StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11484928606188.jpg’, ‘Photo by Doug Halberstadt’, ‘Grounds crew prepare the Rockford RiverHawks new home field for their home opener May 31.’);
Danica Patrick to attend July 18 game; World Series trophy at May 31 home opener
The Rockford RiverHawks begin their 2006 season today (Wednesday, May 24). They open on the road against Western Division rival Windy City Thunderbolts.
First pitch of the new season will be thrown at 11:35 a.m. Fans in the Rockford area can listen to home and away games on The Hub, WRHL 102.3 FM, or receive the streaming audio via the Web at WRHL.net.
The RiverHawks first six games are away from their newly-built ballpark. Their series with the Thunderbolts continues Thursday and Friday with games at 7:05 p.m. both evenings. They move from Windy City (Crestwood, Ill.) to River City (OFallon, Mo.) for a three-game weekend series against the Rascals.
Rockfords first chance to play at home is Wednesday, May 31. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The new park is at 4503 Interstate Blvd., Loves Park. The White Soxs World Series Trophy will be at the stadium for part of the opening day festivities.
J.D. Arndt will manage the 2006 RiverHawks. Arndt was the teams hitting coach the four previous seasons. His team will include returning players Rico Santana and Nick Johnson in the outfield. He will have an entirely new infield this year. His on-field leader will be returning catcher Gooby Gerlits.
According to team General Manager Josh Olerud: The pitching staff will carry us this year. We will rely heavily on the arms of veteran starters Derek Roper and Joe Barbosa.
One of the highlights on the teams schedule this season is a visit from former Roscoe resident and Indy Racing League 2005 Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick. She is slated to be at the game Tuesday, July 18 against the Gateway Grizzlies.
Fans can purchase season tickets or individual game tickets by calling the RiverHawks at 964-BALL (2255).
Doug Halberstadt is a local resident and is track announcer at Rockford Speedway. He can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the May 24-30, 2006, issue