South Bend Silverhawks named Cubs’ new Class-A affiliate
On Thursday, the uncertainty surrounding the Chicago Cubs’ continued relationship with the Midwest League’s Kane County Cougars ended, as the organization announced a new player development contract with the South Bend Silverhawks, which runs through 2018.
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South Bend quickly emerged as the main competitor to Kane County in terms of landing the Cubs’ Class-A affiliate due to a bevy of ballpark and player facility improvements team owner Andrew Berlin has promised in the offseason. Although Kane County had also promised ballpark improvements as part of a capital investment project, it ultimately wasn’t enough to keep the Cubs at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
"“We are excited to partner with South Bend and look forward to a productive relationship with the team, as well as the entire South Bend community,” Cubs senior vice president Jason McLeod said. “Making the decision to switch minor league affiliates is never an easy one, but we are confident that this agreement will further strengthen our farm system.”"
Kane County won 98 games between the regular season and the playoffs this year, capturing the Midwest League championship. South Bend will undergo an array of changes before the 2015 season, including new names, logos and uniforms at a press event on Sept 25.
"“Today is a turning point,” said Andrew Berlin, owner of the South Bend franchise. “I made a promise to the thousands of people and local government officials who welcomed me with open arms three years ago. I promised that I would return the team to its former glory days. And I promised that I’d do everything I could to bring people back downtown and prove that this is a wonderful place to invest in."
The Silverhawks were most recently an Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate. They are also a member of the Midwest League.