Say It Ain't So: Cubs Leaving Kane County Cougars

Say It Ain’t So: Cubs Leaving Kane County Cougars

Well, here comes (more) bad news for Cubs fans, in particular those from Kane County.

As Cubs fans, we’re used to bad news. “Wait ’til next year” is not only our mantra, it’s a way of life for generations. Now, we can’t even do that (wait ’til next year) for the most-local arm of the franchise, because the Cubs Class A team is moving to South Bend, IN.

Multiple media sources said Tuesday that the Cubs have signed up with South Bend as their Class A affiliate, leaving in the dust the Kane County Cougars and the local connection to a Major League team with high hopes of rebuilding through its farm system.

The Cougars were affiliated with the Cubs since 2013. And this past season has been nothing short of glorious, with the Cougars tallying a 98-win season and winning the equivalent of the World Series, the Midwest League Championship, for the first time since 2001

The story from is hard for local Cubs fans to read, just because of the joy in Mudville.

“Today is a turning point,” said Andrew Berlin, owner of the Silver Hawks, in the SNDU story. “I made a promise to the local community and government officials who welcomed me with open arms three years ago. I promised that I would return the team to its former glory days. And I promised that I’d do everything I could to bring people back to South Bend and prove that this is a wonderful place to invest in.”

From the outside looking in, it appears the Cougars did everything they could to keep the Cubs in town, including a Capital Improvement Project that will add numerous elements to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark to be enjoyed by players, coaches and fans. The Cougars will be constructing a new batting cage built to the Cubs specifications, complete with two hitting tunnels. A new, high-definition videoboard and premium season are part of the package, as well.

Led by Midwest League Manager of the Year Mark Johnson, the Cougars won 91 games during the regular season, which leads both Major League and Minor League baseball and set a franchise record.

A total of 421,971 fans attended Cougars games in 2014. The Cougars’ regular season attendance total of 415,571 fans was the 23rd highest in Minor League Baseball and placed the Cougars, a Class-A team, above nearly every other Class-A or Double-A club and among several of the top Triple-A teams.

Only three other Minor League Baseball teams in the past decade have won more overall games than the Cougars did in 2014, with 98 total wins.

According to the Daily Herald, a news conference to make the formal announcement has been called for a week from today in South Bend. South Bend apparently is planning to change its team name from the Silver Hawks to the Cubs.

Where the Cougars will go from here is unknown at the time of this writing. The website says Kane County and Beloit presently are not attached to MLB teams.


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