Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 2 at the Hilton

Day two of the 26th annual Cubs Convention was a total blast. There are many tales to tell, but I will try to briefly hit on most of highlights from the day in this first hand account.

The day opened up with the Ricketts Family Forum in the grand ballroom. Tom Ricketts started things with his opening statement, which included an annoucement about the teams plans to honor Ron Santo. A #10 patch will be worn on the jerseys of all the Cubs players all season long, and a statue will be unvailed on August 10th before the game against the Nationals.

The other highlight of the Ricketts' session was when a vocal fan voiced his displeasure with the fact that the family allowed Ryne Sandberg to leave the organization. Tom said that Ryno was given a chance to return but he felt that he would have better shot at managing in the bigs by going elsewhere.

Todd Ricketts talked about his experience on Undercover Boss. He enjoyed his hour of fame on national TV.

When one fan asked how Jim Hendry has a job, the family handed the question well by citing some of the reasons they trust Hendry. However, it was host Len Kasper who actually came up with the best example of a plus of having Jim. Len mentioned the fact that Kerry Wood's relationship with the Cubs GM helped lure him to the team.

The next session in the Grand Ballroom was filled with Cubs pitchers. Wood, Wells, Cashner, Samardzija and Marshall were all there. They talked at length about the challenges of moving from the rotation to the bullpen and vice versa. Dave Otto gave Cash a hard time about his casiual shirt.

Next I went to the "On the Road with #10" session in the Contenintial Ballroom. Pat Hughes, Judd Sirott, Andy Masur and Cory Provus shared stories of working with the legendary third baseman in the radio booth.

Pat Hughes shared his favorite Santo story about the time Ronnie burned his hair piece on the heater in the booth at Shea Stadium during the National Anthem. He also told about the Yogart Machine in Arizona, the eggs spilled on the proclamation and more.

Cory Provus shared about the time that he "lost it" laughing when Santo told him that live on the air during the pregame show that you cannot eat too many bannanas or you will get "plugged up". Andy Masur remembered helping Ronnie search a hotel room for his lost hair piece and eventually finding it stuck to the bottom of a Fed Ex box. Sirott talked about the experience of trying to host the Cubs Central Pregame show with Ron on a daily basis.

All four guys are great story tellers (especially Pat). This session will be available on If you were not there and have not heard it yet, this is a must listen.

I made it to "Meet Cubs Bussiness Management" just in time to hear Jim in Tinley Park, who frequently comments on Chicago Cubs Online (a site that I visit often and used to write for) get booed for suggesting that the Cubs should abandom tradition to try to increase their chance of winning.

After that it was Santo's teammates from the '60s on the Remembering Ronnie session. Randy Hundley, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Milt Pappas, Jose Cardenal and Glen Beckert shared their memories and stories. They had a lot of great things to say about the inperational legend and also had a lot of laughs.

Randy Hundley was simply hillarous. The Rebel told one story about how he always liked to "slap Ron's fanny". He also poked fun at Cardenal's accent. Every time Jose spoke, Hundley asked, "What did he just say?" The Rebel ended up making the best point of the night- Isn't it great that we can sit here and talk about a friend that is gone like this (with a smile on our faces)?

Go Cubs Go!!! I'll keep you posted from the Convention.

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