The 32nd Annual Cubs Convention is this weekend in Chicago, and, in addition to me wandering around somewhere or another, there’s set to be a healthy list of Cubs and Cubs-adjacent folks in attendance:
The attendance list for this weekend's Cubs Convention (plus me! somewhere! walking around! probably facing my phone!). pic.twitter.com/UZafyWsmMX
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) January 9, 2017
I’m tripped up every year, but in my initial scan of the list, I don’t immediately see anyone missing that I would have otherwise expected to see, except for Tommy La Stella. Try not to speculate on his absence – there are often completely mundane travel-related reasons – but I’ll understand if folks have questions, given what happened last year.
The Convention opens Friday night with a pump-you-up ceremony, followed by an extremely unofficial gathering of fans, writers, and thirst-quenchers at Lizzie McNeill’s (a bar next to the Sheraton, where the Convention is held). I’ll be there covering the opening ceremony as best I can (in years past, the cell service with so many people packed into an area has been spotty), and I hope to see many of you in attendance at the ceremony or bar thereafter.
On Saturday, there’s typically a full-day slate of panels with coaches, execs, business staff, and players, and I’ll be covering those panels for those who cannot attend. Sunday usually also has a panel or two.
From the Cubs’ release on the Convention:
Fans will welcome back players and coaches from the 2016 World Series Championship team at the 32nd annual Cubs Convention this week, January 13-15, 2017, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. The 2017 Cubs Convention will include autograph opportunities, new panel discussions, enhanced activities, photos with the World Series Trophy and traditional fan favorites during the three-day weekend.
Cubs Convention’s Opening Ceremony begins Friday, January 13, at 6 p.m., kicking off the weekend with player introductions on an elevated runway that will provide special VIP access for children 16-and-under. Following the Opening Ceremony, guests will find some of their favorite Cubs and young prospects conducting exciting surprise autograph signings. The event’s first day concludes with a special Friday Night with Ryan Dempster show, presented by Budweiser, featuring interviews with Cubs players, coaches and alumni and comedy vignettes.
Saturday’s program continues with fan favorites such as the return of Cubs Jeopardy, which features unique trivia with Cubs alumni. Popular reoccurring Saturday sessions will be back, including Baseball Operations, Cubs Business Operations Update, Joe Maddon & His Coaching Staff, Kids Only Press Conference presented by Advocate Children’s Hospital and Ricketts Family. New to Saturday’s line-up will be On the Mound presented by Wintrust, All-Star Infield presented by Wintrust and Cubs Legends. The evening will conclude with long-time Convention favorite Cubs Bingo presented by Budweiser and led by Wayne Messmer.
Sunday’s program concludes with additional autograph sessions and panels including Down on the Farm and Remembering ‘84.
In addition to the sessions highlighted above, the Convention includes several new and returning activities throughout the weekend for fans:
As part of the Cubs Trophy Tour presented by State Farm, fans can take photos with the World Series Trophy throughout the weekend in the Cubs Trophy Room.
Cubs pitchers Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Mike Montgomery and Wade Davis will discuss their 2016 season and what is on the horizon in 2017 during the On the Mound panel presented by Wintrust.
Relive the World Series run with Cubs All-Stars Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and Ben Zobrist during their All-Star Infield discussion presented by Wintrust.
Clark’s Clubhouse will host fun games, face painting, caricatures, balloon artists, a coloring station, inflatable T-ball and inflatable speed pitch.
Cubs Charities, located again this year on the main lobby floor, will feature a variety of items and experiences for sale, including private player meet-and-greets, baseballs, ball cubes, autographed mystery baseballs, grab bags and a garage sale. The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation will host a raffle as well.
Guests can visit a dedicated social media area for giveaways and an interactive GIF and photo booth with special guest appearances throughout the weekend.