Christopher Kulka of Aurora looks through the Cougars 2013 schedule as he waits to buy tickets at the stadium on the first day of sales on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Kulka said he has been coming to the stadium for opening day for 12 years. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 22, 2012 6:34AM
GENEVA — You’d have to get up really early to beat out William Taylor for the first spot in line to buy 2013 Kane County Cougars tickets Saturday morning. In fact, you wouldn’t be able to go to bed at all.
The Hoffman Estates resident parked in front of the ticket office at Fifth Third Bank Park at 11:10 p.m. Friday to get ahead of the crowds he expected this year because the Class A minor league team switched its affiliation to the Chicago Cubs.
“I didn’t know if there would be a line with 10,000 people in it by morning, so I decided to not take any chances,” Taylor said. “I’ve been doing this almost since the Cougars started playing in 1991, but usually I arrive sometime between midnight and 2 a.m.”
After spending the night drowsing in his car, with a few strolls around the parking lot to stretch his legs, Taylor waited until his brother John arrived at 7 a.m., just as the office doors opened, so that they could go up to the Super Suite together and wait out the last two hours before the sale started over coffee, doughnuts and ESPN.
“This is the part I find fun,” John Taylor said. “Bill enjoys being out here all night, but I like my sleep too much.”
And although that 10,000-fan crowd didn’t materialize — only 26 people were in line at 7 a.m., reported Cougars spokesman Sean Touney — Taylor said that being able to get exactly the seats he, his brother and his sister-in-law Karen want for the 11 weekend games they’ll attend next season was worth the 10-hour wait.
“We like sitting on the aisle in the reserved section on Fridays or Saturdays when they have fireworks after the game. You can’t just walk in on game day and expect to find those seats open,” he noted. “We’ll also come out to games sometimes during the week, when the weather’s nice and we feel like it, but then it’s easier to get good seats when we get there.”
When asked if the Cougars might get infected with the infamous “Cubs Curse” that — according to superstition — has kept the major league team from winning the World Series since 1908, Taylor replied, “No, definitely not. At least, I hope not. … Now I’m getting scared.”
St. Charles resident Gloria Powers, who arrived at 7 a.m. to get the 20th spot in line, scoffed at fears of the “Curse.”
“That won’t stop the Cougars from winning,” she said. “In fact, getting the Cougars is going to turn things around for the Cubs. Frankly, I’m surprised more Cubs fans aren’t out here getting Cougars tickets. I expected a really big crowd because of the new affiliation.”
Not that she’d trade her family’s six games’ worth of tickets for six trips to Wrigley Field. “These games are so much fun for the price,” she said. “Everything’s relaxed and friendly. Sometimes you can even talk with the players.”
Glendale Heights resident Sue Frew — No. 17 in line — couldn’t agree more.
“We sit right behind the dugout when we come here. My twin boys always ask the players for (used) game balls at the end, and at almost every game a player will give a ball to at least one of them,” Frew stated. “They love coming here. They’d be here right now enjoying the ticket party, except that they’re playing in a playoff game themselves this morning.”
She added, “I’m not afraid of the ‘Cubs Curse’ coming to Kane County, but my boys are — at least a little bit.”
Like Opening Day
Touney said the Cougars have always welcomed early-bird ticket-seekers with free coffee and doughnuts, a warm and comfortable waiting area, free or discounted souvenirs and raffles for premium seats or skybox suites.
“In a way, this is Opening Day for the next season because we’re bringing in the fans to share the fun of getting ready for it,” he said. “When fans come here in the predawn hours to get game tickets, we really appreciate that show of support.”
While the Perkins family of Aurora always arrives before dawn to make sure they can get their favorite seats for the Fourth of July game and fireworks, this year they’ve added tickets to the Cougars’ 2013 home opener April 4.
“I’m really looking forward to Opening Day,” said 14-year-old Adam Perkins. “It’s going to be so cool being at the first game of the season.”
He added that being able to claim the third spot in line with his father, Bob Perkins, was well worth arriving at 5 a.m. “It’s kind of a tradition for us. We’ve done it the last seven or eight years,” he said. “My dad and I just sit in the car and watch videos on our phones until the doors open.”
What about the Curse? “It won’t happen here,” Adam declared. “That’s only in Chicago.”