I don’t care how cold it gets in Chicago in mid-January, it’s always hot as hell inside the Sheraton Grand during Cubs Convention weekend. Literally, it’s really hot in there because the place is packed to the gills. This will actually be the 33rd year for the event, which features pretty much everyone and everything involved with the organization.
Okay, not everyone, but check out this lineup: At least 26 current players and prospects; 43 former players; 13 coaches; 12 members of the baseball and broadcast teams; four execs; and one pantsless mascot (we love you, Clark). That’s a pretty stout lineup, at least one of which I plan to sit down with in an interview that we’ll broadcast Saturday via CI’s Facebook Live feed.
Please send bail money in case I’m arrested for kidnapping.
If you’ve never been, CubsCon can be a real trip. In addition to all the panels and autograph sessions, they’ve got tons of memorabilia and other experiences spread throughout several floors of the hotel. You can check out booths for all the minor league affiliates as well, which is great because they’ve always got awesome swag and giveaways.
Here’s a little more detail from the main page for the Convention on Cubs.com:
The three-day weekend kicks off with the Opening Ceremony beginning Friday, January 12, at 6 p.m. Following the Opening Ceremony, guests will find some of their favorite Cubs alumni and future stars waiting to sign surprise autographs. The event’s first day concludes with the wildly entertaining Friday Night with Ryan Dempster, presented by Budweiser, featuring interviews with Cubs players, coaches and alumni and comedy vignettes.
Saturday’s program continues with fan favorites such as the return of Cubs Jeopardy, which features unique trivia with Cubs alumni. Popular reoccurring Saturday sessions will be back, including Baseball Operations Update, Business Operations Update, Joe Maddon & His Coaching Staff, Kids Only Press Conference presented by Advocate Children’s Hospital, Ricketts Family, In the Batter’s Box presented by Wintrust and Toeing the Rubber presented by Wintrust. The evening will conclude with long-time Convention favorite Cubs Bingo presented by Budweiser and led by Wayne Messmer.
If you haven’t already gotten passes, good luck finding them for anything close to face. And even if you can’t or don’t want to fork over that cheddar, you can still participate in some ancillary events. There’s always a big social media gathering over at Lizzie McNeill’s, a small watering hole immediately adjacent to the Sheraton. I’m not blowing smoke when I say that this my favorite part of the weekend.
It’s kind of like a family reunion of sorts, since nearly every Cubs blogger and podcaster will be in attendance. Even some of the beat writers and other Chicago media folks may show up, not to mention various luminaries from #CubsTwitter. Since I know most of you reading this probably read or follow several other sources in addition to Cubs Insider, Lizzie’s offers a great opportunity to hang out and get a chance to meet folks face-to-face.
A more recent addition to the off-the-menu offerings is the Unconventional Cubs Convention, which will be held at GMan Tavern just north of Wrigley on Clark St. Hosted by the Ivy Envy and Son Ranto podcasts, the UCC will feature a Cubs-related white elephant exchange (bring a gift), raffles, prizes, and live music. You’ll find some of the same folks from the night before, but in more of an organized setting.
Getting back to the Convention itself, which we’ll be broadcasting as much of as we can via FB Live and Periscope. Below is a look at all the guests who are confirmed to this point, but check the link above for updates.
|Albert Almora Jr.||Terry Adams||Theo Epstein|
|Javier Baez||John Baker||Jed Hoyer|
|Kris Bryant||Larry Biittner||Randy Bush|
|Eddie Butler||Shawn Boskie||Shiraz Rehman|
|Victor Caratini||Ray Burris||Scott Harris|
|Tyler Chatwood||Jose Cardenal||Jaron Madison|
|Steve Cishek||Doug Dascenzo||Alex Suarez|
|Willson Contreras||Jody Davis||Andrew Belleson|
|Carl Edwards Jr.||Andre Dawson||Ron Coomer|
|Luke Farrell||David DeJesus||Jim Deshaies|
|Justin Grimm||Ryan Dempster||Pat Hughes|
|Ian Happ||Bobby Dernier||Len Kasper|
|Kyle Hendricks||Mike Fontenot|
|Jason Heyward||Koyie Hill||Executives|
|Tommy La Stella||Bob Howry||Tom Ricketts|
|Dillon Maples||Randy Hundley||Laura Ricketts|
|Alec Mills||Fergie Jenkins||Todd Ricketts|
|Mike Montgomery||Pete LaCock||Crane Kenney|
|Anthony Rizzo||Derrek Lee|
|Randy Rosario||Jon Lieber||Pantsless mascot|
|Addison Russell||Ted Lilly||Clark|
|Kyle Schwarber||Bill Madlock|
|Justin Wilson||Sean Marshall|
|Mark Zagunis||Brian McRae|
|Rob Zastryzny||Matt Murton|
|Ben Zobrist||Dave Otto|
|Coaching staff||Mike Remlinger|
|Joe Maddon||Paul Reuschel|
|Mike Borzello||David Ross|
|Tim Buss||Glendon Rusch|
|Brian Butterfield||James Russell|
|Juan Cabreja||Ryne Sandberg|
|Chili Davis||Scott Sanderson|
|Franklin Font||Dwight Smith|
|Jim Hickey||Lee Smith|
|Andy Haines||Tim Stoddard|
|Brandon Hyde||Rick Sutcliffe|
|Chad Noble||Ryan Sweeney|
|Lester Strode||Steve Trout|
|Will Venable||Billy Williams|
And here’s a video recap from last year’s events: