Report: Cubs Relocating A-Ball Affiliate from Peoria to Kane County

Back in March, I reported that the Chicago Cubs were considering changing their A-ball affiliation, which is currently with the Peoria Chiefs. At the time, the South Bend Silver Hawks were the possible target, but the organization there took the steps necessary to stick with the Diamondbacks, and the rumor died on the vine.

Until now.

According to Gordon Wittenmyer (and a tipster early this morning), the Cubs are planning to change their affiliation from Peoria to Kane County, just west of Chicago, as soon as next season. The Cubs have been affiliated with the Peoria Chiefs for the last eight years, and had a previous 10-year run with the organization in the late-80s/early-90s.

Although the move would undoubtedly be sad for some folks down in the Peoria area, you can understand the Cubs’ desire to relocate the A-ball affiliation some 120 miles closer to Chicago. It would make seeing some of the top prospects in the system a little easier for Chicago locals (and folks who travel into Chicago for a Cubs game, for example).

As for the Chiefs, given those pre-season rumors, I can’t help but suspect that they aren’t going to be blindsided by this news. They’ll find a new affiliation, and move on. These things can be unpleasant, but they happen.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

79 responses to “Report: Cubs Relocating A-Ball Affiliate from Peoria to Kane County”

  1. Meagan

    This is great news! Living in Geneva, we go to Cougars games often. We actually don’t care what Major League team they are affiliated with (it’s been the A’s, Royals, Marlins, among others…)…we go to support these young guys as they go through the ranks…take our kids to a baseball game and not spend $300…and to drink a few beers of course…. We’ve seen guys like Charles Johnson, Ryan Dempster, Alfonseca, Burnett, Beckett, too many to list! But if it’s the future Cubs, then it will be even better!! The Cougars organization is a class act with a beautiful stadium, full of great people from the front office to the bat boys. We always have a great time at the games and look forward to many more! While I feel bad for Peoria losing the affiliation, they will get another team that they can support just as much.

  2. AZCubsFan

    I would keep A in Peoria. Move AA to Kane County. Move AAA to Schaumburg. Would be a nice road to Wrigley.

    1. Tyler

      That would be awesome

      1. AZCubsFan

        Maybe they could Flip flop Peoria to High A move Low A to Az. Then they could go from AFL to Low A in Az. Then as they progress up the chain they could see Chicago getting closer and closer. They would also get a tast of the Chicago media first hand.

        1. chirogerg

          All the other High-A teams are in the Florida State League or the Carolina League, I believe, so traveling to/from Peoria every series would be a drag

          1. AZCubsFan

            That stinks…..i was going to suggest a highway connecting all the sites and calling it “Cubs Way Highway”, damn that would have been awesome. Go Cubbies!!!

    2. Noah

      That’s not how the minor leagues work. Not even close.

      1. MWL observer

        Some of our fan base isn’t grounded in reality. Never has been. Why start now? ;-)

  3. Twiz

    Too bad its not South Bend. 5 minutes away. But oh well.

  4. Papa Bear

    I live outside of Peoria, a move like this would give most of downstate ,Illinois to the Cardinals. You would be giving uop on a large portion of the Cub’s fanbase.

    1. ssckelley

      So there are Cub fans in downstate Illinois just because they have a minor league team in Peoria? I have been a huge Cub fan all my life living in NE Iowa and whatever MLB affiliation that is in Cedar Rapids has never impacted which team I root for and I go to plenty of games.

    2. TWC

      Give downstate to the Cardinals? Riiiiight. Who the heck decides which ML team to root for based upon which group or 19 or 20-year-olds happen to be playing ball nearby?

      1. Picklenose

        TWC, its actually pretty natural to start rooting for a group of minor league players, and continue to follow them as they work their way up to the majors. I grew up watching the Tidewater Tides play, and continued rooting for Gooden, Strawberry, Dykstra, Backman, and especially Mookie Wilson as they moved up to the Mets. Fortunately for me I went to Northwestern, and saw the light after watching the Cubs play at Wrigley a few times.

        1. TWC

          Perhaps it is in areas that aren’t better served by MiLB teams. I grew up in Chicago, and the minors were just a distant rumor. But considering how frequently affiliations change (Peoria was CA Angels territory until the mid-90′s, Iowa has had 3 or 4 different affiliations, Kane County itself has has 4 different affiliations in its short existence, etc.), and considering how frequently players come and go on/off the MiLB rosters, rooting for the ML affiliate of the local MiLB team seems pretty silly. And I think the idea that changing to a closer-to-Chicago affiliate will drive all those downstate fans into the arms of the Cardinals is pretty preposterous.

          Think about it: if you’re a Cubs fan in Galesburg or Springfield, you’ll persevere through years upon years of crappy ML-level play, but losing the local A-league team is gonna push you into rooting for St Louis? Nonsense.

          1. TWC

            That first line should read:

            Perhaps it is in areas that aren’t better served by ML teams.

            1. Ash

              I don’t think you’d lose any of the current fans, but growing up near Peoria I was able to watch several young players (Grace, Maddux, Palmeiro) and follow them a little closer to home as their careers developed. Not to mention that it was always cool to see a major leaguer in a rehab appearance there. I’m sure during the years that the Chiefs were a Cardinals affiliate, younger fans were excited to watch Pujols, Molina, etc., and may have become Cardinal fans later in life.

              That being said… who cares about that? Having the Kane County Cougars as a Cubs affiliate makes all of the sense in the world. And I will say it now, by then end of next year their attendance will be 40-50% higher. A smart move for both sides.

          2. MWL observer

            Peoria was Angels country until the mid-90s? Not. A. Chance.

            The Angels were the team’s original affiliate for two seasons after the club moved from Danville. They became a Cubs affiliate in 1985 until they left Peoria the first time for Rockford in 1995. Even then there weren’t a whole lot, if any, Angels fans in the area.

            1. TWC

              ::rolls eyes::

              I think it’s pretty clear that the argument I was making was that the local MiLB affiliation has little to do with which ML team that people root for, no? Or you could just respond to a literal interpretation of one fraction of my response and ignore the context. Whichever floats your boat.

    3. joe

      What’s the population of Chicago? What’s the rest of the state?? Riiiiiiiggghhht. MiLB is about fun and baseball. MLB is about $. I used to live in Des Moines and that city is full of Cards fans.

  5. JK

    This sucks! I live ten minutes from O’Brien field.

  6. Dan

    YES! Now I get to actually get to see the Cubs prospects without having to drive very far.

  7. VanSlaw

    Your #3 Related Story is “Carlos Silva Will Begin Rebab Stint in Peoria on Friday.”

    What this means, of course, is that you must hurry up and write another Peoria-related post so that I–and others–may never again stumble upon Carlos Silva’s name when browsing recent news on Bleacher Nation.

    1. bluekoolaidaholic

      Carlos Silva, (sigh), seems like so long ago that we used to care whether we won or not.

  8. wayner21

    This is great. Should be able to see the best prospect-laden infield in the minors next year right here close by to where I live. Vogelbach at 1st, Amaya at 2nd, M. Hernadez at SS, Candelario at 3B. Plus Almora and Dunston in the outfield. Can’t wait!

  9. RicoSanto

    I was hoping they would move to South Bend, but this makes sense.They will draw a ton.

  10. Windy City Misfit

    This sucks … Just sucks.

    I live in Champaign and I am a season ticket holder in Peoria. I can tell you I won’t be next year.

    I used to goto 5-6 Cubs game a year, then the “recession” hit and I had to cut back my baseball habit for a while. I decided I was just going to buy season tickets the Peoria and not waste the gas back and forth to Chicago / Parking / Food / Time and just dealing with Chicago. I have enjoyed watching many games in Peoria, but I still see at least 1 Cub game a year. Now yet again “Chicago” strikes. I swear the city has no clue the rest of the state exists. We would be a red state without that corrupt city and us down south would be happy. I would bet money that this has something to do with the Wrigley renovations. (More money for the Chicago area) Somewhere down the line someone is getting money. Now I have to goto Chicago no matter what .. Cause it isn’t really the end of te world .. no matter how much it sucks for me.

    I will still love my Cubs .. but Chicago just better realize how lucky it is to have the best baseball team in the world and just so happens to be the best city in the world. Just get rid of Illinois politics.

    (I will concede the Cane County facility is better then Obrian field .. )

    1. GO CUBS GO

      I guess I get your point. Living in the suburbs I would love for Peoria to move up here so I could get a chance to watch their prospects grow. Then again the Cubs fans that don’t get the opportunity to go to multiple Cubs games a year due to various reasons such as travel or cost can catch Peoria down in the south. I understand your frustrations but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m happy they are moving here

    2. VanSlaw

      We would be a red state without that corrupt city and us down south would be happy.

      Would it make southern Illinois folk happier than marrying their sisters?

      Cuz nothing says “lack of corruption” more than “red state.”

  11. Gcheezpuff

    Couldn’t be more excited, I live in Batavia and frequent cougar games. My son is only 2 now, but if this ends up being a long agreement he might get to see some future Cubs stars in the making. Best news since signing Theo.

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