A great weekend rounded out on Sunday with the final few hours of the 27th annual Cubs Convention. I had a great time as always. Although the big name players from years past were absent because the Cubs no longer have many star players (Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot, Lou Piniella, Sammy Sosa, etc), there were still many reasons that the weekend was worth attending.
In case you missed them... click here for my recap of Friday night or here for Saturday's post.
Saturday there were just two sessions on the docket, begging with Down on the Farm at 9am in the Grand Ballroom. In recent years Vineline has hosted this session and handed out their top fifty Cubs prospect list. However, Vineline is under a new managing editor and for whatever reason did not host the session this year. Instead, Dave Otto served as the emcee. Although I missed Mike Huang's knowledge and information packets, I still think that Otto was interesting and well-prepared. Two of the only holdovers from the Jim Hendry era, VP of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita and Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Wilken, were once again featured during this session. This year they were joined by newcomer Jason McLeod, the Cubs Senior VP of Scouting and Player Development. Minor leaguers Jeff Beliveau, Brett Jackson, Junior Lake, Matt Szczur, Josh Vitters and Anthony Rizzo, who was just acquired in the Andrew Cashner trade with San Diego, were all members of the panel. All of the guys seemed very likeable. It was also clear to me that Oneri and Tim know exactly what they are doing. Jason answered only a few questions but I was impressed with him as well. This session was held in the Grand Ballroom this year and was pretty much full... indicating to me that fans are aware of the importance of developing the minor league system.
The final session of the Convention was "The Father-Son Connection," hosted by Wayne Messmer. Bob Brenly, Michael Brenly, Shawon Dunston, Shawon Dunston Jr, Cubs scout Keith Lockhart and Keith's son Daniel all participated in the session. The sons talked about what it was like having a dad play in the big leagues while they were growing up. The dads talked about the challenges of watching their sons play and what kind of advice they give them. Dunston Jr. and Lockhart were both just drafted by the Cubs out of high school. Shawon Sr. said the Cubs were one of only two teams, the other being the Giants, that he would have wanted his son to forgo school to play for. Brenly said that it would be difficult to remain objective while broadcasting his sons games if Michael ever reaches the big leagues. Bob said he hopes that he will have to worry about that sooner rather than later. One fan joked that the Shawon-O-Meter may be dusted off soon for Shawon Jr, who is a centerfielder not a shortstop. Dunston told the crowd that he stresses the importance of playing the game the right way. He also required his son to maintain a 3.5 GPA in the classroom during high school.
Next up... Spring Training.
That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always.