"The players were like kids in a candy store," Cougars manager Aaron Nieckula said after the game.
Before taking batting practice, the players and coaches had cameras and were taking pictures of everything at Wrigley. The fact that for some of the players this would be the first and only time that they would get to play in a Major League stadium, and in front of a crowd of more than 30,000 (a Midwest League record), was not lost of the players.
|Cougars relievers look on from the Wrigley Field visitor's bullpen.|
Once the crowd began to filter in, some of the players started to get down to the business of getting ready for a ballgame. While for others, it hit them right then just how big this event was going to be, and how many people were actually going to be there.
Before the game, the meeting at home plate between both Chiefs manager and Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and Cougars manager Aaron Nieckula, plus the widow of Harry Carey (Dutchie Carey), and the founder of the Chiefs and friend of the Careys Pete Vonachen was a memorable moment for Nieckula.
When Greg Dowling hit the first home run of the game in a minor league game at Wrigley Field in the second inning, he was "running around the bases on cloud 9, with a huge grin on his face."
Petey Paramore, who had just come to the Cougars from Arizona in the last week said he got goose bumps when they sang 'Take me out to the ballgame.' Dutchie Carey and Pete Vonachen sang it from the field.
Unfortunately in the bottom of the ninth with runners on first and second and one-out, the rains would come. It was a downpour, and after about 30 minutes the game was suspended. It would restart the next day in Peoria. Ultimately, the game would go 12 innings. The Cougars would score two runs in the top of the 12th, but the Chiefs came back with three in the bottom to win the game 9-8.
The only other down point for the Cougars was the injury to Jemile Weeks, the A's top 2008 draft pick. Weeks injured himself in the first inning of the game, exiting with what is being called a hip flexor injury.
The crowd at Wrigley was electric, there was a buzz in the air during most of the game. They shattered the Midwest League attendence record set by the Chiefs and Cougars a couple of years ago at Elfstrom Stadium. They had 32,103 in attendence at Wrigley which more than doubled the old mark.
About the writer
David Malamut has been a season ticket holder of the Cougars for the past 11 years. He has also been writing a daily website about the team for that long at http://malamut.net. David wrote a book about the history of the Cougars in 2005. Baseball In Kane County, Arcadia Publishing.
For daily updates on the Cougars, stats and game stories please go to my website, Voice of A Season Ticket Holder, http://malamut.net.