2012 Cubs Convention, Day 1

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Fearless leader Anno Catuli finally convinced me to come out to the Cubs Convention.  It helped that the pass was free (thanks boss!) and I lived like 20 minutes away by bus so it wasn’t that big of a hassle, plus it was nice to get out of work and have lunch with the wife before I hopped on the bus.  It was a pretty cool experience overall and I’d recommend that every Cubs fan do this at least once.  Below are some thoughts and a butt-load of pictures I took with my crappy camera.  Sorry, the flash was on but the lighting in the room caused the pictures to be dark anyway.  Weak!  Anno will post a video of the opening ceremony later.

The Chicago Hilton is actually pretty easy to find and is accessible by about a bazillion different methods, including the CTA bus lines or the Red Line.  So that wasn’t too bad.  I met Tony Campana outside (you’ll see if you check out our Facebook page) and while he’s most likely faster, I’m taller (hehe).  Once inside, there was a pretty sweet banner…

Hey look, it was only a year late. Way to go, Hall of Fame!

Anno and friends were already in line to stake out our front-line spots so we could set up the camera to record the opening ceremony. We met a very interesting gentleman, code-named “Crawly” who used to run a Cubs blog of his own and seems to know his way around the Convention pretty well. He had a sign…

Indeed, 'tis quite the Theo Fest.

Crawly brought beer and might write a guest post for us later on. Cool dude. It was kind of crazy how people were staked out in front of that ballroom where they always do the opening ceremony hours before the staff would let us in. The security staff was helpful and nice and were quite efficient at making sure all the patrons were accommodated. They were also good at ensuring that nobody unfairly cut in line, which was appreciated considering how long we waited. Note to self: bring more beverages and a camping chair next year. More and more people trickled in and the line started looping around the lobby…

Fire hazard in progress.

Finally after a couple hours of waiting we were allowed inside.  A few folks in the secondary line were successful in bum-rushing the doors but the security held back the rest so we could still secure our front-row vantage points, just behind the area set up for the disabled and elderly fans.  The old dudes who go around Wrigley Field during home games playing music were good entertainment while we waited ANOTHER two hours for the actual ceremony to start.

May they live forever.

We had a pretty good shot of the podium and Anno finally got a tripod to steady the camera unlike last year when it looked like he was filming the Blair Witch Project.

The tripod is in there somewhere. Now the video will be somewhat professional instead of looking like it was filmed by Parkinsons' patients. No offense to people who have or know anyone with Parkinsons, but you know what I mean...?

From our spot we could also check out the Cubs’ wives…

You might not be able to tell, but yes, they're hot.

And holy crap were there a lot of people in the room. Imagine if some asshole had decided to yell “fire” or if Ronnie Woo-Woo had shit his pants. Disaster!

Let's see, how many people do I have to trample over to GTFO in case of fire...1...2...3...

We also sat in front of last year’s three millionth fan, apparently. She was excited to be there.

Well done, ma'am!

The rest of the time was spent waiting for the thing to just start already.  I swear, next year I’m just getting the convention pass from Anno and then hitting all the booths instead of waiting so long.  I’ll just watch on the monitors.  But it was nice to see Pat Hughes announce the Ricketts family and the Cubs players as well as the new guys, Theo Epstein and crew.  We’ll just take a photoblog from here on out with limited interruptions…

The movie screen...colors were a bit off.

The always awesome Pat Hughes, master of ceremonies.

The great Wayne Messmer with the singing of the national anthem.

Bill Buckner!

Gary Matthews clowning with Pat Hughes.

Rick Monday, relaxed a bit as he didn't have to save any flags from death.

Rick Sutcliffe schmoozing with the owners.

Hall of Famer Andre Dawson.

Mr. Cub is making Laura Ricketts' day. Seriously, she looks like she's about to explode with squeal.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, rock stars.

Dale Sveum and his staff hanging out next to the Hall of Famers.

Brett Jackson grew a beard. He's channeling Jayson Werth.

The prospects we sort of care about, including Brett Jackson, Junior Lake, Anthony Rizzo, Matt Szczur and Josh Vitters.

Starlin Castro made it.

Ryan Dempster got a lot of cheers.

Matt Garza hasn't been traded yet. He's either happy to be here or has a hell of a poker face.

Reed Johnson decided his head was cold.

You'd think after getting a sweet deal as a draftee that Jeff Samardzija could afford a better barber.

At this point, Alfonso Soriano was introduced and there were mixed cheers and boos.  I felt like the boos drowned out the cheers though.  I understand that people are upset with the contract and that Soriano got hurt and now sucks, but come on.  I’ll let the wife take this one:

So my husband is telling me about the Chicago Cubs Convention and the assholes that were in there booing players. Really? You hate them so much that you’re going to fly/drive/train/bus to Chicago, waste money on a hotel and food and the convention, and then boo the players that are going to try and lift the Cubs out of their curse? Man, fuck you, you entitled buttnuggets.

The wife, ladies and gentlemen!

For some reason, Alfonso Soriano seems happy to be here.

Oh yeah, and they re-signed this guy

Kerry Wood got a pretty good deal in my opinion.

Theo and Jason McLeod enjoyed the movie.

Fergie!

After the ceremony, we headed out to eat cheaper-than-Hilton food at Wing Street and then returned to check out the booths.  Lots of really cool souvenir stands, and in one area there was a station for kids to take batting practice and throw pitches.  I was happy to actually be able to hit the target.  Got to talk to Pat Hughes, who was signing the Ron Santo book.  Also got to talk to Tim of Obstructed View and Brett at Bleacher Nation.  Cool chaps.

Tomorrow…autographs!

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