In case you’re headed to the 2011 Cubs Convention, beginning January 14, or in case you’re thinking of going, here’s a top-heavy sampling of what you can expect (aside from meeting your favorite players, like, um, that guy there to the right):
Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins plus Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundley, Milt Pappas and Jose Cardenal will share some of their favorite stories in a session titled “Remembering Ronnie” on Jan. 15. The former Cubs will celebrate Santo, who died Dec. 3 at the age of 70.
The Jan. 15 schedule opens with the “Ricketts Family Forum,” giving Cubs fans a chance to ask Tom, Laura, Pete and Todd Ricketts about the team and hear about plans for the future. Maddux, who is a special assistant to general manager Jim Hendry, will join Hendry, assistant general manager Randy Bush and manager Mike Quade in a “Meet Cubs Baseball Management” session.
Other seminars include:
• “Pitching Evolution:” Wood, Cashner, Randy Wells, Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija and new pitching coach Mark Riggins will explain the art of being a starting pitcher, setup man and closer, the differences between the roles, and the pressures and rewards that come with each.
• “The Q Factor:” Quade and his coaching staff, including Riggins, Rudy Jaramillo, Lester Strode, Ivan DeJesus, Bob Dernier and Dave Keller, will discuss their techniques and philosophies heading into the 2011 season.
• “The Dominican Way of Life:” Aramis Ramirez, Starlin Castro, Carlos Peña and player development director Oneri Fleita will talk about their transition from the Dominican Republic to the United States. Fleita also will discuss how the organization scouts and develops international players for the U.S.
• “Down on the Farm:” Player development director Oneri Fleita and scouting director Tim Wilken will lead a session about the young players in the system and future Cubs. In an earlier seminar Jan. 16, Tyler Colvin, James Russell, Darwin Barney and Scott Maine will talk about making the adjustment from the Minors to the big leagues. cubs.com.
The bits that jump out at me are Jeff Samardzija discussing transitioning roles, which we all know he’s not very happy about, and the Cubs discussing Dominican baseball and development, which is probably in response to some less-than-flattering articles that were written about the subject last year.
Passes are still available at that link above.