Results tagged ‘ Cubs Convention ’

1000 Words: From the Cubs Convention and Caravan

The Sheraton Hotel & Towers hosted thousands of Cubs fans this weekend for the 29th annual Cubs Convention. Players were introduced, autographs were signed, panels were held and fun was had by all in attendance. Along with the Cubs Convention, players, coaches and other members of the organization participated in the Cubs Caravan earlier in the week, where they visited hospitals, schools and the USO of Illinois. Below is a gallery of some of the best images from the exciting week and weekend.

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Live at CubsCon: 30-Year Anniverary of the 1984 Team

The Cubs took their fans down memory lane Sunday morning. Eight members of the 1984 squad took to the podium, reminiscing about the squad that made a postseason run 30 years ago.

Bobby Dernier, Tim Stoddard, Steve Trout, Jay Johnstone, Rick Sutcliffe, Gary Matthews Sr., Scott Sanderson and Lee Smith spend the hour telling tales, complimenting each other and campaigning for Smith’s Hall of Fame induction.

A sentiment stressed throughout the seminar was that the squad shared a brotherhood through the success of the season.

“1984 team was not my team, they were my family,” Smith said.

Sanderson set the mood of Spring Training that season, describing it as a veteran group of guys coming together, understanding the task at hand.
He noted the club brought Dernier, Matthews and Ryne Sandberg over from Philadelphia, along with Stoddard from Baltimore.

“It was brand new to us, and there were a lot of veterans, there weren’t a lot of rookies on the team,” Sanderson said.

Johnstone said that he had won three World Series rings and yet he said this was the best side he ever played on.

On numerous occasions Matthews was said to be the leader of the team, and was viewed as the player who constantly pushed the club to be better.

Trout relived a game during the summer where he pitched well, but gave up a late homer in a 6-1 win. After the game, the pitcher went up to Matthews’ room to have a drink, Sarge kind of got on him, asking why he surrendered the home run.

“You gotta play for the shutout,” Trout remembered Matthews saying.

It couldn’t be stressed more how good Smith was that ’84 season.

Sutcliffe described handing the ball off to Smith to being a nervous freshman in high school, but then remembering “your brother is a senior, and he’s the starting middle linebacker on the football team.”

And of course there were jokes made, at many members of the panel’s expense.

Matthews described his Spring Training trade to Chicago from Philadelphia, as he was the only set outfielder in Phillies camp prior to the move. He and Dernier—a fourth outfielder who was likely facing demotion—were sent to Chicago midway through preseason camp.

“Bobby comes over and said ‘You’re coming with me to Chicago,'” Matthews said. “And I said, ‘No Bobby, you’re coming with me.'”

Dernier wrapped up the forum by giving Leon Durham praise for his efforts throughout the season, and asked fans to let the play go. During Game 5 of the NLCS, Durham let a ball go through his legs while playing first base, allowing  a Padres comeback.

Live at CubsCon: Front office panel

In front of a nearly full ballroom, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Shiraz Rehman, Randy Bush and Rick Renteria took the stage Saturday morning. The first set of questions were pointed at Epstein and Hoyer, discussing the current state of the organization and the hope for playoff baseball.

“The only way to make [the fans] happy is by playing October baseball on a regular basis, and that’s the plan,” Epstein said.

Hoyer continued that idea by saying World Series are won with sustained success, reaching the post season more times than not over the period of a decade, and that history has shown you don’t get there by spending a ton of money one season and hoping to get lucky.

“You don’t win a World Series with the lightning in the bottle, you win because you get there a lot and catch some good breaks,” Hoyer said.

New manager Renteria made some early believers of fans, demonstrating his appreciation for the team, even as it stands right now. He says he used to look over to the other dugout during his time in San Diego and think “I’ll take this team right now, and I know what’s coming behind them.”

“My personality is suited to young players, I’ve been raising young kids my whole life, they’re my kids now,” Renteria said.

Not a ton of new information regarding Japanese pitching phenom Masahiro Tanaka, as expected, as they don’t discuss the progress of signing situations.

Though Epstein said they weren’t going to spend for the sake of spending, he did say that if money wasn’t fully utilized this offseason, that it would be used at some point.

Epstein is also adamant that the Ricketts are in it for the long haul and not wavered by the criticism they’ve received thus far.

Finally, when asked about bringing up former top prospect Brett Jackson, Epstein admits it might have been a mistake to bring him up. At the same time, former manager Dale Sveum wanted to work exclusively with him on his swing.

Live at CubsCon: Meet the Ricketts forum

After a slight delay, Tom, Laura and Todd Ricketts took the stage, with Cubs voice Len Kasper serving as forum host. Pete was not in attendance as he continues to run for governor of Nebraska.

Tom Ricketts opened up the ceremony, recapping the work done in both the Dominican Republic and the Spring Training facilities in Mesa, Ariz. He stated that roughly 20 percent of major leaguers are from Latin America, and the majority of which are from the Dominican. The modern facilities, with state-of-the-art ballfields as well as modern computer labs and classrooms will attract the best of the best in the Latin America to the Cubs organization.

The family was also very proud and excited to discuss the new Spring Training facilities in Mesa.

“Mesa is the best place for players to train in the offseason, and best place to rehab in the offseason,” Tom Ricketts said.

Ricketts also highlighted the work done to the minor league system, noting that Baseball Prospectus named it the No. 2 farm system while ESPN has said the organization has four of the top 30 prospects in all of baseball.

After a quick introduction, Ricketts let the fans ask questions. One of the first topics asked included the Wrigley questions with the rooftop group.

Possibly the highlight of the panel came with Tom Ricketts’ metaphor for the rooftop issues, relating it to watching Showtime’s “Homeland,” while a neighbor is watching your tv through the window. He continued that the neighbor then charges other neighbors to sit outside and watch.

“You close the windows and the city tells you to open them,” Ricketts said.

Ricketts said he wants to work something well before the 2023 contract arrives, and that they look to “control” the situation. On numerous occasions the trio stated they wanted to get more progess done in the near future. They made it seem as if they will do what they want after the contract expires.

Once a deal does go through, Ricketts believes that they can speed up the process to a four-year plan with the original five-year plan serving as a worst-case scenario.

Cubs Convention to celebrate Wrigley’s 100th

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

Don’t miss your first chance to meet new manager Rick Renteria and celebrate Wrigley Field’s upcoming 100th birthday at the 2014 Cubs Convention, Jan. 17-19, at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. Featured guests include the current Cubs roster, the new coaching staff, alumni and many top prospects. The 29th Annual Cubs Convention will also feature more than 100 photo and autograph opportunities, new activities and traditional favorites.

The convention’s Opening Ceremony begins Friday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m., and will feature player introductions on a red carpet runway with special VIP access for children 16 and under. Following the Opening Ceremony, guests can search for some of their favorite Cubs and young prospects throughout the hotel in an exciting Autograph Hunt Game. The event’s first day concludes with a special movie premiere of MLB Productions’ 100 Years of Wrigley Field, followed by a “Cheers to 100 Years” toast at Sheraton Chicago’s Chi Bar hosted by Budweiser.

Saturday’s program continues with fan favorites such as the return of Cubs Family Feud and Cubs Jeopardy, which will feature unique trivia based on Wrigley Field’s 100 years of history and the addition of fan guests on each team. Saturday will also be fans first chance to meet manager Rick Renteria and his coaching staff at the much-anticipated Meet the New Skipper session. The evening will conclude with a special 100 Years of Wrigley Field session, at which fans will get a sneak peek at some of the promotions planned for the centennial season, and long-time Convention favorite Cubs Bingo, presented by Budweiser and led by Wayne Messmer.

Additional weekend sessions (subject to change) include: The Ricketts Family Forum, Meet Cubs Baseball Management, Scouting and Player Development, Rookie Development Group, For Kids Only Press Conference presented by Advocate Health Care, 30-Year Anniversary: 1984 Team, WGN Radio Sports Central, Meet Cubs Business Management and Down on the Farm.

In addition to the sessions highlighted above, the Convention includes many new and returning activities throughout the weekend for fans:

  • Beginning at Cubs Convention and continuing through Spring Training and at each regular season home game, the Cubs will unveil and pay tribute to 100 Great Times in Wrigley Field history presented by Budweiser. One will be unveiled each day at Cubs Convention, and fans will be able to follow these unveilings via social media.
  • A new autograph system will be integrated this year, which will include the opportunity for fans to have a meet-and-greet with marquee players through a donation to Cubs Charities.
  • Fans can visit a dedicated social media lounge, featuring giveaways, charging stations, an interactive screen and special guest Twitter takeovers throughout the weekend.
  • Walgreens Field is a miniature turf diamond that gives kids a fun place to play pick-up wiffle ball games or participate in professional instructional clinics as part of the Baseball Interactive Zone. Cubs players and coaches will pair up with Illinois Baseball Academy instructors to conduct a series of training opportunities for kids of all ages throughout the weekend.
  • Enhanced this year with a radar gun, MLB Network’s Strike Zone allows fans to test their arm speed and win prizes at an inflatable speed pitch.
  • A dedicated Kids’ Corner will host face painting, caricatures, balloon artists and a coloring station with a weekend-long coloring contest. Winners will be selected Sunday morning.
  • The Blue Bunny Bucket Toss gives kids a chance to win ice cream prizes in a fun bucket toss game.
  • The Cubbie Closet gives kids a chance to dress up like a big leaguer in complete, full-size uniforms for a fun photo opportunity.
  • A variety of Cubs memorabilia will be available for sale or auction from Cubs Authentics, Cubs Charities and a selection of third party vendors.

Room packages at the Sheraton Chicago and individual weekend passes for the 2014 Cubs Convention are still available. Cubs Convention room rates include passes at a discounted price of $20, or passes can be purchased individually for $60 per pass plus convenience fees at www.cubs.com/convention or 1-800-THE-CUBS. Guests can visit the Cubs Convention page for more information and the most up-to-date list of confirmed players, coaches and alumni.

Due to high demand of parking at the Sheraton Chicago during Cubs Convention weekend and the cost of parking downtown, a limited number of parking spots will be available at Wrigley Field for the duration of the weekend on a first-come, first-serve basis. These print-at-home parking vouchers are available at www.cubs.com/convention for $25 for the entire weekend, beginning Friday at 3 p.m. until Sunday at 3 p.m. Please note transportation from Wrigley Field to the Sheraton Chicago will be the responsibility of the attendee.

A percentage of the proceeds from the Cubs Convention benefits Cubs Charities. To date, the Cubs Convention has raised approximately $4 million for the Cubs’ charitable arm.

2014 Cubs Convention passes go on sale Sept. 24

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

It’s never too early to start thinking about the 2014 season or to start celebrating Wrigley Field’s upcoming 100th birthday.

Individual weekend passes for the 2014 Cubs Convention will go on sale Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 10 a.m. CST. Each weekend pass is $60 plus convenience fees and is valid for all three days, Jan. 17-19, at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers in downtown Chicago. Passes will be available for purchase here or by calling 1-800-THE-CUBS.

The 29th Annual Cubs Convention will feature Cubs celebrity guests, including players, coaches, alumni and some of the organization’s top minor league prospects. This year’s Cubs Convention attendees will also get a first look at many of the promotions and activities planned to celebrate 100 years of Wrigley Field during the upcoming season.

Attendees can book rooms at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers at cubs.com/convention or calling the hotel at 800-325-3535 and asking for the Cubs Convention rate of $183 per night plus tax. Hotel guests may purchase up to four Cubs Convention passes for a reduced rate of $20 each.

The 2014 Cubs Convention will take place Friday, Jan. 17, from 2-10 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 18, from 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 19, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. More information will be posted on cubs.com as details are confirmed.

A percentage of the proceeds from the Cubs Convention benefits Chicago Cubs Charities. To date, the annual event has raised approximately $4 million for the Cubs charitable arm.

1000 Words: Banks and Billy

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs Hall of Famers Billy Williams and Ernie Banks are introduced at the Opening Ceremonies of the 28th Annual Cubs Convention last Friday.

Now Playing: Highlights from the 2013 Cubs Convention

The 28th annual Cubs Convention is in the books, and Vine Line was there for the entire weekend. We were front and center for the opening ceremonies, saw everything the new hotel had to offer, and got an opportunity to debrief with Convention newbies like Edwin Jackson and new assistant hitting coach Rob Deer.

1000 Words: Rizzo makes an entrance

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

The 28th annual Cubs Convention is in the books. Next stop: Mesa.

The Convention kicked off with the Opening Ceremony in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel and Towers. Fans got an opportunity to interact with players and alumni as they walked down a red carpet on their way to the stage at the front of the hall.

We’ll post pictures from the Convention all week here on the blog.

2013 Cubs Convention is up and running

Szczur

The 28th annual Cubs Convention kicked off tonight in the Grand ballroom of the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers.

A per tradition, the Convention kicked off with the Opening Ceremonies. Cubs owner Tom Ricketts began by talking about his family’s commitment to achieving three goals: winning a world championship, preserving Wrigley Field and being a good neighbor in Chicago. He also spoke about Chicago Cubs Charities work with the RBI Program (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) and introduced a group of kids and coaches from the program.

The Chicago Cubs RBI program is run through the Union League Boys and Girls Clubs in Chicago and supported through a grant from Cubs Care, which provides $100,000 to fund the entire effort. RBI offers nearly 300 inner city youth the opportunity to play ball and participate in weekend tournaments. Ricketts announced that 11 high school seniors of the Chicago Cubs RBI program have been offered college scholarships to play baseball next year.

After a video about the team, the players entered the hall down a red carpet that ran through the middle of the crowd. This allowed fans an opportunity to interact with the 2013 team. The Cubs introduced veteran players, including new veteran Kerry Wood, and some of the top prospects, who have been in town all week as part of the Rookie Development Program. Fans also got a chance to see many of the newest Cubs, including free agent signee Edwin Jackson, up close.

The evening ended with an autograph hunt game that saw players, prospects and alumni scattered all over the Convention hall. Top prospects Matt Szczur and Javier Baez joined us at the Vine Line booth.

The Convention starts back up tomorrow morning with the Ricketts Family Forum at 9 a.m.

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