Friday, January 14, 2011

Cubs Convention Day 1

The 26th annual Cubs Convention is underway!

As always, the weekend opened with a bang during the ceremonies on Friday evening. Pat Hughes introduced all of the people from the organization attending the weekend, including new Cubs Carlos Pena, Fernando Perez and Matt Garza. The loudest ovation of the night was for the finally man introduced- Kerry Wood. In his welcome back to Chicago, Woody tossed out the first pitch.

Wayne Messmer performed another fine rendition of the National Anthem, Tom Ricketts spoke about the organization and the current and former Cubs tossed their hats into the audience.

Jim Hendry received mostly cheers but a few boos as well when he was introduced. Mike Quade got a positive reaction from the fan base. Besides Hendry, the only other guys to receive a mixed reaction were Crane Kenney and John Grabow.

After the boom ceremonies it was time for the autograph treasure hunt. Guys signing this year included Steve Trout, Dave Otto, Tim Stoddard, Mike Bielecki, Todd Walker, Bill Buckner, Glen Beckert, Lee Smith, Jose Cardenal and Milt Pappas. I got signatures from Becker and Cardenal and later I ran into Milt in the hall.

The first night concluded with WGN Sports Night Live, hosted by Brian Noonan and Judd Sirott. Quade, Hendry and Ricketts joined the guys first. All three are optimistic about the Cubs chances and Tom said that his family is doing everything they can to bring the fanbase a he World Series.

For the next third minutes Noonan and Judd chatted with Randy Wells, James Russell and Andrew Cashner. Russell and Cash are excited about competing for a spot in the rotation in Spring Training. Wells told a funny story about a seven year old girl asking him, "How come my brother says you suck?"

Pat Hughes, Len Kasper and Bob Brenly were up next. Len and Bob did not have their annual January bash, but they are planning on having it during the summer in 2011. Pat and Judd shared a few Ronnie memories.

The focus was then turned to the farm system. Jay Jackson and Chris Carpenter both like how the Cubs organization is starting to feel like a family. The young players are familiar with coaches on the big league staff like Mark Riggins who have worked with them at the minor league level. Oneri Fleita was also on the panel. He talked about the importance of a player's attitude and personality when he is working with Tim Wilken to decide who the Cubs should draft.

It's a full day of sessions tomorrow!

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