2008 Cubs Convention: Day 2

Today was the second day of the 2008 Cubs Convention. Brrr, it was below 0 degrees this morning as I walked to the Chicago Hilton for another day of fun. On my way out, I got a text message from my nephew, Joe who was going to meet me later.

I Scratched and Won

Friday night I was looking through all the swag and pamphlets I got on my first day and found my Scratch and Win card. The convention uses these for the high demand celebrities when it comes to autographs.

Well, I scratched my card and it said, “You are a winner!”

On the back it said to redeem it at the registration area and that’s the first thing I did Saturday morning. It turns out I won a Derrek Lee autograph and I was supposed to get in line for it at 2pm.

I wasn’t really collecting autographs this year so I sought out a dad and a kid and gave them the ticket. I told them the kid could have it as long as they didn’t sell it on Ebay. The dad emphatically said no, he wouldn’t.

And speaking of autographs:

Andy Pafko was signing autographs. I think Andy is the oldest former Cub to attend these conventions.

…and so was Jody Davis… always with a smile.

Two different players from different eras. Bill Madlock and Bob Feller.

Rich Hill signing a ball towards the end of the day.

Piniella gets thrown under the bus by an older lady

My first talk of the day was “Lou and his Crew”, essentially a Q&A with Piniella and his coaching staff.

The most humorous question was from a seemingly perturbed older lady who asked Piniella why he left his starting pitchers (she mentioned Marquis in particular) in when we were behind by 4 or 5 runs. She explained that sometimes it got her so mad she would throw things at her TV.

Piniella took it all in humor and invited her to sit next to him in the dugout so he could check with her in making decisions. The crowd responded with chants of Looouuu! Louuu!

A visit to the Tennessee Smokies booth

I stopped by the Tennessee Smokies booth and chatted with a nice woman with a terrific southern drawl. I rifled through the Smokies’ baseball card and found Chris Robinson. “Oh, he’s a great guy. He’s real nahce”, she said. I’m not surprised. Most players at or from Illinois have a good head on their shoulders.

I ended up buying the pack.

Storytelling with Cubs Legends

WGN’s “Storytelling with Cubs Legends” was my favorite of the day. With Ron Santo, Rick Sutcliffe, Lee Smith and Ernie Banks, it was fun to just listen their stories. As broadcasters, Santo and Sutcliffe were most talkative. That said, Lee Smith may have an intimidating facade while pitching but he’s quite funny behind the mike.

Looks like Sut is hamming it up for the camera.

Taking a break with the Cubscast guys

The hosts of the Cubscast podcast (well, two-thirds of them, Sneetch couldn’t make it to the Convention) had scheduled an informal get together at the hotel bar. I was due for a break by 3pm anyway so I stopped by. Sheps (right) shared photos of his recently passed kidney stone and Lou (left) and I talked a little shop.

Peoria Chiefs broadcaster Nathan Baliva stopped by the Cubscast table too. I had stopped by the Chiefs’ booth earlier in the day and got the above photo. Nathan was nice enough to do an interview on Baseball Zealot Radio last spring so it was good to see him again. It turns out he’s Sneetch’s brother, too Small world.

Cubs Pitching Clinic

The last event of Saturday was a pitching clinic put on for the kiddos. This was done with the help of Milt Pappas (left), Steve Trout (right) and Lester Strode. Fortunately, Bruce Froemming was not in attendance.

That’s all for now. Tomorrow is a light day at the convention but I do want to get some shopping done at the souvenir shops.

Many more photos at The Baseball Zealot Photo Gallery

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