The 2012 Chicago Cubs Convention kicks off today, and I’ll be heading out shortly. Personal goal: shake Theo Epstein’s hand. Second personal goal: shake Theo Epstein’s hand without involuntarily evacuating my bladder. Third personal goal: tell Theo Epstein he’s doing a swell job. Fourth personal goal: kick self for saying “swell” to Theo Epstein.
- Carlos Zambrano says the trade to Miami feels to him like the rebirth of his career. He also acknowledges that it was a rough couple years in Chicago. “My time with the Cubs was very successful except for the last two years,” he said. “But I would say there were 11 years of success and would like to be remembered well in Chicago. Unfortunately the last two years there was no mutual understanding on either side and many things happened.”
- Jon Greenberg offers an interesting take on the Convention, and suggests that fans are likely to boo Alfonso Soriano. I know that booing players has become an even more common occurrence at the ballpark in recent years, and I know it’s happened at the Convention. But if fans boo Alfonso Soriano this year, I will be supremely disappointed. The guy didn’t just jog to first on a fly ball, or take a terrible route on an outfield liner. It’s the offseason, and he’s a Cubs player who works as hard as anyone. What possible reason could you have to boo Soriano, the man? (Greenberg also says Theo Epstein’s panel will be “fawning/nerd-centric,” which, like *raises hand*).
- Speaking of Soriano, at present, he projects – according to some – be the Cubs’ cleanup hitter in 2012. Eek. Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo is optimistic. “He gained some confidence that will help him become even better this year,’’ Jaramillo said. “And working on his two-strike approach and better on-base percentage, I think it’s a big year for him.”
- At a Cubs Caravan stop yesterday, Epstein told a young boy who asked if the Cubs will break the curse: “We can break it. If we stick together, if we have a plan, if we support each other, if we keep focused on what’s best as a team, and not what’s best for the individual, if we work really hard, if we prepare really hard, someday we can turn this thing around, and yeah, we can win.” That’s just swell. Crap. Gotta get that out of my system.
- A Cubs Caravan stop featured kids asking funny questions and saying adorable things.
- A PR pro says that, when introduced at the Convention, Starlin Castro should briefly acknowledge the sexual assault allegations situation, say that he can’t discuss it, and then take only baseball questions. Sounds like a good plan to me.
- Individual Cubs tickets aren’t on sale until March, but starting January 20, you can buy nine-game ticket packs (similar to what the Cubs did last year). You pick from a few premium games, and then fill out your package from the rest.
- BN Convention details here, if you missed it yesterday.