Despite loss, Chicago Dogs home opener deemed a success

 
By Chris Kwiecinski
Special to the Daily Herald
Updated 5/25/2018 10:24 PM
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  • The Dogs' Edwin Arroyo tries to put the tag on T-Bones' Nick Torres as he safely slides into second base Friday during the inaugural game for the Chicago Dogs of the American Association independent baseball league at Impact Field in Rosemont vs. the Kansas City T-Bones.

      The Dogs' Edwin Arroyo tries to put the tag on T-Bones' Nick Torres as he safely slides into second base Friday during the inaugural game for the Chicago Dogs of the American Association independent baseball league at Impact Field in Rosemont vs. the Kansas City T-Bones. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

ROSEMONT -- The wrong team came out on top during Impact Field's inaugural home opener Friday night, as the Kansas City T-Bones rode a six-run ninth inning to a 8-4 win over the Chicago Dogs.

Despite the Dogs' loss, the team sold out its home opener with an announced attendance of 6,317, and fans raved about different aspects of the park.

Dogs owner Shawn Hunter and Rosemont mayor Bradley Stevens said the ballpark's grand opening was a success. The opener was aided by 83-degree weather at first pitch, and about six months of work prior to Friday night.

Fans said the openness of the ballpark, the food and the national anthem sung by Wayne Messmer were the highlights of the special evening.

The $63 million ballpark featured pitching, hitting and base running games on its left concourse. The pitching game recorded pitch speed, while base runners timed themselves running from an imaginary home plate to first base.

The park's novelty, which includes planes flying into O'Hare International Airport on both sides and busy backdrop of cars on highway 294, has already made an impression on the area. Dogs spokesman Alex Jakubiak said a wedding has been booked for next fall.

Attendees Joe Bogdan and Brendan Joyce said they came out to Rosemont in order to be a part of some history. Bogdan, who commuted from near Soldier Field in Chicago, said he liked the Chicago Dogs logo and how it incorporated the Chicago flag into the design.

Joyce said he was already planning his own doubleheader, where he would catch a White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field in the afternoon, and come to Rosemont for a Dogs game in the evening.

"It's going to take us a couple years to build our fan base, but this is a very good start," Hunter said.

Stevens said the park staff worked through the challenges of long concession lines, while Hunter attributed the success of the fan turnout to the quality of the ballpark.

"Each game we'll look at as a special event," Hunter said. "I can't wait to have our meeting on Saturday morning to recap tonight and see how we can do it better on Saturday night."

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