The Kane County Cougars announced plans this morning for several ballpark improvements to be ready by next season.
Here’s a summary of the changes planned for Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, from the Cougars’ press release:
Similar to the Cougars’ parent club Chicago Cubs, the Cougars will embark on a capital improvement project that will add numerous elements to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark to be enjoyed by players, coaches and fans. The Cougars will be constructing a new batting cage built to the Cubs’ specifications, complete with two hitting tunnels. The climate-controlled cage will also house an expanded Cougars’ weight room and a state-of-the-art video room, allowing convenient access for Cougars and Cubs field staff to develop and evaluate players.
Also for next season, a new, high-definition videoboard will be installed at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, providing an enhancement of the in-game fan experience with various promotions, game action, video replays and more. The Cougars have announced an agreement with 4Topps Premium Seating to construct a premium seating area on the lower-seating bowl area of the ballpark. This new premium seating area, to be located behind home plate, will provide a unique game day experience, complete with waitress service, while offering the ability to cater towards multiple-size groups, including individuals. Finally, the Cougars will construct a permanent music pavilion to be used for game day events such as the Cougars’ Ballpark Concert Series, as well as non-game day events.
The Cougars additionally announced they will not raise individual ticket and parking prices for the 2015 season. You can read the entire press release here.
Judging by the wording of the press release, I think it’s fair to expect the Cougars to announce an extension of their player development contract with the Cubs in the near future. I typically don’t mention rumors, but it’s worth noting there was one that had the Cubs interested in changing Midwest League affiliates to the Fort Wayne TinCaps. The TinCaps have a fantastic facility in Parkview Field, especially for a team that plays in a Low-A league, so one must wonder if the Cubs checked on that possibility in case the Cougars decided not to go through with some of the ballpark improvements they announced today.
The Cougars just finished their best regular season ever in terms of wins, posting a 91-49 record. Their second-year skipper, Mark Johnson, was named the Midwest League manager of the year.
Kane County’s best-of-three playoff series against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers begins Wednesday at Fox Cities Stadium and moves to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark for the second game (and third game, if necessary).
Former Cougar makes MLB debut
Kansas City Royals OF prospect Lane Adams made his major-league debut as a pinch-runner for Raul Ibanez in the 8th inning of the Royals’ 4-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
Adams played 110 games with the Cougars in 2011 and 2012, batting .273 with 6 HR, 55 RBI and 18 SB.
Ibanez also played in the Midwest League, batting .300 with 12 HR, 80 RBI and 10 SB in 143 games with the 1993-94 Appleton Foxes.