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.
  • Mike Foster

    Brett have a great Convention, those of us out of state will be waiting for Tweets and pix.

    • Brett

      Thanks, MF. That’s the plan!

  • Still Love the Cubs

    As excited as you are to see Theo, I’m pretty sure there will be at least one BN’er who “involuntarily evacuates his bladder” upon meeting the one and only Brett Taylor!!

    • Brett

      I can only hope.

  • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

    I’m going to petition the Cubs to move the convention to N.C. next year. Or where ever I’m living.(I move so much. Brooklyn, Atlanta, Maryland, D.C., Tampa and of my hometown, Greensboro, N.C. in 10 yrs.) Nice Golf courses here in N.C., not as cold. Brett, talk to Theo for me.

    • Brett

      I’ll be on it.

  • Magilljl

    Ill also be heading that way momentarily. Enjoy!!

    • Brett

      Right on, man.

  • Fishin Phil

    Have a great time Brett and everyone else who attends!

    P.S. If Soriano hits any higher than 6th in the lineup, I’m gonna cry.

    • Brett

      Thanks, Phil.

  • Gcheezpuff

    Hope you have a swell time.

    • Brett

      Will do, smart guy.

  • Tommy

    Have a blast Brett and BNer’s attending the convention!

    I hope Soriano does hit cleanup, I hope Soriano has an awesome first half while batting cleanup, I hope Soriano gets traded at the deadline because of how well he played in the first half while batting cleanup!

    I know that’s a long shot, but we gotta hope!

    In other news: I hope he doesn’t get booed, either. He’s still a Cub, and he’s always been very fan friendly. I like the guy and hope he finishes his career strong. Just not as a Cubbie.

    • ncsujuri

      Tommy, great post and I agree wholeheartedly that Sori hitting clean-up and absolutely mashing would be the best thing for us.  As the roster stands right now I am not sure who would be the clean-up hittier but he is as likely a candidate given his ‘past performance’

      RF DeJesus, SS Castro, CF Byrd, LF Soriano, 1B LaHair, 3B Stewart, C Soto, 2B Barney, P

      • dob2812

        Geovany Soto is in very much the wrong place there, ncsujuri. He should probably be no. 4 or 5. He should certainly not be hitting below Ian Stewart.

        • hardtop

          sadly, i agree with that. i have low expectations for Stewart, and I’m afraid he may disappoint even me. I think its likely we’ll see a lot of Dewitt after, say, May. I hope I’m wrong. Theo makes almost 70 times more money than me, so hopefully he knows what hes doing. I’ve reviewed the analysis of Stewart and I guess there’s at least an outside chance he doesn’t stink as much as i think he does.

    • Brett

      Thanks, Tommy.

  • MontelleW

    Hey Brett! Don’t forget to bring Theo a Starbucks Coffee! :)

    • Brett

      For his wife, you mean.

      • MontelleW

        Yes, and come to think of it – I seem to remember Theo saying he preferred Dunkin’ Donuts coffee LOL

      • hardtop

        that’s right, the coffee was for the wife… you need to give Theo the banana, slung, artfully, in the official Bleacher Nation Banana Hammock.

  • Daniel Guerra

    You’ll do a swell job Brett!

    • Brett

      Thanks. Swell, indeed.

  • Stephen

    Holy cow! I just looked at that projected opening day line up listed by ncsujuri

    RF DeJesus, SS Castro, CF Byrd, LF Soriano, 1B LaHair, 3B Stewart, C Soto, 2B Barney, P

    That’s…that’s not good.

  • Hastin

    Brett, swell site! Been following it for a year. Sometimes I wish I had never found it. I check it all day at work! My wife just shakes her head and says “Again”? Me and my oldest bleed Cubbie Blue down here in “Mayberry” Va. Have swell time at the convention.

    • Brett

      Haha. Thanks, Hastin.

  • Katie

    Pack your Depends and pee freely. I wish I could be there but I’m looking forward to the tweets if you have time to keep us in the loop. Have fun and be safe!

  • Brett

    Flight is … Delayed. No surprise given the weather. It better be a short delay. I’m too amped to wait for long.

    • Dave H

      Things are cleared up around here, Brett. You’ll be whooping it up in Chi-town in no time. Have fun Brett!

  • Mike In Southern IL

    Enjoy your time at the convention!

    I just wish they would pick up one good addition to the roster for this year. Oh well.

  • BD

    Anybody else read the Zambrano bullet and think “Does this guy think we DIDN’T watch his stupidity for the last few years?” Who is he trying to kid, with his “no mutual understanding on both sides”? Gimme a break.

    • NL_Cubs

      I guess he thinks “we stinks”

    • Edwin

      Eh, I can see where Zambrano is coming from. The team didn’t do Zambrano too many favors the past couple years, especially when they put him in a bullpen role.

      • JasonB

        He didn’t do us any favors either with his immature rants and his lack of ability to remain composed on the hill.

        • Edwin

          Yep. That’s why he said mutual.

    • JulioZuleta

      Anybody else who read that think there’s no way he actually wrote that? A guy doesn’t go from “we stinks” to “I would like to be remembered well” and “there waas no mutual understanding”.

  • hardtop

    off to see the wizard? why would ozzie smith be at the cubs convention?

    …he can do a back hand spring into my fist…

  • Spoda17

    I know how we all feel about Soriano… but please do not boo him…I’ve always felt booing was low class anyway. If there’s one thing you do hear about Sori is that he is a very good teammate.

  • tex134

    No need to boo Soriano – if you want to boo someone, boo the man that gave him the contract. Sorianos year wasn’t all that bad.

  • Brett

    After multiple delays we land, only to find our jet bridge broken (Pilot: “This has never happened to me before.”). So we can’t get off the plane. Total time eaten so far (non-legit travel time): 1.75 hours. And counting.

    • TWC

      Um… emergency slide? Just a thought.

    • NL_Cubs
  • Fishin Phil

    (Pilot: “This has never happened to me before.”)

    Sounds like every computer tech I have ever talked to.  Hang in there Brett.

    • MontelleW

      Hey now, Phil! I am an IT professional! I don’t use phrases like that LOL Instead you say will it work now, and I respond with “As far as you know” or “It SHOULD” LOL

      • Fishin Phil

        Then you are familiar with one of my favorite acronyms: PEBKAC.

    • hardtop

      yeah, why are all “it professionals” the same guy?

  • MontelleW

    @Phil – that and the infamouse ID10T Error as well LOL. @Hardtop – our behaviour is trained into us from experience in dealing with users all day long!
    If you want to see some funny IT Humor though, watch ‘The IT Crowd’ on IFC network sometime(also available on iTunes) – all of my dept staff watches and loves it!

  • Mike In Southern IL

    Not to be confused with the famous PICNIC error…problem in chair not in computer…

    • MontelleW

      I like that one!! – gonna have to borrow it!

  • bob

    If we’re going with the thought of Soriano moving up in the lineup, I think he should hit #3. From his former leadoff days, he likes having that first inning at-bat, and Byrd, for all of his good points, was terrible with runners on base last year. If we get any production out of cleanup, Sori should see more fastballs, and who knows? May be worth a shot.