Entries Tagged as '2007 Cubs Convention'

Me ‘n Billy

My buddy Tyler snapped this pic of me with Billy Williams at the 2007 Cubs Convention I attended in January. Tyler convinced me to take the pic with his girlfriend’s camera because it was so much better (which it was). I just didn’t know I’d have to wait 3 months for it.

Seriously, thanks Tyler! The photo is awesome.

Billy Williams

Final Thoughts on the Cubs Convention

Old Style

That photo is for my buddy DonS who I know would appreciate it.

All things considered, and considering the fact that the Cubs finished last in 2006 losing 96 games, the tempo at the convention was incredibly upbeat. I’m sure a lot had to do with the new turn the team is taking, spending money, acquiring a new manager.

I was impressed with the diversity of ages of the attendees of the convention. I expected to see a bunch of guys in the 20-50 year old range. Not true. I saw old people (really old people), young kids, middle-aged women, families, teenagers, pretty twenty-somethings, you name it.

One regret… I didn’t meet Carrie Muskat, the beat reporter for the Cubs for mlb.com. I read her stuff a lot and I’ve always wanted to meet her. I dropped by the Cubs.com booth a couple times hoping to catch her. The man there told me she was in attendance and check back later. I chatted him up asking what she was like. He probably thought I was a stalker or something. So Carrie, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I missed you. Maybe next time.

Total autographs = 9 (Fergie, Madlock, Dascenzo, Lancaster, DeJesus, Jody D, Trout, Hebner, and Dernier)

Total caps bought= 3 (Peoria Chiefs, Iowa Cubs, and a Chicago Cubs cap worn by Gary Mathews Sr)

Total T-shirts bought= 3 (Wrigley Field shirt for my son, a pink (gah!) Cubs shirt for my daughter, and an “In Piniella We Trustiella” shirt from the Cubscast guys for myself)

Escalator to a Different Dimension

Sunday around 12:30pm, the Cubs convention was winding down and with the Bears playoff game just an hour and a half away, I figured it was time to go. I took one look around at the friendly fans in blue and stepped on the escalator up to the main level…

… to a different dimension.

Something was wrong. What I saw was not right. I didn’t see friendly Cub fans on their way home from the convention. No, what I saw was loud, people dressed in black… and gold.. and they were wearing loud, garishly colored necklaces. Did I take the magic escalator to an eternal Mardi Gras?

Apparently, not. Apparently, all the New Orleans Saints fans who had come up for Sunday’s game had come to the Chicago Hilton. Or it just seemed that way. There was rhyme to their reason. We at the convention had heard that the Chicago Bears were staying at the Hilton. I’m sure that this wasn’t lost on the Saints fans.


They were yelling and screaming. One even even had a teddy bear and would set it down on the sidewalk and would tackle it,

Others would pretend-block Bears fans that would pass by… in a good natured way.


The one place I was in Chicago and it was right in the middle of a pack of Saints fans.

Oh, well…

Sorry you made the trip for nothing

I actually was on the train during the second half having watched the first half at the train station. The conductor announced the score over the PA. In this day and age, I wonder if those with Tivo would just as soon not know the score.

I was picked up by my family and my six-year-old daughter dutifully informed me of the score. The Bears had 39 and “New Zealand” scored 14.



2007 Cubs Convention Blogging: Some photos

I’m back in Urbana, resting up after a wild weekend of Cub fun. Let’s start with some pictures.


HOFer Fergie Jenkins was signing autographs at his booth. He did this for a donation towards his foundation which is supposed to help research diabetes. Fergie did his stint during the weekend signing autographs for free, too.


This is a slice of the hall of the room they used for the autograph queues. At the very far end was where the baseball celebs would sit and us plebes would be queued around ropes. Needless to say, when players like Carlos Zambrano were up, these lines would fill quickly then go out the door, down the hallway, around the corner, then down THAT hall.

As you can see, they had television displays all around showing Cubs highlights. Which is all well and good. But it seems every time I looked up, I’d see the clip of Derrek Lee injuring his wrist. I wondered if they could have edited that out. Not good for Cub Nation morale.

Jody Davis

Jody Davis signing autographs. I waited longest to get Jody’s autograph. That’s not to say there were longer lines. It’s just to say that I was willing to put up with Jody’s line enough to get his.

If by the photo you think that Jody appears pretty likable, I don’t think you would be too far off the mark. He seemed to have a friendly demeanor towards the fans. I tend to not hold too much against the players if they don’t get all gushy and personable during these appearances. They get shuffled from autograph signings to speeches to photo shoots so I’m sure it’s hard to maintain friendliness for the thousands of people they see.

But when they do, it’s pretty cool.

boys of zimmer

I apologize for the quality of the photo (damn camera). This was at the Boys of Zimmer talk. (L toR, Dwight Smith, Jerome Walton, Mike Bilecki, and Mark Grace). Also appearing in the session was Les Lancaster, Ryne Sandberg, and Doug Dascenzo. Hosted by Wayne Messmer,

This was very enjoyable. Essentially, it relived the year the Cubbies made the playoffs under Don Zimmer in 1989. This year’s convention was big because it was Grace’s first one since 2001.

Dwight Smith, in my opinion, was the most interesting. He was funny and had the most stories to tell.


There was this man sitting at a table with a pen in his hand but not signing anything. I nudged a fellow Cub fan and asked, “Who’s that?”

“That’s Ivan DeJesus!”

Ivan DeJesus ready to sign autographs and no one taking?? So I looked for something for him to sign. Not finding anything, I just had him sign my convention badge,

It took a long while for people to realize that the man we traded for Sandberg (and an All-Star shortstop in his own right) was sitting there with no line,


Back to the Locker Room where the day before, Zambrano’s shoes brought $375 in an auction for Cubscare. I walked by the room and heard “3300!” I went in and asked one of the staff members what was going on. This time it was Greg Maddux’ signed and worn jersey. It ultimately went for $4000.

Cubs Quintet

This is the Cubs Quintet. They’ve been together for some 35 years.


Banks is a class act. Despite the fact it was late, and everyone (especially the staff) wanted to finish up, he broke the rules and allowed this lady to get her sister’s photo taken with him. She apparently has cancer. -2 points to person in line who shouted, “Hey, I have cancer, too!”

You can’t see it but those are tears on her face.



2007 Cubs Convention Blogging: Saturday Morning

7:17am Saturday Morning:

Oh yeah, 16 degrees too.

cubs conv 045

Two words… overwhelmingly crowded and Blue. Ok, that’s three words but you get my drift. I’m borderline claustrophobic so it took a while to get acclimated.

I learned my lesson last night. If you want to get in the main room to see the big guy speak, you need to get there at least an hour early. I thought I was doing well to get there 30 minutes earlier but no go. Chicago’s finest kept telling us to “push” on into this hallway. Something in the back of my mind was telling me, “I hope there isn’t a fire”.

Those of us who didn’t get into the main ballroom ended up seeing Piniella speak not live but on a series of wide-screen displays in the hallway. What we in the hallway did see that the folks already sitting did not was the Cubs players and celebs running the gauntlet on their way in. Crowd reaction ranged from “Who was that” to hoots and hollers. When Lou Piniella came through, all you could hear was “LLOOOOOUUUU!

Who can remember during Piniella’s playing days when the broadcasters would always remind the novice fans that “They’re not booing, they’re saying Loooouu.”?

cubs conv 054

Eric Patterson signing autograghs

There are two huge exhibition halls filled to the brim of organizations and vendors who are selling their selling their wares. One high point was meeting was meeting Lou, Sheps, and Sneetch from Cubcast.com. They seem like pretty nice guys. See the previous post for a photo of the group.

I got a chance to shake Billy Williams hand and get my picture taken with him (it’s on Tyler’s camera right now so I’ll post it later). Bill Madlock signed my APBA card, too.


Mickey Morandini

By the way, the Cub fans have quite a fascination with Mickey Morandini. Earlier, when Morandini walked through the “gauntlet”, it was “hey, look! it’s Mickey Morandini!” And the lines for his autograph go out the door. Don’t get it.

I bought a hat that belonged to “Sarge” and wore last year. He has a pretty small head.

Time for me to get dressed and get going for Saturday’s events.


2007 Cubs Convention Blogging: Friday night

11:45 Friday night:

Just time enough for a few pics…


Not for those who are claustrophobic.

Zambrano’s worn shoes went for $375 in an auction for charity.


Tyler and I met the Cubscast guys



The “Shooter”, Rod Beck.


More tomorrow.

2007 Cubs Convention Blogging: Friday Afternoon

12:54pm Friday-

Arrived in town by train where I was met by my friend Tyler. He’s putting me up for the weekend and will be attending the convention as well. Not only that, he’s giving me free reign of his place as he’s staying at his girlfriend’s place. His place has all I need… a bed and an Internet connection.

Convention headquarters are conveniently located about eight blocks away at the Chicago Hilton. A good walk or if I’m lazy or don’t want to bear the cold, a short bus ride.

The Ticket (click the link for picture of mentioned ticket, it’s one of those badges you wear around your neck) says that things start around 3pm though I may head down early to see what I can see. Rumors are that events are light on Friday.

More later…

More Cubs talk

The Cubs Caravan is on its way. The big talking point from Cubs management is that Prior is making good progress. Please, let’s not go down this road again.

“Mark is up on the hill, throwing some bullpens and doing well,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Wednesday before boarding a bus with other players and staff for a trip to downstate Illinois.

He better not be throwing them too far.

Take a guess who’s working with Felix Pie on base running. None other than Bobby Dernier. Dernier spent 10 seasons in the MLB with the Phillies, Cubs and then the Phillies again. He hit only .255 with only 23 homeruns and 152 rbis but managed 218 stolen bases.

Finally, here’s a better list of those Cubbies (current and past) who will be at this weekend’s Cub convention.

2007 Official Cubs Convention Attendee List Released

The official list of attendees was announced on Sunday for the Chicago Cubs convention being held this weekend. Who will be there? Anyone and everyone who is or was a Cub.

Except that one guy. He’s busy trying to get a job with the Rangers.

Which is too bad. I would have liked to see him there.

Interesting workshops being held, too:

Among the events on the schedule are seminars on Saturday and Sunday, including “Piniella 101,”

Do we all get our own base to practice with?

Too obscure??

Four Hall of Famers, Sandberg, Banks, Jenkins and Williams will be there plus Santo who should be in the HOF. I notice Bill Madlock and Andy Pafko are buried in the list. That’s exciting in my opinion.

Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis will get their first exposure to the Cub Nation. Good Luck.

Anyway, my train leaves Friday morning.

WGN schedule for Cubs Convention Out

The WGN Radio schedule for the Cubs Convention is out

It looks like everyone will be there. Zambrano, Soriano, Santo, DLee, Barrett, Wood, Prior (please be gentle with those last two, fans!),

Among the old-timers, there will be Lee Smith, Mike Bielecki, Rod Beck (the Shooter!),

And of course, Piniella and Hendry.

Saturday morning’s session is geared for the ladies because it is called “Not for Women Only”. That is usually a cue for me to stay away. Anyway, it is described as: ” The Girlfriends put Mike Bielecki, Neal Cotts, Ryan Theriot, Scott Eyre & Sean Marshall in the hot seat. You never know what they might ask!”

Too bad DonS isn’t going. That’s just his kinda thing. Besides Mike Bielecki is going on 47 years old. Isn’t it about time he settle down?