The 2013 Cubs Convention is one week away, and I’m getting pretty excited. Last evening, the Cubs released more complete details on all the goings on, although the precise schedule hasn’t yet been released.
A reminder for those who’ll be around and want to meet up: Friday night (time undetermined, but, you know, night-time), we’ll be hanging at Timothy O’Toole’s, a bar approximately three blocks from the Sheraton, where the Convention is being held. Saturday night, we’ll be hanging at a bar in the hotel for those who were unable to get out the night before. And, obviously, I hope to see many of you throughout the weekend at the sessions, other events, and just walking around the hotel.
As for the Convention details, you can see them in the full press release below. I couldn’t say it much better myself, so I won’t even try.
More than 75 featured guests comprising of the current Cubs roster and coaching staff, alumni and Minor Leaguers will interact with fans at the new-look 2013 Cubs Convention, Jan. 18-20 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. The 28th Annual Cubs Convention will feature more than 100 photo and autograph opportunities, new activities and traditional favorites during the three-day event.
The Opening Ceremony is scheduled to begin Friday, Jan. 18, at 5 p.m., featuring player and alumni introductions on a red carpet runway that will provide special VIP access to children 16-and-under. Following the Opening Ceremony, guests will find some of their favorite Cubs throughout the hotel for an exciting Autograph Hunt Game. The evening will conclude with long-time Cubs Convention favorite Cubs Bingo, led by Wayne Messmer, as well as live radio broadcasts of WGN Sports Night.
Saturday’s program continues the gaming fun with the return of Cubs Jeopardy, which pits alumni pitchers Milt Pappas, Scott Sanderson, Lee Smith and Rick Sutcliffe against alumni position players Jose Cardenal, Jody Davis, Randy Hundley and Todd Walker. Cubs Family Feud makes its Cubs Convention debut Saturday afternoon, as Cubs alumni Bobby Dernier, Jon Lieber, Gary Matthews and Billy Williams take on current Cubs Michael Bowden, Shawn Camp, Brett Jackson and Ian Stewart.
Fans can meet many of the club’s offseason acquisitions at a “Meet the New Cubs” session featuring pitchers Scott Baker, Scott Feldman, Edwin Jackson, catcher Dioner Navarro and outfielder Nate Schierholtz, hosted by new television analyst Jim Deshaies and play-by-play broadcaster Len Kasper.
Additional Saturday sessions include:
• “Ricketts Family Forum,” featuring Tom, Laura, Pete and Todd Ricketts speaking with Len Kasper and fans about their experience as team owners over the past three years.
• “Meet Cubs Baseball Management,” featuring President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, Executive Vice President/General Manager Jed Hoyer, Assistant General Manager Randy Bush, Assistant General Manager Shiraz Rehman and Manager Dale Sveum speaking about the club’s recent moves and what lies ahead for the 2013 season.
• “From Draft Day to the Big Leagues,” featuring Cubs Minor League prospects Dallas Beeler, Matt Szczur, Robert Whitenack and Tony Zych discussing what it’s like to get drafted by the Chicago Cubs and advance through the Minor Leagues.
• “Dale Sveum and the Coaching Staff,” featuring the Cubs Manager, Bench Coach Jamie Quirk, Hitting Coach James Rowson, Assistant Hitting Coach Rob Deer, Bullpen Coach Lester Strode, First Base Coach Dave McKay and Third Base Coach David Bell speaking with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies about what’s in store during the staff’s second year.
• “For Kids Only Press Conference, presented by Advocate Health Care,” featuring a unique Q-and-A session where only kids can ask the questions to Darwin Barney, David DeJesus, Brooks Raley, Anthony Rizzo and Chris Rusin.
• “Renew Wrigley Field,” featuring Cubs executives discussing ideas to preserve and renew iconic Wrigley Field based on input from Cubs fans, Season Ticket Holders and the community.
• “Not for Women Only,” making its return to the Convention, featuring Scott Baker, Scott Feldman, Matt Garza, James Russell and Travis Wood discussing their personal sides and lives off the field.
• “WGN Radio’s Sports Central,” a live broadcast with WGN Radio’s Jim Memolo and Glen Kozlowski featuring segments with David DeJesus and Matt Garza; Darwin Barney and Jeff Samardzija; Tony Campana and Starlin Castro; and Brett Jackson, Edwin Jackson and Anthony Rizzo.
Sunday’s program features two panel sessions to close out the Convention:
• “Down on the Farm,” featuring Senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod, Director of Pro Scouting Joe Bohringer and Director of Player Development Brandon Hyde joined by Chris Rusin and Josh Vitters giving a breakdown of the Cubs Minor League teams from Iowa down to Mesa.
• “Stat Sundays,” with broadcasters Jim Deshaies, Len Kasper and WGN’s Bob Vorwald offering insight into the statistics they analyze and feature during Stats Sundays throughout the season.
In addition to the sessions highlighted above, the Convention includes many new and returning activities throughout the weekend for fans:
• Rookie of the Year Movie Night, presented by Cubs Kids Club, makes its Cubs Convention program debut, allowing fans to eat popcorn and relax with family and friends Saturday evening while watching the popular film, Rookie of the Year.
• Chicago Cubs Sock Hop is a Saturday fan favorite that keeps attendees dancing until midnight.
• Walgreens Field is a new miniature turf diamond that gives kids a fun place to practice batting, 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 fans of all ages throughout the weekend.
• Comcast SportsNet Chicago is giving fans the chance to test their play-by-play broadcasting skills in a custom-built Fantasy Broadcasting Booth. Guests will call a pre-recorded play in the booth, then download a recorded copy of their work for keeps.
• MLB Network’s Strike Zone allows fans to test their arm speed and win prizes at an inflatable speed pitch.
• MLB.com’s “Bucks on the Pond” trivia game combines contestants’ knowledge with Major League Baseball game play to determine who will win some big league bucks.
•The Sony PlayStation Gaming Zone gives attendees a chance to take a break from the action to play MLB 12 The Show at one of several Sony PS3 kiosks.
• LEGOLAND® Discovery Center returns with an area dedicated for families to exercise their creativity with the small building blocks.
• The Blue Bunny Bucket Toss gives kids a chance to win ice cream prizes in a fun bucket toss game.
• American Girl’s Activity Area features activities inspired by American Girl dolls and the chance to win a new doll and book.
• The Chicago Sun-Times Photo Kiosk lets fans have their picture taken for the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times with customizable headlines that make for a memorable souvenir.
Fans can learn about or contribute to the history of the Cubs franchise in collaboration with team archivists. Historical pieces of memorabilia will be on hand for viewing, and guests can receive professional tips on how to preserve their own valuable keepsakes. Attendees are invited to share their personal stories with a video crew that may be used in future promotions or publications. The team is also accepting founding donations to the Chicago Cubs Archives, with accepted donations to be officially recognized by the team. Assets will not be appraised for monetary value or purchase.
The Cubs are seeking the following items from years past:
• Uniforms and equipment, such as jerseys, gloves, bats and balls
• Ballpark and grounds materials, such as seating charts, packaging and employee uniforms
• Signage, such as banners and flags
• Recognitions, honors and awards
• Game day and event tickets or parking passes
• Commemorative objects and promotions, such as bobbleheads, pennants, hats and shirts
• A wide variety of Cubs memorabilia will be available for sale or auction from Cubs Authentics, Chicago Cubs Charities and a selection of third party vendors.
Limited individual weekend passes for the 2013 Cubs Convention remain available for $60 per pass plus convenience fees. Passes are available for purchase by visiting www.cubs.com/convention or calling 1-800-THE-CUBS.
A percentage of the proceeds from Cubs Convention benefits Chicago Cubs Charities. To date, Cubs Convention has raised approximately $4 million for Chicago Cubs Charities.