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KC Cougars

Cougars: Minor League Baseball, like MLB, delays start of season due to COVID-19 concerns

Kane County Cougars players, coaches and staff line up for the National Anthem during the first home game played at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva on April 13.
Kane County Cougars players, coaches and staff line up for the National Anthem during the first home game played at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva on April 13.

GENEVA – The Kane County Cougars provided details on Monday regarding ticket purchases, and other areas of interest for fans in the wake of COVID-19 delaying the start of the minor league baseball season.

The Cougars, the Arizona Diamondbacks Class Low-A affiliate, were scheduled to play their home opener on April 9 against Cedar Rapids. It would have been the start of a six-game home stand through April 15.

Major League Baseball announced earlier on Monday that the start of the major league season will be pushed back even further than its original two-week delay, indicating minor league baseball will soon follow suit.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended on Sunday that events or gatherings of 50 people or more be either canceled or postponed for eight weeks, lining up the possible start of both the major and minor league seasons for approximately mid-May at present.

For fans that have bought tickets or booked an event for the at-present affected games in the timeframe of April and likely first few weeks of May, they will be able to exchange those tickets for a future game later in the season, per Cougars Vice President and General Manager Curtis Haug.

"It'd be like a rainout. If the game were rained out, fans would be able to exchange those tickets for any other future game," Haug said to the Chronicle on March 16. "That's the same policy we have with this."

"As far as the events go, we're looking to re-schedule them later in the season, whether it's corporate or social whatever it might be," Haug continued. "We're just looking to re-schedule them in June, July or Aug; somewhere in there to accommodate them."

Haug recommended fans call the Cougars' box office for those exchanges and inquiries.

Haug says the Cougars are also going to take extra steps, once games begin, with providing more hand sanitizing stations and disinfectant wipes for fans to use throughout the ballpark.

Those measures are something the organization has already done in seasons past for hand sanitizer and sun screen, which is in dispensers throughout Northwestern Medicine Field.

"We're going to provide more," Haug said. "We're obviously going to be a little more cautious about making sure that people wash [and] clean every nook and cranny of the ballpark."

"We take the utmost pride in providing a clean, safe and secure environment, and we've always done that," Haug said. "It's not just [coinciding with] this issue with the Coronavirus going on. We've always had that mindset when it comes to the ballpark."

With Spring Training canceled, the Cougars and players across the major and minor leagues are in the process of deciding their next steps.

"The guys are given a choice really, from what I hear, that they can stay down in Arizona and do their thing or they can go back home," Haug said.

The Diamondbacks' Spring Training facility is in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"I'm sure it'll be a combination of some will stay in Arizona, some will go home,: Haug said. "But, they're all being encouraged to stay in shape so when Major League Baseball gets the all-clear, that they're ready to go."

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