The Kane County Cougars Open on Thursday, April 4 - Check 'Em Out

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The Kane County Cougars Open on Thursday, April 4 – Check ‘Em Out

Chicago Cubs

Kccougars-Bleacher-Nation-ad[The following post is sponsored by the Kane County Cougars, a minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, which necessarily makes them awesome.]

In case you’d somehow forgotten, the Chicago Cubs have brought their A-ball affiliate quite a bit closer to Chicago. Formerly in Peoria, Illinois, the Cubs have re-affiliated with the Kane County Cougars, who are in Geneva, Illinois.

That means, if you want to check out some of the Cubs’ top young prospects, they’re just about 50 minutes west of downtown Chicago.

So, if you’re taking in a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, you’re just a modest jaunt away from also taking in some Kane County action, as illustrated in this professionally enhanced map:

Among the prospects you’re likely to be able to see at Kane County this year, at varying times: Albert Almora, Dan Vogelbach, Marco Hernandez, Gioskar Amaya, Jeimer Candelario, Pierce Johnson, Juan Carlos Paniagua, and many more. Seriously, the team is going to be stacked.

(As a general aside, applicable in this context to the Cougars, specifically: minor league baseball games are freaking awesome. They are fun, intimate, cost-effective, and you get to see the prospects you’ve been typing about for months. You should take in as many minor league games as you can, wherever you are in the country.)

The Cougars have been in Kane County for more than 20 years, and have been home to dozens of big leaguers, including some of the biggest stars in baseball. Recognize this guy?

Yeah, that’s Triple Crown Winner and MVP Miguel Cabrera. Or how about this young right-hander?

That would be former Cub Ryan Dempster. They grow up so fast …

A little more on the Cougars and their history:

It was 1991 and the baseball season was approaching when the Kane County Cougars shocked the Minor League community by moving their franchise from quiet Wausau, Wisconsin into the shadow of two Major League teams in Chicago. Could a struggling franchise revive itself by operating within shouting distance of the Cubs and White Sox? Would Cougar fans display support in this new environment? Throughout the years, the statistics have spoken a truth, which reveals a team revived, with their loyal fans ever present.

As an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, the Cougars continue to set a standard of excellence, both on and off the field. In 2013, the Cougars are expecting to welcome their 10 millionth fan in franchise history, and have routinely been one of the top draws throughout Minor League Baseball, while providing the best in affordable and family-friendly fun throughout Chicagoland.

Did you know that the Cougars have sent more than 100 players to the Major Leagues? The list includes Rookie of the Year award winners, World Series champions and even Olympians! Get your tickets now to see the future stars of the big leagues today!

Cougars Affiliates

Baltimore Orioles (1991-92): 129 Wins 143 Losses 1 Tie (.473)

Florida Marlins (1993-2002): 723 Wins 655 Losses (.525)

Oakland Athletics (2003-2010): 591 Wins 520 Losses (.532)

Kansas City Royals (2011 – 2012): 133 Wins 146 Losses (.477)

Chicago Cubs (2013 – )

Total Franchise Record: 1576 – 1464 – 1 (.518)

The confluence of the Chicago Cubs’ rebuilding process, the front office emphasizing internal development, and the relocation of the A-ball affiliation to Kane County couldn’t be more fortuitous for the Cubs or for Cubs fans. Front office staff can easily skip over to Geneva to check out the Cougars, even on a Cubs game day. Fans in the Chicago area – and anyone in town to see the Cubs – can do the same. That’s something we haven’t been able to say before, and it’s a pretty special development. I have a feeling that the relationship between the Cubs, the Cougars, and Cubs fans is going to grow pretty strong over the coming years.

So, get in on the ground floor, and start checking out those future Cubs. Minor league games are a blast, and they are a way to get very close to the action – all in an affordable, family-friendly environment. The Cougars should be mighty good this year, and, if nothing else, you can start pulling right away for a team with playoff aspirations!

You can get Kane County tickets here. You should also make sure to check out the Cougars’ MiLB page here, and their blog here. Thanks to the Cougars for sponsoring this post, and here’s to a great first season as part of the Chicago Cubs organization.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.