A good chunk of this post ought to have been put up yesterday. Since that didn’t end up happening, however, I’m just gonna cram it all in today. Double your pleasure, double your fun!
I’m going to plunge right in and try to hit on the highlights. If you’re interested in a more comprehensive recap, look no further than ChicagoCubsOnline.com. They’ve got days 1, 2, AND 3 covered, with actual play-by-play of many of the seminars. So three cheers for the folks at CCO and their fantastical work!
Homecoming King: Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and Cubs fans proved this by receiving Kerry Wood back into the fold with a monstrous collective bear hug. From what I hear, he was the bell of the ball.
Gone but not forgotten: He may not be with us any longer, but Ron Santo’s presence was strongly felt at Cubs Con. Two seminars were conducted in his memory, one with his former teammates and one with his broadcasting partners. Unsurprisingly, these panels were by far the most popular of the convention. It was also announced that the Cubs will honor Ronnie in 2011 with a uniform patch and a statue, among other things.
Can we build it? Yes we can!: Wrigley Field and renovations were discussed at length in the Ricketts family forum, as were the rebuilding of Spring Training facilities in Mesa. I probably shouldn’t be bored by these subjects, but I sort of am.
$$$: Newly christened manager Mike Quade didn’t hurt his burgeoning popularity any when he announced that there is a “very great likelihood we’ll see [Andrew] Cashner in the starting rotation.” At least not with me he didn’t. Cash is starting to grow on me. He was part of a session on WGN radio entitled “Young Arms” with Randy Wells and James Russell. From the amount of time they spent discussing cowboy boots, however, they may just as well have called it “Young Rednecks.”
Coach Q: As long as he came up anyway, I may as well throw in a word or two for our new skipper. I didn’t hear anything I didn’t like from him this weekend, and I don’t think anyone else did either. I like the way he thinks (I think) and I like the way he talks. Check out the audio/video clips on WGN radio’s website to see what I mean.
Carlos… Pena: Our new first baseman was quick to win over the masses with his charming smile and personality.
Carlos… Silva: According to CCO, Mister Silva has actually put on weight over the off season. Cubs blog Ivy Envy proclaimed on Twitter, “OMG Carlos Silva ate Blake Dewitt.” That can’t be good…
Alexandre Dumas, I’d like for you to meet Jeffrey Samardzija:
Wedding Bells!: Sean Marshall was married this off season. Ernie Banks officiated. No, I’m not making that up.
Babies!: Ryan Dempster was actually unable to attend the Convention this year due to Mrs. Dempster’s either having just given birth, or being just about to give birth (it wasn’t clear which) to their third child. I also heard that Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Zambrano are in the process of adopting a child from Guatemala. Preciousness.
“It’s cold.” -Matt Garza, on Chicago
“Not gonna lie to you. He’s probably gonna feel how hard the dirt is around home plate.” -Koyie Hill, on the subject of playing against Ryan Theriot in 2011
“I had nothing to do with the first 100 years […] I take no responsibility for that.” -James Russell
“I’ve heard the pizza [here in Chicago] is amazing.” -prospect Jay Jackson. You heard right, son.
“Let’s just be happy we have Z, Demp, and Garza and not worry about who is 1, 2, or 3.” -Mike Quade
“Maybe I’m an idiot, but I want to believe that the problems from last year won’t happen this year.” -Mike Quade (a man after my own heart, apparently) on Carlos Zambrano
“What do you do to make your muscles so big?” -Little girl to Marlon Byrd during the special conference for kids only. Another gem:
Kid: “How do you practice getting hit by the ball?”
Byrd: “You can’t really practice that.”
Kid: “Can’t you stand in front of a machine?”
A smattering of leftover photos:
Lastly, I just want to offer major, major kudos to all the bloggers, tweeters, and media outlets for keeping those of us who could not attend the Convention informed. All the information I’ve thrown together here has pretty much been pirated from these lovely ladies and gents. Thank you, people, and I hope very much to see you all in person at Cubs Con 2012.