Last night at the Cubs Convention was nothing short of amazing. Great friends, family and members of the Chicago Cubs. Of course, here at the Cubs Convention, those things go hand in hand and are one and the same.
I have been going to the Cubs Convention for years, and due to circumstances beyond my control, I have been to every one since 2006 except for last years; but this year’s convention might just be the best one I have been to. Granted, we have just really had the opening ceremony (except for my cohorts who are actually staying around the hotel this year) so there is a long way to go, but if last night is any indication, things are going to be fun. I do not think that I have ever seen Cubs fans this excited for the start of an upcoming season. While you usually see and hear exciting optimism flying around like a child on a sugar high, there is something different about this year. Every corner you turn, you see another fan with that magical twinkle in their eye. You know the one that I am talking about.
At the ceremony Tom Rickets opened things up with a monologue, and nearly everything he said was greeted by cheers, even the restructuring of Wrigley Field which there have been a number of fans against. The only thing that he said which brought a loud round of boos was when he mentioned the move to WBBM Radio 780 in place of WGN Radio 720. He had to know that was coming as he had that look on his face. To that, he responded “You have to trust that I know what I am doing” and he does. Fans need to remember that WGN Radio AND NOT THE CUBS opted out of that contract. I understand that “breaking tradition” is hard for some fans to take, but we are talking about a radio station. Even the discussions about expanding their television broadcasting situation brought about a round of cheers, which I thought would bring about more boos than the radio switch.
Unfortunately, the convention has to move on without Ernie Banks or Pat Hughes, both of whom are doing fine according to Len Kasper. There were still plenty of ex Cubs there though, and sadly the older ones are showing their age, especially Fergie Jenkins. The loudest welcoming cheers though came for Ryan Dempster, Mark DeRosa and Kerry Wood.
Then came the crop of current and future Cubs, and as you would expect they all got a loud cheer as well (though not as loud as the three former Cubs), except for Edwin Jackson who was met with a loud chorus of boos. Every year there is one player who suffers the fate of the fans at the convention, this year that was Jackson.
I know he played poorly since coming here, but I have to give him credit. No matter how poorly he has done, he was always there to take his lumps from the media or the fans. Jackson is a stand up guy who does not make excuses for his failures like some do (who get loud cheers every time they turn up), and accepts blame. Jackson knew that the fans were going to give him hell, and he showed up anyway when he did not have to. Kind of sad actually that at an event which is bursting at the seems with cheers and optimism that there is room for booing anything.
Ah well, I was expecting that so I am not really surprised, just disappointed. The good news is that there was more than enough going on at the ceremony that the booing of E-Jax was nothing more than minor speed bump.
Cub fans are excited about this coming season, and I am not sure that I can blame them one bit. The addition of a great manager in John Maddon, a true ACE at the top of the rotation in Jon Lester, emerging stars like three time All Star Starlin Castro (who got voted in by his fellow players which means more than from the fans) Anthony Rizzo (who received MVP chants when he was announced) mixed in with up and coming prospects like Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Jorge Soler and of course Kris Bryant who have all the talent in the world.
Day one was filled with fun and excitement, I cannot wait to see what day two brings about.