If it’s Memorial Day weekend, there must be baseball in Chicago.
And now there is baseball in Rosemont, courtesy of the Chicago Dogs, the newest addition to the American Association’s independent baseball league. The team’s inaugural home opener at the new $60 million Impact Field stadium was Friday night. (The Dogs officially opened their season May 19 on the road against Sioux Falls).
The ballpark comfortably seats 6,300 fans close-up, and boasts everything from outdoor patios, bleachers and field-level suites to tiered picnic areas and the ultra-chic Stadium Club were you and 249 of your closes friends can be wined and dined ($100 per ticket) by Levy restaurants (the club has already booked its first wedding reception). A kids’ area boasts inflatables and games.
Before Friday night’s opener against the Kansas City T-Bones, Chicago Dogs manager Butch Hobson talked about his new role and the newly formed team.
“I’m just thankful at my age that I’m still in the game,” the 66-year-old Hobson said with a chuckle. His 46-year baseball career includes playing third base for the Boston Red Sox (a team he eventually managed in the early 1990s), and stints with the New York Yankees and the California Angels. He also managed the Kane County Cougars in 2017.
“I’m very flattered and honored they chose me to be the manager for this new team. It’s a beautiful ballpark and a class organization and I’m very excited about this year. … You’re always gonna have butterflies when you’re a new team, opening a new ballpark,” Hobson said during his team’s batting practice in the 90-degree May evening heat. “But you can’t be thinking about that. … We’ve got some Chicago-area players here, but there are players from all over the place, Hawaii, Puerto Rico. It’s always a work in progress because you lose guys to injuries, and guys get signed by organizations. That’s the nature of this game. I have 25 quality young men, which goes a long way for me.”