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Cubs Convention 2005: Pictorial

Monday, January 24, 2005

Warning: This post has lots of pictures and may take a while to load.

I traveled north to Chicago this past weekend with the intent of being a 'Cub Reporter' for the weekend... but the weekend didn't start all that well.

On Thursday night, I spent the evening at my parents with the intent of finishing up my Cubs convention memories. When I tried to dial up their ISP, I couldn't get online. My father had apparently decided to change providers and get DSL... only I needed an internet connection this weekend. So, the Cub Reporter in me took a hit.


On Friday, I drove over to the Hilton in Chicago and got there about 2:40 p.m. I snapped this self-portrait to record the fact that I was quite happy to be at the Cubs convention.

Happy to be at my fifth Cubs Convention

I waited in line with several hundred folks to get a grab bag full of goodies from last year, but by the time I got within earshot of the front table, the grab bags were gone. I didn't feel any great loss as they were $20. With the grab bags gone, I went touring the exhibition halls full of Cubs memorabilia. Baseball cards, jerseys, posters, pictures, shot glasses, you name it. Plaster a Cubs logo on it, mark it up 250% and sell it at the Cubs Convention. Anyhow, tomorrow's post will be all about some of the more unique items I saw while shopping around.

Towards the end of my walk around the exhibition halls, I spotted my first ball-player. Sammy was standing in one of the shops, looking a bit lonely.

Sammy wanted to take pictures with the fans.

The post-it note says 'Take a picture with me $2, buy me $30.' When I went looking for sales on Sunday, Sammy was still standing out there.

So after running into Sammy, I started back upstairs for the opening ceremonies. On the way, I walked by Gary Pressy, the Cubs organist who was busily making music for the fans.


I got up to the Grand Ballroom about thirty minutes before the opening ceremonies started, but the place was already packed. My rookie status as an opening ceremony attendee became evident when the ceremony started. I had taken a spot right at the front , but beneath the balcony on the side of the room. When everyone was announced, they all walked above my head and I couldn't see anything.

Anyhow, I'm getting ahead of myself. While waiting for the ceremony to start, Jim Hendry came strolling by on his cell phone, and I snapped this shot of his back.

Jim Hendry on his Cell Phone

After the opening ceremonies, I decided to wait in one line all weekend. I was looking to kill some time when, to my great amazement, the line to take a picture with Andre Dawson was rather short. So, I got in line to take a picture with my favorite Cubs right fielder. Unfortunately, the digital camera I was using didn't do so well on the resolution, but here I am with 'The Hawk.'


I finished the night up with a little Cubs B-I-N-G-O which was incredibly dumb, and with thousands of people playing, I didn't stand much of a chance of winning.

I left Cubs Bingo a little early and wandered over to the WGN Sports Central show they were broadcasting live. Unfortunately, while trying to get plastic bingo chips to line up in a row, I had missed the Jim Hendry and Dusty Baker interviews.

Furthering the disappointment, Ryno didn't show up for his segment, and I left 10 minutes early to make sure I beat the rush out the door.

At this point, I got to drive home through a driving snow-storm on unpaved highways at about 30 MPH.


As convention attendees know, the real action happens on Saturday. I was especially excited to see Jim Hendry's session and ask a few questions. However, I hit the snooze button on the alarm clock and slept in.

Adding insult to injury, I got on the road about 8:15 for the convention (which started at 9:00 a.m.) and it took me 20 minutes to get five miles north. During that time, my car started sliding every which way on the still unpaved roads. When WGN informed me that travel times would be about four times as long as typical, and that all 6 lanes of I-65 were blocked due to an accident in the north-bound lane and emergency vehicles in the south-bound lane... I took the hint... stopped for a cup of hot-chocolate and returned home.

It was Saturday of the convention. I was supposed to meet several members of the Cubs Blog Army for lunch, and I was stuck at home. &%^*.

I ended up doing accounting homework. &%^*.


I got up quite early on Sunday determined as heck that I would make it to the convention. The roads were better except for a five mile stretch of I-94 where traffic slowed to about 25 MPH.

I still got to the convention on time and sat in on the Cubs operations management panel.

The panel included John McDonough, the Cubs VP of marketing, Frank Maloney the director of ticket operations and Mark McGuire, the VP of business operations.

The presentation began with a quick slide show of some drawings and plans for Wrigley Field. I had seen most of these drawings at one point in the Tribune. Then there were questions and answers. I asked a few questions, but that post will come later this week.

After the operations panel, I waited around for the 'Down on the Farm' panel MC'ed by a very hoarse Dave Otto. This panel included Jason Dubois, Jon Leicester, Oneri Fleita (farm system director), and John Stockstill (scouting director). Most of the questions were directed at Fleita and Stockstill who were both impressive in my opinion. Fleita appears to have a very firm grasp on what is going on in the farm system.

Again, I asked some questions, but that will be covered later this week. After these two sessions, the organized events for the convention were over. I went strolling through the exhibition halls looking for good sales, but didn't find anything that picqued my interest for the $5 I had left in my pocket.

Posted by Byron at January 24, 2005 5:57 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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