The Unofficial Opening Day

Harry Caray referred to it as the “unofficial opening day“, some refer to it as the “kick-off to spring training“, call it what you want but the bottom line is baseball is just around the corner. The 23rd Annual Cubs Convention officially begins later this afternoon at the Chicago Hilton. Pat Hughes will once again have the honor of introducing the Cubs past, present and future during the Opening Ceremonies before the annual highlight reel from last season fires up the Faithful for the weekend.

Last season is over, let the new year begin….but most importantly, let the winning continue.

The Cubs Convention is the original ‘fan fest’. Every other organization has just borrowed ideas from John McDonough’s original concept….only this year, for the first time the creator will not be in attendance. The excitement, however, should be the same if not more than in previous years after the Cubs winning the Central Division a year ago.

Lou Piniella knows what to expect this year and reports have indicated ‘Sweet Lou’ has dropped a few pounds and is in better shape than last season. So it will be interesting to see how he handles himself this year. Piniella was very candid and often humorous….let’s hope that much has not changed.

The Meet Cubs Management session on Saturday morning should be very interesting as well as other events throughout the day. But with the impending ownership change, Sunday morning’s meeting with Cubs Business Management could be the largest attended session of the weekend.

Not only will there be current and former Cubs in attendance, there will also be representatives from the Iowa Cubs, Tennessee Smokies and Peoria Chiefs. XM Radio will be in attendance and WGN Radio will air shows from time to time on Friday and Saturday, including Sports Central Live with Dave Kaplan on Friday night….plus if the Internet rumors are correct, there could be a surprise, but we will have to wait and see.

The CCO will have daily recaps from all 3 days of the Convention and a big wrap up of the weekend on Monday morning. Pitchers and catchers report to Mesa in just 26 days and Jim Hendry said he still has work to do…..

2008 Cubs Convention Schedule

Friday, January 18th

  • 5:00pm – 5:30pm – Opening Ceremonies
  • 6:00pm – 6:45pm – Autograph Treasure Hunt
  • 7:00pm – 9:00pm – Sports Central Live with Dave Kaplan and Tom Waddle, Broadcast Live on 720 WGN
  • – 7:00pm – 7:30pm – Derrek Lee, Mark DeRosa and Alfonso Soriano
  • – 7:30pm – 8:00pm – Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella
  • – 8:00pm – 8:30pm – Ryan Theriot, Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster
  • – 8:30pm – 9:00pm – Pat Hughes, Ron Santo, Rick Sutcliffe and Glenn Beckert
  • 7:00pm – 8:30pm – Cubs Bingo

Saturday, January 19th

  • 9:00am – 10:00am – WGN Radio’s Meet Cubs Management with Spike O’Dell and Dave Eanet
  • – Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella, Randy Bush and Crane Kenney
  • 9:00am – 10:00am – Injuries, Anatomy and Santo….Oh My!
  • 9:30am – 10:30am – Cubs Jeopardy
  • 10:30am – 11:30am – Vine Line Presents Baseball in Latin America
  • 10:30am – 11:30am – WGN Radio’s Not for Women Only with Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey
  • – Ryan Theriot, Scott Eyre, Matt Murton and Matt Sinatro
  • 11:00am – 12:00pm – Baseball Conditioning Clinic
  • 11:30am – 12:30pm – Lou and His Crew
  • 11:30am – 12:30pm – Hitting Clinic
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm – WGN Radio’s A Day in the Life of a Major Leaguer with John Williams and Cory Provus
  • – Derrek Lee, Rich Hill, Ryan Theriot and Daryle Ward
  • 12:30pm – 1:30pm – Life Is A Minor
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm – Cubs Win, Lose or Draw
  • 1:30pm – 2:30pm – WGN Radio’s Storytelling with Cubs Legends with Steve Cochran
  • – Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Lee Smith and Rick Sutcliffe
  • 2:00pm – 3:00pm – From the Stretch hosted by Len Kasper
  • – Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Rich Hill and Ryan Dempster
  • 2:30pm – 3:30pm – 8/8/88….or the Day After
  • 3:00pm – 4:00pm – For Kids Only Press Conference
  • 3:00pm – 4:00pm – Wheelchair Cubs
  • 3:30pm – 4:30pm – Cubs Forever: Celebrating 60 Years of WGN-TV and the Cubs
  • 4:00pm – 5:00pm – The North Side Mystique
  • 4:30pm – 5:30pm – Pitching Clinic
  • 8:00pm – 12:00am – Rock ‘n Roll Revue

Sunday, January 20th

  • 9:00am – 10:00am – Meet Cubs Business Management
  • 10:30am – 11:30am – Down on the Farm
  • 10:00am – 12:30pm – Baseball Hall of Fame Exhibit

Scheduled Attendees

  • Ernie Banks
  • Glenn Beckert
  • Bob Brenly
  • Bill Buckner
  • Randy Bush
  • Jose Cardenal
  • Tyler Colvin
  • Jody Davis
  • Andre Dawson
  • Ivan DeJesus
  • Ryan Dempster
  • Bob Dernier
  • Mark DeRosa
  • Scott Eyre
  • Oneri Fleita
  • Mike Fontenot
  • Sean Gallagher
  • Kevin Hart
  • Jim Hendry
  • Rich Hill
  • Bobby Howry
  • Pat Hughes
  • Ferguson Jenkins
  • Len Kasper
  • Crane Kenney
  • Dave Kingman
  • Derrek Lee
  • Ted Lilly
  • Bill Madlock
  • Carlos Marmol
  • Sean Marshall
  • Matt Murton
  • Andy Pafko
  • Milt Pappas
  • Gerald Perry
  • Felix Pie
  • Carmen Pignatiello
  • Lou Piniella
  • Mike Quade
  • Rocky Roquet
  • Larry Rothschild
  • Jeff Samardzija
  • Ryne Sandberg
  • Ron Santo
  • Matt Sinatro
  • Dwight Smith
  • Lee Smith
  • Alfonso Soriano
  • Geovany Soto
  • Rick Sutcliffe
  • Tim Stoddard
  • Lester Strode
  • Ryan Theriot
  • Alan Trammell
  • Steve Trout
  • Jerome Walton
  • Daryle Ward
  • Tim Wilken
  • Billy Williams
  • Michael Wuertz
  • Carlos Zambrano

Also, the “Boys of Spring” will premiere during the convention. The film is a documentary by Tim Sheridan and “covers the history of Chicago Cubs Spring Training, from Catalina Island, to the early days in Arizona, to the present day.” Click here for more info from

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt