Being one of the younger teams in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball (AAIPB), the Chicago Dogs are ready to take the field and get back to baseball at Impact Field.
Though the team was originally slated to be based at the Milwaukee hub for the season, Illinois’s Phase 4 opening allows the team to play their home games in Chicago, following local and national health and safety regulations. You can read more about the steps the Dogs are taking here.
Justin Goossen-Brown, a right-handed pitcher, re-signed with the Dogs in mid-June. Goossen-Brown first joined the Dogs around the mid-season point during the 2019 season, where he appeared in 14 games. He boasts a 2.72 ERA for his first season, which included eight scoreless appearances. In his first appearance with the team, Goossen-Brown pitched through extra innings in a 15-inning battle against the St. Paul Saints on August 24.
I got to chat with Justin earlier in the year, and you can read it here.
K.C. Hobson, a veteran left-handed first baseman, joins the Dogs this summer. This will be Hobson’s first season in the American Association; though he has played 10 professional seasons before entering this summer. He spent the majority of the last four seasons playing for Atlantic League’s Lancaster Barnstormers – hitting 19 home runs and racking up 66 RBI in the 2019 season.
A name that most Chicago baseball fans, especially Cubs fans, will be Eddie Butler. Butler was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft, and the Colorado Rockies in the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft. Butler played for the Cubs in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, where he had an overall 3-4 record with 21 appearances.
The Dogs welcome back left-handed pitcher Jake Dahlberg, infielder Edwin Arroyo, and outfielders Tony Roselli and Victor Roache – among many other familiar faces. The team also inked deals with outfielder Michael Crouse and infielder Mitch Glasser, a Chicago native.
An honorable mention has to go to Keon Barnum, the league MVP last season, and was the single-season home run champion. Barnum was a 2012 Chicago White Sox first-round draft pick. After signing with the Sox, he rose to the Double-A level in 2016, with the Birmingham Barons. After a difficult 2018 campaign, he signed with the Dogs in 2019. During his time with the Dogs, Barnum led the team with a .311 batting average, and hit 31 home runs – the most in league history. Barnum, affectionately called “King Keon,” earned the Independent Baseball Player of the Year title from Baseball America. Keon signed with the Washington Nationals during the offseason.
The promotions schedule was released on June 30th, and includes new aspects to previous promotional nights. Theme nights for Saturday games include Star Wars and Jimmy Buffett – the two I think I’m most excited for. Not to mention Opening Night features a Mike Ditka bobblehead! Da Coach will be memorialized in his iconic sweater vest and mustache. Follow the Dogs on Instagram and Twitter to follow along this season!
The Dogs opened the season on Friday, July 3 in Milwaukee against the Milwaukee Milkmen, clinching the first win of the season with a final score of 2-1. It was quick and scoreless first two innings, until outfielder Tony Roselli hit a solo home run to left field. Michael Crouse singled, and later stole third, then scored on a throwing error. It was calm until the bottom of the ninth, when Milkmen catcher Logan Trowbridge doubles into deep left field, plating second baseman Dylan Tice.
Player of the game: recognition goes to Eric Stout, Chicago’s southpaw starter. Stout went 5.0 IP and got the win. Jaime Callahan gets the save. Roselli gets play of game with his third inning homer.
Next Tuesday, July 7, is the home opener at Impact Field in Rosemont, IL, with the Dogs hosting the Milkmen for a three-game series. I’m excited to see the boys in baby blue on the field again this summer!