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2014 Cubs ConventionThe 2014 Chicago Cubs Convention starts on Friday, January 17, and the Cubs have revealed the current list of attendees, as well as the schedule of events.

Among the guys expected to be active roster types to open the year, the scheduled attendees include: Jake Arrieta, Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo, Starlin Castro, Kyuji Fujikawa, Justin Grimm, Edwin Jackson, George Kottaras, Junior Lake, Donnie Murphy, Blake Parker, Brooks Raley, Anthony Rizzo, Hector Rondon, Justin Ruggiano, Chris Rusin, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Nate Schierholtz, Pedro Strop, Ryan Sweeney, Luis Valbuena, Carlos Villanueva, Jose Veras, Travis Wood, and Wesley Wright.

And, among the prospecty types, the scheduled attendees include: Arismendy Alcantara, Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, C.J. Edwards, Kyle Hendricks, Pierce Johnson, Eric Jokisch, Mike Olt, Neil Ramirez, Armando Rivero, Rubi Silva, Jorge Soler, Christian Villanueva and Arodys Vizcaino.

If you’re looking for early guesses on the guys who will be attending the Cubs’ development camp thing (if they’re doing it again this year for prospects who are close to the Majors – based on one of the events below, sounds like it’s happening), there’s your list. No huge surprises, and it’s a great group for fans to get to see.

As for the schedule, with some thoughts from me where appropriate …

Friday, Jan. 17

6-7 p.m. CT: Opening ceremony – if it’s like last year, there’s a pump-up video and then current and former Cubs enter to applause in a red carpet style thing (where the kids get to be right up front for high fives).

7-10 p.m.: The David Kaplan Show – Kaplan will probably have on some players and management.

7:15-8 p.m.: Autograph Hunt Game – From the Cubs.com description: “Study the map given out at the end of the Opening Ceremony and find the Cubs logos to start collecting. You never know who you’ll find, from favorite Cubs alumni to future Cubs stars.”

8-10 p.m.: A sneak peek at ‘100 Years of Wrigley Field’ – Again, from Cubs.com: “The movie takes a look back at Wrigley’s history from 1914 to today through testimonials from former Cubs, celebrities and historians. This exclusive premiere will feature a memorable introduction.”

(Non-official event: I, and whatever other folks wish to hang out, will be at a nearby bar – probably Lizzie McNeil’s – for drinks and stories and general revelry at some point in the evening. More details as the date approaches.)

Saturday, Jan. 18

9-10 a.m.: Ricketts Family Forum – the Ricketts Family will discuss the Cubs, and take questions and answers. Always a must-attend.

10-11 a.m.: Meet the Cubs Baseball Management – And then sprint over to the next must-attend, because Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Randy Bush and Shiraz Rehman will do the same kind of panel.

10:30-11:30 a.m.: Jeopardy, “Wrigley Field 100″ – From the Cubs.com description: “Pat Hughes and Dave Otto will host the special edition. All clues will be based around the history of the balpark. Each team of players will choose a fan to participate with them.”

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Scouting & Player Development – A baseball nerd’s delight, featuring Jason McLeod, Jaron Madison, Joe Bohringer, and Matt Dorey.

12-1 p.m.: Meet the Rookie Development Program – A group of “top prospects” will talk about things and stuff. I might swoon.

12:45-1:45 p.m.: For Kids Only Press Conference – Kids will be the ones asking the questions, featuring Jake Arrieta, Darwin Barney, Anthony Rizzo, Nate Schierholtz and Travis Wood. Whatever you do, don’t train your five-year-old to ask Anthony Rizzo why he’s opposed to hitting in the two-hole or why Jake Arrieta strikes out so few batters despite having devastating stuff.

1:30-2:30 p.m.: Cubs Business Operations Update – The money panel, both figuratively and literally. This is the one that could bear some news, if there’s any to be borne. From the Cubs.com description: “Investing in the long term success of Cubs baseball requires continued growth from all areas of the organization. Hear directly from Cubs management on initiatives underway to grow the amount of resources available for baseball operations, improve the fan experience, and support the Wrigleyville community. Fans will receive updates on the efforts to restore and improve Wrigley Field, the future of Cubs television and radio partnerships and new business opportunities.”

2-3 p.m.: Not for Women Only – From the Cubs.com description: “WGN Radio’s Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey join Russell, Samardzija, Strop and Sweeney in a question and answer session.”

3-4 p.m.: Welcome the New Skipper – The fans’ first real exposure to new manager Rick Renteria and his staff.

4-6 p.m.: WGN Radio’s Sports Central –  Jim Memolo and Glen Kozlowski do a live broadcast.

4:30-5:30 p.m.: Cubs Family Feud – From the Cubs.com description: “Back for its second year with an updated structure is a Cubs version of the hit game show. One fan will be selected to participate with each team.”

6:30-7:30 p.m.: Celebrating 100 Years of Wrigley Field – From the Cubs.com description: “This season promises to be special as Cubs fans celebrate 100 years in Wrigley Field history. Public address announcer Andrew Belleson, scoreboard operator Rick Fuhs, historian Ed Hartig, radio play-by-play broadcaster Pat Hughes, television broadcaster Len Kasper and senior director of marketing Alison Miller will take part.”

8-10 p.m.: Cubs Bingo – Cubs bingo.

Sunday, Jan. 19

9-10 a.m.: 30-year Anniversary of the 1984 Team – Remembering the 1984 Cubs.

10:30-11:30 a.m.: Down on the Farm – Always a favorite. Jason McLeod and Jaron Madison will lead the way, with Justin Grimm and Blake Parker as the two players. Interesting choices. Parker will have a great perspective, having worked his way all the way up the chain. Grimm, on the other hand, just joined the organization in July in the Matt Garza trade.

  • David

    84 cubbies. My favorite. Happy Anniversary Daily Double, Sut, Penquin, Jody, Zonk, Thad, Dallas, Smitty, … Wishing very very bad things to Garvey. He can go scratch.

    • JM

      Cey? He’s not a been a regular. I’ve got an “84” ball with most of the guys from that year (the year I really became a die hard). Don’t have Cey!

  • David

    I think Garvey should be invited to the convention so the fans can takes turns throwing stuff at him.

    • Edwin

      That’s exactly how you should pitch it to him. I’m sure he’d be thrilled.

  • JAllman

    Good warning about prepping children to ask hard hitting questions at “For Kids Only”. Sadly, I made that mistake several years ago. I regret it but must admit the look on Bobby Hill’s face was priceless.

  • Kyle

    I’d love for this to be the year the fans just turned on the front office and ownership at the convention, but I think they’ve still got a reasonably firm grip on the PR situation.

  • JM

    I love the convention. Didn’t go last year, so I don’t know the layout of the new place. Anyone have any insights?

    • CubbiesOHCubbies

      It’s actually a very simple layout. It is spread over 4 floors, all stacked on each other with escalators along the south end. Lowest floor was merchandise, concessions and a few autograph stages. Take the escalators up one floor to a couple restaurants, a memorabilia museum and cubs charity silent raffle. Up one more floor is the main lobby and bar. One floor above that is the ball rooms where panels are held, autograph stages, cubs bingo, radio broadcasts, and movie. At least this is how it was last year if I am remembering correctly. I will be there this year, but I doubt I will have a story that tops my Ernie Banks story with my daughter from last year. Enjoy yourself if you go. It is a nice setup. Also, for what it’s worth. We were hanging out by the lobby about 5 pm on the Saturday of the convention and all the minor league players were leaving the convention. We got autographs from Ha, Baez and a few of the pitchers with no fan fare or lines.

      • JM

        Awesome description. Thank you. I’ve been to about 12-14 different conventions, all at the Hilton. Sounds fairly similar. At the Hilton, there were pocket locations that the players would come out of to get to their destinations. I knew where they all were. I feel lost this year.

        You mentioned players leaving… well they have to come back too. Gotten lots of players on their way back in, but that’s usually around midnight-1:00. If you’re going out to dinner, there’s usually players to be found at Harry Carry’s, plus the food’s pretty good.

        • CubbiesOHCubbies

          The minor leaguers that we saw leaving were leaving for good. They all had luggage and the woman who was with them mentioned to us that Baez could only sign a few more because his car was thee to get him to the airport. We also witnessed Carlos marmol leaving late Saturday night, which we thought was weird since he had an autograph session the next morning. We came to find out the next morning that he was butt hurt about the attempted trade to Anaheim so he just left. Fortunately Fergie Jenkins took his autograph slot. I’m sure the dans were much happier anyways.

        • CubbiesOHCubbies

          There was also a Cubs function Saturday night at Shulas Steakhouse last year where we saw front office guys and some of the legends like milt papas, Jody Davis lee smith etc going through the lobby. The lobby seems to be a good spot to catch these guys just hanging out prior yo their evening plans.

      • Diehardthefirst

        I talked to Ernie one and only time I was there and he was so optimistic that it hurt- I liked the black and white film footage which was before PED and noticeably players looked human. Wish I could go again but too crowded for me now

  • mtcubfan

    Brett

    This will be my first Cubs Convention, albeit only Saturday and Sunday. I am travelling from Montana to see my son’s play so unfortunately the play’s (Solstice) opening night is Friday. I hope you will have another informal gathering at a near by drinking hole on Saturday. I am excited to be able to add to my bucket list “attending a Cubs Convention”. I hope there are some good insights in reply to JM’s inquiry.

    Paul

  • http://www.twitter.com/justinjabs @justinjabs

    Super pumped. See you all there.

  • http://BleacherNation blewett

    Taking the train up from southern Illinois Friday morning. This will be my first Cubs Convention, as well.

  • Forlines

    12:45-1:45 p.m.: For Kids Only Press Conference – Kids will be the ones asking the questions, featuring Jake Arrieta, Darwin Barney, Anthony Rizzo, Nate Schierholtz and Travis Wood. Whatever you do, don’t train your five-year-old to ask Anthony Rizzo why he’s opposed to hitting in the two-hole or why Jake Arrieta strikes out so few batters despite having devastating stuff.

    Awesome. I want to have a kid (no, I really don’t) just so I could be ‘THAT’ guy. haha

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