Manager Butch Hobson saw a lot of positives during the first season of Chicago Dogs baseball.
On the field, the Dogs missed the American Association playoffs with a 45-54 record but recovered from a 9-25 start to go 36-29 the rest of the way. Off the field, the Dogs averaged 2,954 fans (seventh among 12 teams) and made progress toward establishing themselves in a crowded Chicago sports market.
‘‘It was a really, really, really, really successful, good first year,’’ Hobson said.
Hobson personally contributed to the Dogs getting some buzz. His run-ins with umpires went viral twice last month. In one game, he grabbed a base and handed it to a fan. In another, he swung in the batter’s box and slowly trotted around the bases after getting ejected for disputing a call.
Hobson, who said his histrionics weren’t premeditated, seemed to take the added publicity in stride.
‘‘I think we got a lot of recognition, especially when I hit the home run that night,’’ said Hobson, who was suspended four days for the pantomimed homer. ‘‘I don’t know if that’s good recognition, but what the heck? It’s just entertainment, and I fight for my players every day. That’s what I’m going to do.’’
Hobson said he is bullish on the future of the franchise and the business plan created by ownership. He said he tells people that ‘‘Impact Field and the Chicago Dogs are going to be a pretty nice thing to be around’’ over the next few years.
‘‘I believe that most people know who the Chicago Dogs are now,’’ Hobson said. ‘‘I think that’s just going to continue to grow every year. A lot of fan support is by word of mouth: ‘Have you been out to see the Dogs yet? Man, you’ve got to go out there. That ballpark is phenomenal. Those guys do a pretty good job on the baseball field.’ That kind of thing. That’s going to grow.’’
Note: The Red Stars clinched their fourth consecutive National Women’s Soccer League playoff appearance with a 5-0 victory Tuesday against Sky Blue FC.