Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cubs New and Improved Convention Schedule - Now With 25% Extra Hope!

Before we get back to rehashing 2010, let's take a brief glimpse into the here and now and see what the Cubs' Baseless Hope Propaganda Fest (AKA the Cubs Convention) will look like this year.

Bruce Miles takes us through some of the highlights:

Friday kicks off with the opening ceremonies. You can bet on a nice tribute to late third baseman Ron Santo.

I expect to see many grown men crying, that is, if I can manage to see through my own tears.  Then things will get REALLY depressing.

According to the release, “Saturday's slate kicks off with The Ricketts Family Forum at 9 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom. For the second year in a row, Cubs fans will have the opportunity to interact with Cubs ownership and hear the organization's plans for the future. Cubs Business Management will interact with fans at 1:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom.” Oh, there might be a question or two about ticket prices and bang-for-the-buck you fans are getting, or not.

This ought to be interesting.  Last year, they were hailed as conquering heroes.  This year, they are bathroom-remodeling, statue-building, oversized-novelty-eyelass-wearing, reality television personalities who have the balls to ask for public money from a state that is $15 billion in debt.  I can't wait to hear the questions the fans ask, but I swear to God, if they talk about the urinal troughs again, I will cut someone.

My favorite: "Meet Cubs Baseball Management," featuring General Manager Jim Hendry, Assistant General Manager Randy Bush, Manager Mike Quade and Assistant to the General Manager Greg Maddux, takes place at 10 a.m. in the Continental Ballroom." Fair is fair here: Last year, the WGN radio hosts did not monopolize the questions as they had been wont to do in the past. That gave fans a chance to jump in. Kudos to Dave Eanet. Maddux is the newcomer to the panel.

Last year, Randy Bush said about two words during the entire session and I expect he'll say less this year with Maddux getting asked ever other question by the fans.  This is the session where Cubs fans bitch about DeRosa being traded (yes - it will come up again this year, I promise you) and there are various declarations that players like Bryan LaHair should get more playing time.

What, no Larry? "'Pitching Evolution,' featuring Kerry Wood, Randy Wells, Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija, Andrew Cashner and Pitching Coach Mark Riggins, at 10:30 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom. The group will explain the art of being a starting pitcher, set-up man and closer, the differences between the roles and the pressures and rewards that come with each.” I’ll miss seeing Larry Rothschild get grumpier with each passing question.

I agree with Bruce that Larry Rothschild's increasing intestinal discomfort was always a highpoint, so it will be hard to replace that, but seriously, what the hell is Jeff Samardzija doing in this panel?  Is he there to explain the art of never getting anybody out? The art of fine hair maintenance? The art of spelling his name?

Won’t be the same without Lou: "The Q Factor," featuring Manager Mike Quade and coaches Rudy Jaramillo, Lester Strode, Ivan DeJesus, Bob Dernier, Mark Riggins and Dave Keller at 12 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom. Quade and his staff will discuss their techniques and philosophies heading into the 2011 season.” I’ll miss Lou handing off some of the tougher questions to his coaches.

This is the session where Cubs fans always ask how come the Cubs don't steal more bases or hit-and-run very much. (SPOILER: They are slow and bad at making contact.)  Half the fans will complain that the starters got left in too long and half will complain that the starters were yanked in favor of a crappy bullpen too often.

Your first chance to meet Carlos Pena. "‘The Dominican Way of Life,’ featuring Aramis Ramirez, Starlin Castro, Carlos Pena and Vice President of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita, at 3:30 p.m. in the Boulevard Room. The group will talk about their transition from the Dominican Republic to the United States and Fleita will discuss how the organization scouts, develops and transitions international players to the United States.” Will Kap be there to ask Aramis why he “dogs” it? I’ll bet you’ll come away liking Carlos Pena.

I'm wondering which of Aramis Ramirez's testicles are being held by the Cubs marketing department, because he hasn't made an appearance at the Convention since at least 2007 (I couldn't find lists older than 2008).  Maybe Carlos Pena IS a shining example and the savior of the Latino players' souls! I just hope for their sake that the Dominican Way of Life is better than the Way of Life the Cubs are selling us. 

“On Sunday, a pair of sessions will be devoted to the youth and future of the Chicago Cubs. At 9:15 a.m. in the Continental Ballroom, four Cubs who are 25-years-old - Tyler Colvin, James Russell, Darwin Barney and Scott Maine - will discuss their transition to the big leagues."

The future of the Cubs involves James Russell, Darwin Barney, and Scott Maine?  Just kill me now.

I know I can't handle the Cubs shoveling sunshine up my ass for extended periods without some adult beverages to ease the pain, so I'll be hanging out with my podcast pals and other Twitter folks at the LOHO Tweet-up at Kitty O'Shea's from 7:00 to whenever on Friday evening.  You don't need to buy a Convention Pass to get in the bar, so come and join in!


FrankS said...

Tyler Colvin shouldn't be considered part of a bright future either. He had a nice season last year, but I have an awful hunch it will be the best season he ever has.

Joel said...

I'm no Pollyanna, but I don't know how you don't see Colvin as part of a bright future. Dude hit 20 HRs as a rookie. He needs some work, and I'm not saying he's MVP caliber, but he's definitely a solid player.

Aisle 424 said...

I'm willing to give the Cubs a break by calling Colvin part of the bright future, Frank. I know his plate discipline is suspect and he can't be expected to maintain the HR-to-flyball ratio he had last year, but he at least has honest-to-God major league talent. Scott Maine? Really, Cubs? Really? You couldn't get Brett Jackson up there? Not even Sam Fuld? They might as well stick Bobby Scales up there.

Joel said...

I've got a slight mancrush on Brett Jackson. But it's under control. I'm cool with it.

SK said...

I just like how they have the panel for young guys take place at 9 am on Sunday morning.

Kin said...

I assume you've heard about the rumored Garza trade. Could I request that you give the GM and his cronies an atomic wedgie at the Convention?

Southside Phil said...

Hahahaha. "The art of spelling his name?" hahahah. Jeff Samardzija is a chooch and people only like him because he played football for Notre Dame..and that hasn't been cool since 1989.

gaius marius said...

whoa -- did i get archer, hak-ju, chirinos, guyer and parts for garza and parts? woof! that's a lot of kids to part with for a middle-of-the-pack starter. imagine chirinos and guyer could end up contributing off the bench, archer in a year or two. that's good value for the rays even if hak-ju doesn't pan out.

but i'm mostly confused. if you're going to clean out the cupboard, why for a(nother) mid-rotation starter? especially one who is very much a flyball pitcher in wrigley field?

ccd tells me that hendry had to outbid three others for garza. LOL

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