In homes across the area, spring means baseball, the season when hope, once again, springs eternal. Fortunately, a day at the ballpark doesn’t have to mean major league prices. The Chicago area has a slew of minor league baseball teams just waiting to show off America’s pastime with added fun to boot.
Kane County Cougars
Stadium: Elfstrom Stadium, Geneva; Opens 2 hours prior to game time. Free parking. Stroller friendly
Affiliation: Class A affiliate of the Oakland A’s
Tickets: Box seats ($12), Reserved seats ($10), Lawn seats ($8). Free kids 1 and under unless they need their own seat.
Eats: Ballpark standards plus Mexican food and a famous Pork Chop Sandwich.
Kids will love: Ozzie’s Kidzone includes an Obstacle Course, Bounce/Moon Walk, Giant Climb-N-Slide and Speed Pitch. Pre-game autograph sessions Saturday and Sunday home games, 33 fireworks shows choreographed to music, post-game Run-the-Bases and appearances by Myron Noodleman, The Zooperstars and Jake the Diamond Dog. Peanut Free Night July 16. See Web site for scheduling.
Contact: 34W002 Cherry Lane, Geneva, (630) 232-8811www.kccougars.com
Stadium: Silver Cross Field, Joliet; Gates open one hour prior to game time. Free parking in surrounding city lots.
Affiliation: Independent Northern League
Mascot: Jammer, plus Champ, the official team dog.
Tickets: Box seats ($10), Reserved seats ($7), G.A./Lawn Seats ($5).
Eats: Ballpark standards plus Homeplate Grille.
Kids will love: Home game specials include post-game autograph sessions on the field (Sundays); Family Nights early start-time and post-game Run-the-Bases (Tuesdays); Post-game tennis ball toss (Wednesdays); Fireworks Night (Fridays). See Web site for additional entertainment. Jammer’s Book Buddies.
Contact: 1 Mayor Art Schultz Drive, Joliet, (815) 726-BALL, www.jackhammerbaseball.com
Stadium: Alexian Field, Schaumburg; Opens 1 hour 20 minutes prior to game time. Free parking. Stroller friendly.
Tickets: Reserved Club ($11), Reserved ($10), Lawn/Bleacher ($5). Free kids 1 and under.
Eats: Ballpark standards plus the Schaumburg Club, a sit-down, buffet style restaurant on the Suite Level.
Kids will love: Speed Pitch. Sundays are Family Days with face painters, balloon entertainers and Run-the-Bases after the game. Bearon’s Kids Club.
Contact: 1999 Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg, (847) 891-2255, www.flyersbaseball.com
Windy City Thunderbolts
Stadium: Standard Bank Stadium, Crestwood; Gates open 1 hour prior to game time. Parking $2 per vehicle. Stroller friendly.
Affiliation: Frontier League, 2007 Champions
Tickets: Lower deck box seat ($8). Upper deck box seat ($7). Families of three or more will get $2 off the regular price of each lower deck ticket at the box office for all Sunday home games.
Eats: Ballpark standards. $1 sodas on Thursdays and Fridays.
Kids will love: Speed Pitch. Bounce House. New batting practice "air tee." Sundays are Family Days with autograph sessions after the game. Run-the-Bases after every game except Fireworks nights. See Web site for schedule. Boomer’s Buddies Kids Club.
Contact: 14011 S. Kenton Ave, Crestwood, (708) 489-BALL, www.wcthunderbolts.com
Gary Southshore Railcats
Stadium: U. S. Steel Yard; Gates open 1 hour prior to game time.
Affiliation: Independent Northern League, 2007 Champions
Mascot: Rusty the Rail Cat
Tickets: Box ($10), Reserved ($9). $1 discount for kids ages 3-13. Outfield Terrace ($7). Free kids 2 and under.
Eats: Ballpark standards plus Bennigan’s Casual Dining restaurant.
Kids will love: Kidz Zone playground area for children only. Autograph sessions with player picture packs before Tuesday home games. Run-the-Bases after Sunday home games. RailKids Club.
Contact: One Stadium Plaza, Gary, Ind., (219) 882-2255, www.railcatsbaseball.com
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