Best laid plans.
As you may have detected, the Cubs Convention this year is absolutely packed. We knew it would be pretty busy, being that it was a sell out, but, unlike a ballpark that has X number of seats, it was hard to know what a “sell out” in this instance would mean, in terms of body volume. So far, it has seemed like the Convention space is accommodating all of the people well enough, with one exception: the panels. Even when there were panels going on simultaneously, the rooms were still standing room only (and you had to fight even for that), with people spilling out into the hallways. Switching rooms to go panel to panel was not easy.
Being that my priority is to cover the panels, that has made things a little tricky compared to previous years. Moreover, my plan was to live blog the panels on my laptop … which couldn’t get any wi-fi, and my tethered phone could almost never get a signal because of the sheer volume of people. I did the best I could with the panels yesterday (takes here and here), but I’ll have to use this as a learning experience for what I can realistically do live, and what I can’t, next year.
In some ways, it was a good problem to have: tons of people so excited about the Cubs that they’re crammed into standing-room-only space so they can hear Lester Strode joke about the instructions he gets from fans near the bullpen. That underscores the excitement in the fandom right now.
Today wraps the Convention up with just a couple more panels – one is a look back on 30 years at CubsCon, and the other is a look “down on the farm” with the scouting and player development staff. Depending on internet and my travel needs (I head home today), I may not have panel bits from today up immediately.
For now, Bullets …
- Oh, one more Convention thing that I want to put up front: thank you so much to everyone who has gone out of their way to come say hello (and to those of you who have been wearing BN shirts – you blew me away!). It has been a blast meeting you very kind – too kind! – folks, and it’s been the absolute highlight of my weekend. It’s also been very humbling. I appreciate that you let me and this place be a part of your lives.
- The big news from the Convention was the confirmation that the bleachers will not be open for Opening Day (sad panda), and, moreover, they will not be fully open until late May. Left field and center field should be available by mid-May, with right field taking a couple weeks more. I’ll have to find a temporary new home for games in April and May. In the end, as much as it’s a bummer – and could be a little embarrassing for the Opening Night Game on ESPN – it would be insane to rush to get things done for a handful of games when you’re trying to build a bleacher section to last 50 years. The Cubs don’t need any more crumbling concrete ten years from now.
- Jon Lester is not into the idea of a pitch clock (ESPN), which is making its way to AA and AAA this season.
- If you’re looking for excellent recaps of the panels from yesterday, I recommending checking out Vine Line’s blog, because they’ve got a great write-up on the main panels.
- I also highly recommend reading this first day (first time) Convention take from Nathan Barnett, the very cool radio broadcaster for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Cubs’ new High-A affiliate. I got to chat with Nathan quite a bit on Friday, and he’s a good dude, and genuinely excited to be in the Cubs’ world now. There were all kinds of functional reasons to appreciate the affiliation swap, but it’s looking like Cubs fans lucked out by also picking up a really great group of people associated with the Pelicans.
- WAR isn’t perfect, but, you know, this:
Without using the concept of replacement level, compare a league average 200-IP SP to a league average hitter who only hits as DH. #Crickets
— Tangotiger (@tangotiger) January 18, 2015
- I’ll have an actual write-up of the moves when the schedule permits – the Convention always throws everything off – but, be advised, the Cubs have reportedly made a couple notable minor league signings in pitchers Daniel Bard and Francisley Bueno.