for kids between innings. Group tickets start at $8 per person, and all-inclusive food and beverage tickets are just $25.
The Cougars also frequently host theme events, ranging from Star Wars night to princess night. Groups of happy kids, and adults, in costume are a common sight at the stadium.
For more information and tickets, visit kccougars.com.
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