Chicago Dogs Provide Winning Experience for Fans, Despite Losing Games

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The Chicago Dogs lost the first home game in franchise history Friday night, and they got swept in their inaugural home series, but they certainly won over thousands of hearts and minds. The Dogs were defeated by the Kansas City T-Bones 8-4 in their inaugural home opener at Impact Field in a manner that  the late great Earl Weaver would have loved.

The Baltimore Orioles legend believed in winning with “pitching, defense, and the three run homer,” and that’s the formula K.C. used to win opening night at $60 million, 6,300-seat stadium in the village of Rosemont. The ballpark setup is reminiscent of the New York Mets’ old Shea Stadium (near LaGuardia Airport) with commercial jet liners consistently flying low over the ballpark (O’Hare international airport is adjacent).

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Chicago closer Kaohi Downing, with his team up 4-2, surrendered a three-run home run to Angel Rosa in the ninth inning, putting Kansas City up 5-4. Jordan Walters then launched his second home run of the night, another three-run blast to put the T-Bones to provide the final margin of 8-4.  

With this loss, the Dogs fell to just 1-6 on the young season (they lost again Saturday and Sunday to drop to 1-8!), but they still provided a winning experience for the sold out crowd in attendance.

chicago dogs

Manager Butch Hobson, who led the Boston Red Sox from 1992-1994, has a whole lot of work to do yet with this bunch.  

Game result aside, everything else fell into place for the new American Association of Independent Professional Baseball minor league franchise. The home opener’s timing could not have been any better- the Friday night of the long holiday weekend that kicks off summer.

Even the weather perfectly cooperated, which was a pleasant surprise, given the brutal spring that Chicagoland experienced. On opening night, the Chicago Dogs hit a grand slam when it comes to providing a memorable outing for the fans. With all sports teams, but especially so with minor league baseball, it’s all about “the brand.”

It’s a word that must non-business school types aren’t fond of hearing, but “the brand” is best defined by the emotional connections to consuming the product. (Us business school types aren’t big fans of this term either).

The Dogs made memories for their fans right off the bat. You know the rules about Chicago Dogs, #NoKetchup and during the pregame ceremonies, a ketchup mascot was “chased out” of the stadium by “security.”

You can watch the entire episode below:

That is exactly what minor league baseball is all about- the zany promotions and memorable gimmicks. In the very crowded marketplace that is baseball in America, especially the minor leagues (and even more so unaffiliated baseball), you have to find a way to stand out, and then make memories that long remain with the consumer.

The Chicago Dogs provided commemorative tickets as keepsakes for fans as they exited the park.

impact field

Baseball, hot dogs, postgame fireworks on a patriotic holiday weekend- all in all, it was a great start for Chicagoland’s newest baseball franchise.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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