The Chicago Dogs, the metropolitan area’s newest professional, independent league baseball team, will open their inaugural season May 18 at Sioux Falls. The team, managed by former Boston Red Sox skipper Butch Hobson, opens its home slate on Memorial Day weekend.
The Dogs, beginning with Friday night May 25 against the Kansas City T-Bones, will play 50 home games between Memorial Day and Labor Day at the brand new, state-of-the-art Impact Field in Rosemont.
We had an exclusive chat with Butch Hobson, on the eve of the team’s spring training, where we discussed all things Chicago Dogs as well as a few other topics, including his Boston Red Sox and Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Dogs began spring training today, after holding an open house for fans yesterday. Impact Field, which will include the second ever Wiener’s Circle location (doing a great job of staying on brand with the hot dog theme), is located adjacent to I-294, right by O’Hare International Airport.
Hobson said during our exclusive that the ballpark setup kind of reminds him of the New York Mets’ old Shea Stadium (near LaGuardia Airport) with the jets flying off.
Butch Hobson on the Chicago Dogs Team
We asked him who are some of the players to keep an eye on, who might become fan favorites this season and he first mentioned Kyle Gaedelle, a local product of Arlington Heights who made it all the up to AA ball: “big tall strong centerfielder that can run,” said Hobson.
“Joe Benson had a little big league time with the Twins,” Hobson added. Then there’s a name that’s very familiar to Cubs fans- Shawon Dunston Jr.
Said Hobson of Dunston the Younger: “had a lot of injuries in his career, never really had a chance to put it all together.”
Hobson laid out the objectives as such: “Our number one job as a staff is to get these guys back to an organization. You learn something new about this game every day that’s how I approach it, it’s how I always approached it.”
Butch Hobson is quite familiar with Chicagoland, because he who used to visit suburban Glen Ellyn regularly, as he has family there. He even has an uncle that worked in the Sears Tower.
“It’s one of my favorite cities that I’ve ever been in, I used to love coming to Chicago as a player and as a manager,” he said.
Butch Hobson on the Chicago Dogs Jerseys
The Chicago Dogs uniforms feature the colors and stars of the iconic Chicago flag with jersey numbers inspired by the iconic Chicago food item that the team is named after.
“I think they did a great job on the design, and the material, it’s a light weight that the players like,” said Butch Hobson.
“That power blue is awesome, they did a wonderful job with the uniforms.”
The powder blue reminds the baseball observer of the 1980s, and the Dogs uniforms are reminiscent of the 1985 National League Champions St. Louis Cardinals.
Remember them? (Joaquin Andujar, John Tudor, Willie McGee, Ozzie Smith, Bob Forsch, Tommy Herr. Vince Coleman, George Hendricks, Jack Clark etc.
In addition to managing the Red Sox, Hobson also played for them (1975-1980). He also grew up a Red Sox fan, and considers himself a Red Sox overall.
“Have to say yes definitely, I grew up with the Red Sox and I’m definitely a Red Sox.”
He also played one season for the arch rival New York Yankees.
“I think if I had been traded directly to the Red Sox from the Yankees it would have been more difficult coming back to Boston, but I was traded to the Angels first and then the Yankees.”
Full Audio with Butch Hobson Part 1 Below:
Full Audio with Butch Hobson Part 2 Below:
Hobson, a Tuscaloosa, Alabama native, will graduate in December at the age of 67 with a Bachelor’s Degree. He’s an Alabama boy through and through as his dad lived on campus. Butch Hobson also played backup quarterback at Alabama under legendary coach Bear Bryant.
We asked him his thoughts on this year’s Crimson Tide.
“They will be up at the top and then you never know when you get to the playoffs, who’s going to be hot and who’s going to be not,” he answered. “They will be a team to be reckoned with.”
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.
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