Cougars plan upgrades for 25th anniversary

With the 25th anniversary of the Cougars coming up next year, new owners Dr. Bob and Cheryl Froehlich wanted to do something special to mark the occasion.

Wednesday, the Cougars announced the 2015 Cougars Capital Improvement Project, which will add numerous new elements to the ballpark that will benefit both fans and players alike.

For the players, a new climate-controlled batting cage with an expanded weight room and state-of-the-art video room will be installed down the third-base concourse. For the fans, a new high-definition video board will be installed in left center field as well as premium seating option behind home plate. The music venue beyond the right-field deck will also be turned into a permanent structure.

“When it really started evolving is the realization that it’s the 25th anniversary,” Dr. Bob Froehlich said. “That’s when we gave it a lot of thought. We thought it would be really cool if we could devise a plan to do something cool for the fans and give something back to the community.”

Already regarded as one of the hallmark minor-league baseball franchises, Froehlich wanted to push the envelope even further.

“We want to make our facility to be viewed as a Class AAA facility in a Class A league, that’s our goal,” Froehlich said.

Cougars manager Mark Johnson continues to be impressed with the level of commitment shown by the franchise.

“It means a lot,” Johnson said. “They’re committed to us. They’re committed to the facilities for player development. It’s great that Dr. Bob and (General Manager Curtis Haug) and everybody else want to make this place as good as it can get. They’re very enthusiastic.”

Olt makes an appearance

With the playoffs starting, the Cougars received a jolt with the arrival Wednesday and Thursday of rehabbing Cubs third baseman Mike Olt.

Recovering from a hamstring injury suffered at Class AAA Iowa, Olt made an immediate impact on the playoff series Wednesday with Wisconsin with a three-run home run in the Cougars’ 7-2 win.

“It was just nice to get back onto the field,” Olt said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Class AA or Class AAA, whatever. (The playoffs) are a different environment. There’s a lot more competitive edge.”

Olt reported no physical issues the day after starting for the Cougars and is hopeful to be back with the Cubs for the weekend series at Wrigley Field against the Cardinals.

He also saw a team hungry to win a Midwest League championship.

“They want to win,” Olt said. “I saw it in the first couple of innings (Wednesday). They have a great desire to win. It’s great to have a group of guys like that.”

Adams takes the fast lane

The Cougars saw their 128th alumnus make his debut in the major leagues when 2012 Midwest League All-Star Lane Adams pinch-ran in Monday’s 4-3 win for Kansas City over Texas.

He joined fellow Royal Aaron Brooks as the second member of the 2012 class of Cougars to reach the show.

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