Another season of Peoria Chiefs baseball is upon us.
This will be the 20th opening night for Chiefs President Rocky Vonachen.
"You still get excited, you still get a little nervous," Vonachen tells 1470 & 100.3 WMBD. "But, opening day is a great day we all look forward to it. Especially with the Cardinals coming back."
The St. Louis Cardinals are back to being the Chiefs' major league parent club. The Chiefs were affiliated with the Chicago Cubs since 2005 but the Cubs decided to move their Class-A Midwest League affiliation to Kane County after last season.
"If everybody who has come up to me and told me they're excited about the Cardinals being here and they're going to come to a ballgame shows up," Vonachen says, "we're going to have a fantastic year."
Minor league baseball clubs are as good as the parent team's farm system, and Vonachen says the Cardinals have a good one.
"They were rated number one in all of major league baseball last year," Vonachen says. "You look at the major league club they don't make a lot of changes...they just bring somebody up."
"Chris Carpenter goes down and they just fill his spot with someone from the minor league system," Vonachen continues. "If (the Chiefs) would have stayed with (the Cardinals), there would have been 18 Cardinals to have come through Peoria."
Being affiliated with the Cardinals also means some changes to Peoria Chiefs Stadium.
"You're definitely going to see more red around the ballpark," explains Vonachen, "in the uniforms and on the facility itself."
Vonachen says there are changes in the concessions stands, too.
"We have a new Craft Beer stand and some new concession items," Vonachen says, "including loaded hot dogs on pretzel buns which are very, very good."
Game time is 6:30 p.m. Thursday and there will be a post-game fireworks display.