Minor League baseball around Chicago

The Kane County Cougars

By Dan Campana

Whether you're playing, watching or just love the game, summertime is when America's favorite pastime shines its brightest. And the Chicago area offers more than its fair share of ways for families to enjoy the fun.

Aside from the Cubs and Sox, the Chicago area boasts four other professional teams for you to catch the action. For more than 20 years, the area's standard setter has been the Kane County Cougars.

Cougars mascot Ozzie

The Cougars enter their 22nd season in Geneva with a rich history of showing off future stars on the field as part of the Midwest League schedule, while also putting on a show for nine innings around Fifth Third Ballpark.

"Our goal is to provide something exciting and fun for everyone," says Shawn Touney, Cougars public relations director. "Each night there's going to be some surprises and gimmicks."

Kane County's approach to "family-friendly fun" is solidified with a wide range of theme nights, special guests and the ever-popular fireworks nights. For 2012, game-day promotions include "Daddy-Daughter" night, the return of Star Wars nights, Sunday Fun Days and Peanut-Free night-a first-of-its-kind concept introduced a few years back to accommodate fans with peanut allergies.

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The newest entry to the local baseball scene this summer is the Schaumburg Boomers. Ed McCaskey, media relations director, touts cheap game tickets and free parking to get people through the gates at Boomers Stadium.

"Frankly, we're going to be more affordable," he says, noting advance ticket purchases are discounted.

A Sunday family plan includes four tickets, hot dogs, drinks, chips and entry to the kids play area for $56. The kids' area includes speed pitch and jump houses, while mascot Coop the Boomer keeps things fun between innings.

The Boomers also offer a unique food selection McCaskey hopes also will become an attraction.

The Joliet Slammers and Windy City Thunderbolts are baseball destinations for fans in the south suburbs.


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