Minor League baseball around Chicago

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.

Tours and batting cages

If you’re a die-hard Cubs or Sox fan, make some time this summer
for a tour of Wrigley or U.S. Cellular Field.

U.S. Cellular Tour

333 W. 35th St.
(312) 674-1000
Tours are available weekdays and include the White Sox home
dugout, press box, field, suites and the Stadium Club. Advance
reservations required. For younger children who might find the
75-minute tour too long, the tour staff can provide short visits
that include the field and the dugout. Admission is , kids 13
and under and seniors.

Wrigley Field Tour

1060 W. Addison St., between Clark Street and Seminary
Non-game day tours may include visits to the seating bowl, press
box, bleachers, visitor’s clubhouse, Cubs’ clubhouse, Cubs’ dugout,
as well as a chance to step on the field. On game days, guided
tours may include visits to the seating bowl, press box, bleachers,
indoor batting cage, as well as a chance to step on the field. The
75-90 minute guided tours are conducted rain or shine through
September. Admission is .


Batter up!

Looking to take a few swings yourself? The Hitting Zone
in Bartlett offers hitters a chance, rain or shine, to plunk down a
couple of tokens in their five baseball/softball cages, while
tunnel rentals are available for hitting, fielding and pitching,
according to co-owner Jim Stancl.

“It’s good for entertainment and the athlete looking to get
better,” Stancl says.

Closer to Chicago, the “ping” of a rubber ball hitting an
aluminum bat can still be heard at the legendary Novelty Golf
& Games
in Lincolnwood. It has five batting cages-three
baseball, two slow-pitch softball-where generations have warmed up
for games or stopped in after a round of mini-golf.

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_Ozzie_hug 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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