Ok, so it’s “Cubs Convention Eve”, and the bags are packed, batteries for the camera are charged, sharpies placed in a strategic place in my purse for easy grabbing for those unexpected run-in’s with any of the 75+ current, former, and future players, not to mention the management, ownership, broadcasters, etc that will be easily accessible this weekend! I kind of feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve, although, I have to say, there aren’t nearly as many of the “big names” as there were last year (my first convention), but it’s just the fact that in just a few short hours, my entire weekend is going to revolve around BASEBALL!
Here is the schedule of events for the weekend (according to Cubs.com)
+ Friday January 18
Opening Ceremony, Fri, Jan 18: 5:00PM – 5:45PM
Autograph Hunt Game, Fri, Jan 18: 6:00PM – 6:45PM
Cubs Bingo, Fri, Jan 18: 7:00PM – 8:30PM
WGN Radio’s Sports Night, Fri, Jan 18: 7:00PM – 10:00PM
+ Saturday January 19
Ricketts Family Forum, Sat, Jan 19: 9:00AM – 10:00AM
Meet Cubs Baseball Management, Sat, Jan 19: 10:00AM – 11:00AM
Cubs Jeopardy, Sat, Jan 19: 10:30AM – 11:30AM
From Draft Day to the Big Leagues, Sat, Jan 19: 11:15AM – 12:15PM
Dale Sveum and the Coaching Staff, Sat, Jan 19: 12:00PM – 1:00PM
For Kids Only Press Conference, presented by Advocate Health Care, Sat, Jan 19: 12:30PM – 1:30PM
Restoring Wrigley Field, Sat, Jan 19: 1:30PM – 2:30PM
Not for Women Only, Sat, Jan 19: 2:00PM – 3:00PM
Cubs Family Feud, Sat, Jan 19: 3:00PM – 4:00PM
WGN Radio’s Sports Central, Sat, Jan 19: 4:00PM – 6:00PM
Meet the New Cubs, Sat, Jan 19: 4:30PM – 5:30PM
Rookie of the Year, presented by the Cubs Kids Club, Sat, Jan 19: 6:30PM – 8:00PM
Cubs Sock Hop, Sat, Jan 19: 8:00PM – 12:00AM
+ Sunday January 20
Down on the Farm, Sun, Jan 20: 9:00AM – 10:00AM
Stats Sunday, Sun, Jan 20: 10:30AM – 11:30AM
Located on the north end of the Interactive Zone, kids will have a blast this year playing on the miniature turf diamond! Walgreens Field will be open to fans for stretching, batting practice, professional instruction clinics, pick-up wiffle ball games and other skills training. You may even find a Cubs player or coach looking to play! Be sure to check out the field during open floor hours Saturday and Sunday.
Baseball Interactive Zone, hosted by Illinois Baseball Academy
Illinois Baseball Academy is back at the 28th Annual Cubs Convention with two batting cages and many more clinics enhanced by their professional instructors. Throughout the weekend, instructors from Illinois Baseball Academy, along with select Cubs players and coaches, will conduct a series of training opportunities for fans of all ages. New this year, many of these opportunities will be held at Walgreens Field, located behind the batting cages in the Kids Interactive Zone. Check out the schedule below and don’t miss your chance to learn directly from Illinois Baseball Academy and the Chicago Cubs.
LEGOLAND® Discovery Center
LEGOLAND® is back this year with an area dedicated to the small building blocks! Swing on by the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center’s Baseball Building area and use your imagination to construct some cool creations. Challenge your children to make it a fun event for the whole family.
Sony PlayStation Gaming Zone
Experience a gaming homerun this year with the entertainment provided by Sony PlayStation. Take a break from reality and jump into MLB 12 The Show at one of the PS3 kiosks located in the Interactive Zone. So real it’s unreal. Get your game on and take the Cubs to the World Series!
MLB Network Strike Zone
Test your arm speed at an inflatable speed pitch, provided by MLB Network. Stop by the Strike Zone to test your skills, have some fun and win prizes.
Blue Bunny Bucket Toss
Come by the Blue Bunny station to win ice cream prizes in a bucket toss game. Kids, challenge your accuracy and get rewarded with frozen treats!
Chicago Sun-Times Photo Kiosk
Walk up to this unique photo kiosk to have your picture taken and get on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times. Customize the headlines to generate an individual front page for you to keep. The page can be emailed or uploaded directly to select social media sites right from the kiosk so you can save your Cubs Convention memories forever! Located in the Sheraton Ballroom Promenade.
American Girl Activity Area
Bring your girls to play in the American Girl activity zone, located in the Sheraton Ballroom Promenade, with fun and games for kids of all ages.
And NEW THIS YEAR:
Autograph Line Process
In an effort to make the autograph process more enjoyable for attendees, you will find the following operation at autograph stages this year:
• Two queues will exist at each stage identified as (1) or (2)
• Indicated by time slot, each queue will be exclusively filled for the “On Deck” celebrity signing
• Lines will be monitored by event staff and guests will not be permitted to hold space in a queue or “squat” for later celebrity autographs
• Within 15 minutes of the scheduled signing time, a limited number of vouchers will be issued-one per credentialed convention attendee-solely to those individuals present in the queue.
• Note, guests may not exit and re-enter the line and vouchers must be redeemed for the celebrity autograph on the stage.
Fantasy Broadcasting Booth
New this year, Comcast SportsNet Chicago is having YOU make the call! The Chicago Cubs have custom-built a replica broadcast booth so you can live out your fantasy broadcasting dream. If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to be Harry Caray or Len Kasper, the technology at this unique booth allows you to choose a highlight and test your play-by-play skills. You’ll be able to keep a copy for yourself so make sure to take advantage of this fun opportunity to become a Cubs broadcaster!
Live Comcast SportsNet Chicago Broadcasts
Make sure to spend some time at the Java Bar on the main lobby level to be a part of live remote broadcasts. The Comcast SportsNet Chicago set will play host to live player interviews Friday evening. Keep checking the Java Bar periodically during the night to see which players or coaches will be making appearances. Then, watch Comcast SportsNet Chicago on Sunday to see if you made any of their highlights from this weekend
So many things to do and see, it’s going to be nearly impossible to do/see it all! I’m taking some backup with me this year (my dad and brother) so my son can stay in the kids area and I can maybe catch one of the panels. Last year, I was only able to catch the kids’ panel and the very last half hour of Sports Night on Friday night after the autograph hunt, (which I was TOTALLY unsuccessful in getting ANY autographs during the hunt, but my son managed to come up with three!)
I’m hoping to have a little better phone reception at the Sheraton than I had at the Hilton last year, and if I do, I will try to tweet as much as I can (follow me at https://twitter.com/hmcalvey), I’ll use the hashtag #CubsCon (which was the “official” convention hashtag last year as ell. I’ll be sure to post some pictures, as well!
So, on that note, I’m off to bed… our train leaves bright and early! To all Cub fans, this is the unofficial start to the season, so GO CUBS!