The Unofficial Opening Day … It’s Time for the Cubs Convention

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 27th Annual Cubs Convention officially begins this afternoon at the Hilton Chicago. Pat Hughes will once again have the honor of introducing the Cubs past, present and future during the Opening Ceremonies but this convention will be a little bit different than previous years.

Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the Cubs new regime will get their first real taste of the fan base over the next three days … as will the new players the Cubs have acquired and several of the organizations top prospects. The Cubs Convention is the original ‘fan fest’. Every other organization has just borrowed ideas from John McDonough’s original concept. And for those that have never attended a Cubs Convention, words cannot truly describe the event.

The annual ‘this is the year‘ optimism will be absent from this year’s convention. Instead of hearing promises about possibly winning some series of games in October, those in attendance will be able to listen to Epstein and Hoyer’s plan on how they are going to build the Chicago Cubs into an organization with sustained success … and might even learn what the ‘Cubs Way’ actually is.

Dale Sveum and a majority of his coaching staff will be on hand as well. Sveum and the coaches will have a chance to explain how they plan to get the most out of Epstein and Hoyer’s roster.

The most popular session of the weekend should be ‘Behind the Scenes with Theo Epstein‘ on Saturday morning. The first session of the day will be hosted by Len Kasper. After the hour with Epstein, ‘The Meet Cubs Baseball Management‘ should be interesting as well with Jed Hoyer, Randy Bush and Dale Sveum fielding questions about the current team.

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. WGN Radio will air shows from time to time on Friday and Saturday, including Sports Night Live with Dave Kaplan on Friday night.

The CCO will have daily recaps from all three days of the Convention … plus I will be tweeting as much info as I can. So if you are not following the CCO on Twitter, now is the time … Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

2012 Cubs Convention Schedule

Friday, January 13

  • 5:00pm – 5:30pm – Opening Ceremonies
  • 6:00pm – 6:45pm – Autograph Treasure Hunt
  • 7:00pm – 9:00pm – Sports Night Live with Dave Kaplan, Andrea Darlas and Brian Noonan … the two hour show will be simulcast on 720 WGN
  • - 7:00pm – 7:45pm – Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer
  • - 8:00pm – 8:30pm – Dale Sveum, Chris Bosio and Rudy Jaramillo
  • - 8:30pm – 9:00pm – Bob Brenly, Todd Hollandsworth and Bill Madlock
  • 7:00pm – 8:30pm – Cubs Bingo

Saturday, January 14

  • 9:00am – 10:00am – Behind the Scenes with Theo Epstein – hosted by Len Kasper
  • 10:00am – 11:00am – Meet Cubs Baseball Management – hosted by WGN’s Dave Eanet – featuring Jed Hoyer, Randy Bush, and Dale Sveum
  • 10:30am – 11:30am – Player Development: From the Dominican Republic to Mesa – featuring Starlin Castro, Welington Castillo and Jeff Samardzija
  • 11:00am – 12:00pm – From the Field to the Booth – featuring Bob Brenly, Gary Matthews, Todd Hollandsworth, Keith Moreland, Rick Sutcliffe and Dave Otto
  • 11:30am – 12:30pm – For Kids Only Press Conference – featuring Darwin Barney, Tony Campana, Reed Johnson, Todd Walker and David DeJesus
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm – Ron Santo: Beyond the Game – featuring Pat Hughes, the Santo family, Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundley and Billy Williams
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm – Coaches Den – hosted by Bob Brenly featuring Dale Sveum, Jamie Quirk, Chris Bosio, Dave McKay, Rudy Jaramillo and Lester Strode
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm – Outside the Foul Lines – hosted by WGN’s Garry Maier and Bill Laff – featuring Tony Campana, Ryan Dempster, Geovany Soto and Randy Wells
  • 2:00pm – 3:00pm – The Ricketts Family Forum – featuring Tom, Todd, Laura and Pete Ricketts
  • 2:30pm – 3:30pm – When Super Fans Unite – hosted by WGN’s Jonathan Brandmeier and Steve Bertrand – featuring Bobby Dernier, Gary Matthews, Lee Smith and Keith Moreland
  • 2:30pm – 3:30pm – The Scouting Formula – featuring Jason McLeod, Oneri Fleita, Tim Wilken and Joe Bohringer
  • 3:30pm – 4:30pm – Meet Cubs Business Management – featuring Crane Kenney, Wally Hayward, Mike Lufrano, Carl Rice, Colin Faulkner, Alex Sugarman and Jahaan Blake
  • 4:00pm – 6:50pm – Saturday Sports Night – hosted by Jim Memolo and Glen Kozlowski simulcast on 720 WGN
  • - 4:00pm – 4:30pm – David DeJesus, Ian Stewart, Travis Wood and Chris Volstad
  • - 4:30pm – 5:00pm – Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger
  • - 5:00pm – 5:30pm – Casey Coleman and James Russell
  • - 5:30pm – 6:00pm – Mike Bielecki, Vance Law, Scott Sanderson and Dwight Smith
  • 8:00pm – 12:00am – Rock ‘n Roll Revue

Sunday, January 15th

  • 9:00am – 10:00am – Down on the Farm presented by VineLine with Oneri Fleita and Tim Wilken – featuring Jeff Beliveau, Brett Jackson, Junior Lake, Matt Szczur and Josh Vitters
  • 9:00am – 12:00pm – Chicago Cubs Photo Experience
  • 10:30am – 11:30am – The Father-Son Connection – featuring Shawon Dunston, Shawon Dunston, Jr., Bob Brenly, Michael Brenly, Keith Lockhart and Daniel Lockhart

The CCO will have first hand daily recaps of this year’s convention….for the seventh consecutive year.

Scheduled attendees for the 27th Cubs Convention

  • Ernie Banks
  • Darwin Barney
  • Glenn Beckert
  • Jeff Beliveau
  • Mike Bielecki
  • Joe Bohringer
  • Chris Bosio
  • Bob Brenly
  • Michael Brenly
  • Bill Buckner
  • Randy Bush
  • Marlon Byrd
  • Tony Campana
  • Jose Cardenal
  • Chris Carpenter
  • Welington Castillo
  • Starlin Castro
  • Steve Clevenger
  • Casey Coleman
  • Andre Dawson
  • David DeJesus
  • Ryan Dempster
  • Bobby Dernier
  • Blake DeWitt
  • Shawon Dunston
  • Shawon Dunston, Jr.
  • Theo Epstein
  • Jeff Fassero
  • Oneri Fleita
  • Matt Garza
  • Todd Hollandsworth
  • Jed Hoyer
  • Pat Hughes
  • Randy Hundley
  • Brett Jackson
  • Rudy Jaramillo
  • Ferguson Jenkins
  • Reed Johnson
  • Len Kasper
  • Crane Kenney
  • Bryan LaHair
  • Junior Lake
  • Vance Law
  • Jon Lieber
  • Daniel Lockhart
  • Keith Lockhart
  • Bill Madlock
  • Paul Maholm
  • Carlos Marmol
  • Gary Matthews
  • Dave McKay
  • Jason McLeod
  • Rick Monday
  • Keith Moreland
  • Dave Otto
  • Milt Pappas
  • Jamie Quirk
  • Shiraz Rehman
  • Laura Ricketts
  • Pete Ricketts
  • Todd Ricketts
  • Tom Ricketts
  • Anthony Rizzo
  • James Russell
  • Jeff Samardzija
  • Scott Sanderson
  • The Santo family
  • Judd Sirott
  • Dwight Smith
  • Lee Smith
  • Alfonso Soriano
  • Geovany Soto
  • Ian Stewart
  • Tim Stoddard
  • Lester Strode
  • Rick Sutcliffe
  • Dale Sveum
  • Matt Szczur
  • Steve Trout
  • Josh Vitters
  • Chris Volstad
  • Todd Walker
  • Randy Wells
  • Billy Williams
  • Tim Wilken
  • Travis Wood
  • Eric Young

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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  • Dorasaga

    I hope somebody to the Convention may ask the Ricketts: Why wouldn’t you honor Phil Cavarretta?

    Here’s why:

    Phil Cavarretta As Much An Eternal Cub As Ron Santo

    http://chicago.sbnation.com/chicago-cubs/2010/12/19/1885972/phil-cavarretta-as-much-an-eternal-cub-as-ron-santo

    That’s a good read. I’m seeing four All-Stars, a MVP, three World Series as a regular with the Cubs and a clutch hitter at big games, Phil “Cavvy” was a local kid from Chicago (Lane Tech). He played 20 years of hustle for the Cubs, still a franchise record of tenure.

    The Cubs would have retired his number (44) in 1954, but Phil was too honest in front of PK Wrigley, then owner. Wrigley fired him and ripped him from such honor.

    I believe it’s necessary for the Ricketts to do the right thing and honor Cavarretta. We celebrate a great player in Phil, as part of the rich heritage with the Chicago Cubs: its glory and competitive nature, while bringing hope and joy to a war-torn era.

    • Aaron

      very good comments and wholeheartedly agree with you

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I will see what I can find out.

    • texcubnut

      Very well said, Dorasaga. I absolutely agree.

    • paulcatanese

      Very good, and you know how I felt about Phil, have posted many times about him. Remember when manageing, he put himself in as pinch hitter and hit a home run, Followed him since I was very young, had my son wear 44 in baseball.

      • Dorasaga

        Someday we might want to gather and wear “44” together, perhaps as a public statement.

    • Dorasaga

      Yeah, Cubs fans, let’s see what the club has for us and the family of Phil Cavvy. We all deserve better.

  • xaxinho

    I don’t care if the traditional “this is the year” will be absent. I will be at Wrigley Field for the first time in my life and see rhe Cubs play. For me, finally, “this is the year”. For the Cubs I know that the year is near ;)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Just a reminder … the CCO’s Twitter updates can be followed in the upper right hand corner of the site as well.

    • Calicub

      There isn’t anyway the twitter feed is accessed on the mobile site is there?

      Stupid work getting in the way of fanaticism :)

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        No it is not on the mobile version … sorry.

      • Gary J

        But if you’re on mobile, you can probably spin up a mobile app for twitter directly and follow 
        @TheCCO

      • Tony_Hall

        If you have unlimited texting, you can sign up for twitter and follow the CCO, and have them texted to you as they appear.

  • cc002600

    just saw a tweet from Buster Olney that says asking price for all FA starting pitchers is coming down (Oswalt 8M, Kuroda 10M, etc)

    Cubs should be all over Edwin Jackson to sign him.

    with him & Garza, that would be pretty good 1-2 punch for next few years….and something to build around as they are both in their primes.

    • daverj

      If Edwin Jackson is our number 2 starter a few years from now, then something went wrong with the “plan” along the way.  I like Jackson at the right price, but on a contending team, I see him as a weak number 3 starter or strong number 4 starter.

      • cc002600

        Well, I know his W-L numbers so far have been medicore, but he has great stuff and he’s 28.

        How do you know he doesn’t break out now ?

        • John_CC

          Great stuff – maybe, poor command – certainly.  His 1.40+ career WHIP and BB/9 are not good.  I agree with Dave.

          • cc002600

            So there’s no way he could improve ?
            He’s 28

          • John_CC

            I didn’t say that.  He is definitely young *should* improve.  In my view, he *has to* improve quite a bit to be considered a “top of the rotation” pitcher.  From 2007-2011, his 5 full years as a starter, he’s proven to be a solid “innings eater” averaging 193 IP in 32 starts.  But his ERA is 4.34, WHIP 1.45, 3.5 – BB/9, 6.9 K/9, 1.94 K/BB.

          • daverj

            You are correct in saying that he has great stuff.  He could break out and become a solid number 2, but there is nothing in his history to suggest that it is likely.  That said, I like Jackson and would be in favor of adding him if it were 3 year deal in the $27 million range.  That way, you are paying him to be a number 3.

          • cc002600

            Davej & John,

            Good points

            I’m with you.

            and nothing says the cubs couldn’t add an ace next winter or winter after that, that would push Jackson to #3 or #4. (I know, won’t be easy)

            I didn’t mean for cubs to sign Jackson this winter and stop there for next 4 years.

            I would like to see them sign him this winter as a building block for the next 3-5 years….and keep adding.  You can’t build a good starting rotation in 1 year.

            Thanks.

          • John_CC

            I follow your plan. I hope that next year they can trade for or just pay for one of the stud pitchers that will be a FA.

  • daverj

    Seeing Dunston’s name reminds me of a great story.  One evening after a spring training game in 1986, my brother, my Dad and I saw (who we thought to be) Dunston and the Cubs then top slugging third base prospect Tony Woods dining at a seafood restaurant.  We went up to them and my Dad said that his sons thought they were Shawon Dunston and Tony Woods and wanted to say hi.  They both denied it and said that it wasn’t them.  The next day we arrived at HoHoKam to find out that Dunston was out of the line-up due to food poisoning from bad fish.

    • OttawaBob

      Sounds like he got what he deserved!!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Just announced by Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs have signed Alfredo Amezaga to a minor league contract

    • daverj

      And here come the critics to say how bad Amezaga is …

      • Ripsnorter1

        Thank you for that introduction, Daverj….

        Alfredo Amezaga is your classic .182 hitting CF who last year did not get even 1 inning in CF. Instead they played him (in the finest of Mike Quade’s tradition) at  SS, 2B, RF and LF. He’s been known to drop a few balls at 1B as well. He doesn’t hit for average, has no power, and has no  SB speed. (He used to try to steal, but got thrown out too much).

         It’s a great sign in the tradition of Jed Qlueless.  Kool-Aid drinkers will salivate over these stats:

        2011….
        .182 BA….195 slugging…..247 OBP….

        Career:
        .247 BA…..307 OBP….333 slugging

        THIS IS THE YEAR!!

        AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

        • Tony_Hall

          Well then it’s a good thing he was signed to a minor league contract, which is all that he is a guy trying to win a job at AAA.

          • cubtex

            As long as he doesn’t show up on the 40 man roster like Sonnanstine and Corpas.

          • Tony_Hall

            I’d still like to hear that explained.  Non-guaranteed split contracts, is how their signing is described, shouldn’t need a 40 man spot.  So is it listed wrong, or was it really not a split contract?  

          • cubtex

            I would too. I looked again today and they are still on it.

          • Tony_Hall

            I can’t find any info on how split contracts work…yet.

          • Tony_Hall

            Here is out of the old CBA.  It makes it sound like it is a major league contract (which would require being added to the 40 man roster), but still allows for them to be assigned to the minors…

            D. Split ContractsIn the case of a Player who signs a Major League Contract which setsforth a separate rate of pay for Minor League service, the rate of payto be utilized in calculating termination pay under the preceding Sections A, B and C shall be:(1) the Minor League rate, if the termination occurs in the offseason;(2) the Minor League rate, if the termination occurs duringspring training, but on or before the 16th day prior to the start of thechampionship season;(3) the Major League rate, if the termination occurs duringspring training, but subsequent to the 16th day prior to the start ofthe championship season;(4) the Minor League rate, if the termination occurs during theseason and the Player is, at the time of termination, in the MinorLeagues; and the Major League rate, if the termination occurs during the season and the Player is, at the time of termination, in theMajor Leagues. In the application of this subparagraph (4), a Player’s Contract may not be assigned to the Minor Leagues for the purpose of reducing the Player’s termination pay.
            Notwithstanding the above, a Player whose Contract is not assignableto the Minor Leagues without his consent, or a Player selected by aMajor League Club in the immediately preceding Rule 5 draft, shall beentitled to receive termination pay at the Major League rate unless terminated during the championship season at a time when his Contractis under assignment to the Minor Leagues.

  • Tony_Hall

    Opening Ceremonies LIVE on Comcast Chicago

    • Dorasaga

      Watching. Took me a few minutes to find this:
      http://www.csnchicago.com/pages/live_cubs

      Still introducing old timers as we speak.

      • Tony_Hall

        You just got to love seeing all these players.

        • Dorasaga

          yup… Nice audience; didn’t booh President Kenny… isn’t it a no-no to chew gum while introduced? Dunston, Jr. just did that… Volstad is huge… alright, Castro is chewing as well, hmm…

          • Tony_Hall

            I was thinking the same thing when Volstad came out, he is just huge.  Then Travis Wood walked out and he is not.

          • Dorasaga

            Woody!

  • Tony_Hall

    Woody’s BACK!

    • Dorasaga

      By the way, Tony, do you know if Wrigley Field is the last privately-owned Major League ballpark? … Wiki says Tom Ricketts solely owns Wrigley.

    • cubtex

      That’s good. The only thing you have to wonder is….what took so long? If all he was asking for is a 1 year… 3 mil this should have been done months ago.

      • Tony_Hall

        Maybe they wanted to announce it tonight…and where did you see $3M?  Live at the convention, they don’t know the details.

      • Tony_Hall

        OK – They just said $3M with 2013 club option.

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree…it could have been Woody holding out for more, and once he realized this was the highest they would go, he signed.  Either way, he’s back and should finish his career in a Cubs uniform.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    For anyone that missed, Kerry Wood re-signed with the Cubs

  • cubs1967

    instead of chanting……..Theo……..the chant should of been World Series OR no more peeing in a trough OR where’s Ryno!

    never heard of a guy getting chanted for bringing a 100 loss season a fan’s way!

    • Tony_Hall

      He hasn’t even lost 1 game…

      • cubs1967

        OR we are going for the draft pick!

        maybe Theo could be the Bears GM.

        P.S. he hasn’t won one either………

        • Tony_Hall

          Then give us a break on the all the 100 loss crap.  They haven’t even played a game.

    • Hoosierboy3423

      theres gotta be something to cry about doesnt there?

      • cubs1967

        there’s no crying in baseball………those are facts!

        but I’m sure you are  drunk on your theo cubby blue kool aid……..

        • Tony_Hall

          What FACTS did you just state?

          They haven’t lost even 1 game, let alone 100.

        • Hoosierboy3423

          Yeah love those facts, 100 losses, when did that happen.  Oh your guessing it might, now i suppose your ASSumptions are good enough to be considered FACT, Heed your own advice and quit crying about baseball.

    • Dorasaga

      cubby1967, it’s hard to argue 1– losses. I’m predicting this roster and depth win 70, like the 2009 Reds. But all things aside, I want to cheer you up, since it’s time for the CubsCon. We celebrate goodness.

      Here you go, the big lies from the Florida Marlins owner:

      http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2011-05-05/news/six-lies-about-the-marlins-stadium/2/

      I’m so glad that the money-sucking Tribune is gone. Let’s see how much the Ricketts are willing to spend in the coming five seasons. Have fun, to Theo and Hoyer, 2!