Updated: Jan 9, 2020
Take Me Out to the Ballgame is a Cubs DNA series where our staff visits other ballparks. Today, Pronk takes you Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva, IL.
Once or twice a summer, I attend Kane County Cougar games at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva IL. It's a 35 minute drive, super cheap, and a nice venue with lots of tasty food. Like most minor league experiences, it's not the same level as going to Wrigley Field. But it is a nice alternative experience that allows you to intake some baseball cheaply and easily.
The Cougars have been a longtime standard in the western suburbs of Chicago. The moved in back in 1991, and were an affiliate for the Baltimore Orioles in 1991-1992, with the Florida Marlins from 1993 to 2002, the Oakland Athletics from 2003 until 2010, the Kansas City Royals for the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and the Chicago Cubs for the 2013 and 2014 seasons before affiliating with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015 to present. They are a class A ballclub.
Since they were a Cubs affiliate for 2 years during the rebuild, a couple big names came through: Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber, Victor Caratini, David Bote, and Albert Almora. A few big name Marlins appeared from earlier years: Dontrelle WIllis, Miguel Cabrera, Josh Beckett, and A.J. Burnett.
Food: NW Medicine field has fantastic food. There are a couple of grills with nice burgers and sandwiches, as well as tasty encased meats. There is a craft beer tent on the 1st base side with a solid assortment of adult beverages. They have my favorite, helmet nachos. All of it solid game food.
Stadium: The stadium is pretty easy to get in and out. Parking is $5 for the normal lot, and it's just a 5 minute walk into the park. The stadium is crisp and modern, and very clean looking. There's something new every year, so I enjoy a pregame lap to see what's out there. They have open grass seating along both baselines, where you can bring a blanket or picnic chair and set up camp. Grass seats are only $5, a bargain for a baseball game. Normal seats range from $10-$25. They do have party boxes as well.
The Cougars always have lots of fun events in game. Lots of fan interaction games, celebrations, and t shirt launches. The one event I won't forget: one postgame they had a helicopter flew over the field and dropped a huge pile of candy in CF. Then all the kids in the stadium were allowed to run to it and gather it up in this chaotic pseudo-easter egg hunt. They also let anyone run the bases after the game. Even me!
After most summer games, they'll also have a postgame fireworks show. Added bonus!
Attending a Cougar's game is an experience I can recommend to all. It's a fun, family friendly way to get some baseball in. Good food, cheap tickets, added fun activities, plenty of bang for the buck. It may not be the show, but that is perfectly fine!