Cautious optimism was the name of the game last weekend, Jan. 18-20, at the 28th Annual Cubs Convention, which took place at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers at 301 E. North Water St. in Chicago.
The opening ceremonies started with a video montage highlighting the history of the team. In the video, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts proclaimed that the team was going to do everything possible to bring a World Series Championship to Chicago. “Our fans deserve it,” Ricketts said.
In the beginning of the convention, the Cubs announced the presence of more than 75 current and former players. Those players included Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Lee Smith, Jose Cardenal, Jody Davis, David DeJesus and Darwin Barney. Scott Baker, Scott Feldman, Edwin Jackson, Catcher Dioner Navarro and Outfielder Nate Schierholtz were among the players that walked down the red carpet.
The team also announced the presence of manager Dale Sweum and his coaching staff, Bench Coach Jamie Quirk, Hitting Coach James Rowson, Assistant Hitting Coach Rob Deer, Bullpen Coach Lester Strode, First Base Coach Dave McKay and Third Base Coach David Bell.
Before the team was announced, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said that 11 participants of the team’s RBI inner city baseball program have been offered college scholarships to play Division One baseball. The program is run by the Union League Boys and Girls Clubs in Chicago and funded by a grant from Cubs Care. The RBI program provides close to 300 inner city youths the opportunity to play baseball and participate in weekend tournaments.
The team also announced a 300 million dollars plan to renovate Wrigley Field. The Ricketts family says that they will pay for the renovations if some of the restrictions in the city of Chicago has placed on what the team can do with the friendly confines. The renovations are expected to be completed over the five off-seasons. Initially, the team was in talks with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to see if the city would fund the project until Ricketts family patriarch Joe Ricketts made disparaging comments about President Barack Obama.
The team provided several interactive booths and workshops, such as “Ricketts Family Forum,” “For Kids Only Press Conference,” presented by Advocate Health Care and “Down on the Farm.” Cub fans in attendance were able to get autographs from current and former players.
The Chicago Cubs begin their 2013 Cactus League schedule Sat, Feb .23 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Tempe, AZ.
Cub fans are known for saying “There’s Always Next Year.” The team’s President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, has told the fans to be patient and that a championship will come soon enough.