By TODD WESSELL
Journal & Topics Editor
In the conference room overlooking Impact Field last Wednesday at a time when the new 6,300-seat baseball stadium is taking shape, Shawn Hunter and Butch Hobson stood side-by-side.
Behind them was a large TV screen that was counting down the days to the Chicago Dogs baseball home opener and first game ever on May 25, 2018. The clock read 205 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 18 seconds.
Hunter, an owner of the Dogs, was in the large room with a group of team employees, village of Rosemont officials including Mayor Brad Stephens and members of the media to introduce Hobson as the minor league team’s new manager. Hobson, gray-haired and young looking, said at age 66 he still has passion for the game. He has extensive experience as a Major League player for among other teams the Boston Red Sox where he also managed.
Hunter praised Mayor Stephens for working with him to bring the Dogs, now a member of the American Association of Independent Baseball League, to Rosemont and to build the state-of-the-art stadium. It’s located north of Balmoral Avenue and west of the Tri-State Tollway.
Hunter explained that his search for a new manager took six months. He wanted someone with experience and character who would breathe life into the game in Rosemont. He added that he found that in Hobson.
“I’ve been in the game for 46 years,” explained Hobson. “This is a spectacular place, beautiful and awesome. We’re building the team from scratch. We will win the league championship in 2018,” adding that he stresses hustling by his players.
“We’re all going to be a family,” Hobson said. He added that the league will feature some players who have had Major League experience with the team competing at a “high AA level.”
“I’m a very good motivator,” Hobson continued, explaining that in college he played for Bear Bryant’s football team at the University of Alabama.
“We want to be the desired place here where it’s happening,” referring to Rosemont.