Here is my recap of the 2012 Randy Hundley Cubs Fantasy Camp
As you can tell by my moniker, I live in Vegas so cruised down to Mesa on Sunday. The cost of the camp ($3995) includes room, the full week of camp, lunch, and breakfast (which comes with any room rental), plus a bunch of other stuff I will get to. If you utilize a uniform from a previous camp, they knock $300 off the price. The entire camp stays at the Dobson Ranch Best Western, which is the official Spring Training home of the Cubs.
At the opening meeting, Randy introduced the players who were onsite (several more would be in attendance Monday morning). Sunday evening is pretty casual, except that the welcome meeting is held during the second half of the NFC championship game so everyone was watching their phones for scores.
Randy introduced the retired Cubs present and announced the teams:
Todd Hundley/Willie Wilson
Ed Lynch/Bobby Dernier
Jody Davis/Lee Smith
Glenn Beckert/Big Daddy
Jose Cardenal/Pete LaCock
Carmen Fanzone/Fergie Jenkins
Larry Bittner/Joe Pepitone
I was on the Fanzone/Jenkins team. Also at camp this year were Chris Chelios, Eddie Vedder, and John Cusack (from Wednesday to Friday) they were on the Cardenal/LaCock team.
There are eight teams (10 players per team). The format is each team plays the others teams once in a seven inning game, the Giants hold their fantasy camp the same week as Randy, so we play one game at Fitch and another game at the Giants ST facility in Scottsdale on Thursday. This year the camp held night games on Wednesday.
Every professional was open to signing anything, they were all simply the greatest group of people to hang out with, whether at the field or around Dobson Ranch. Each night, a few of the players would hang out by the hospitality suite at Dobson and take questions, joke around, and simply be one of the campers. It truly seems like they appreciated each camper being there as much as each camper appreciated the pro being there. Jenkins was in camp Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. When Fergie left on Wednesday, I guess Randy said we couldn't have a Cubs camp with a Cubs HOF around, so who shows up? Billy Williams. When Billy was introduced Thursday morning, everyone stood up and clapped. RESPECT! So I spent M,T, W with one Cubs HOF, the Thu/Fri with another. YES!!!!
Monday: Sean Casey was hanging out at camp. The Mayor of first base was absolutely hilarious. The guy never stops. I asked him if he ever did any Reds or Pirates Fantasy camps, he said no but when he was asked to come hang out at Cubs camp, he didn't hesitate to accept. The guy is a riot. Ryan Dempster was also hanging out in each of the dugouts on Monday. We lost both games Monday and Fergie asked if we wanted to do some batting practice. Hmm....of course! Fergie fed the pitching machine and provided hitting instruction.
Tuesday: During the morning kangaroo court, all the members of Camp Bussy were invited to join. There must be about 25 members, ranging from Dempster and Campana to Sczcur (pronounced Caesar), Clevenger, Carpenter, and quite a few that even I, did not recognize. For the most part they were pretty humble, Sczcur and Campana obviously get along quite well. They told some stories, one of them was an example of Jody Davis' manager speeches. Everyone was in tears after that story. Another was about Ryno's manager speeches, again, funny as all get out. Dempster told a story from his rookie days in Florida, that guy can tell a story and everyone was on the floor laughing so hard. Dempster said that Theo and he had a conversation about day games at Wrigley being a disadvantage. Demp flat out said, "so what, it should be OUR advantage to everyone else. They're out partying all night in Chicago, we (the Cubs) should be taking advantage of that every time". That's a WINNING mentality. Theo and Sveum were hanging around Tuesday and Wednesday. Sadly, I did not get scouted and signed. We split our games on Tuesday for a 1-3 record.
Wednesday: We played late afternoon and a night game. Everyone hung out around the pool most of the day. Nothing crazy to report here except Zonk insisted everyone should drink after the night game in order to truly feel the big league effect of a night game/day game effect. This was also Chelios' 50th birthday and a bunch of the campers, especially those on Cardenal/LaCock's team spent the night doing karaoke and drinking. They were out until 3am or so. We lost both games today to drop to 1-5, but we lost both games in the 7th inning.
Thursday: LaCock said his team was going to no show versus the Giants after the late night of birthday party although they did. As I said earlier, #26 became our second HOF coach with Fergie gone. We sat there listening to Billy all day. He is the most gracious and polite man. If anyone says a disparaging word about BW, they're going to answer to me. Every camper received hitting encouragement from Billy. During the morning game against the Giants at Fitch park, we asked BW if he were going to hit in the big game on Saturday. He said he had hit a single once before and like to go out on top with a perfect batting average. The afternoon game was in the Giants Scottsdale stadium. When we got there, we were told the game started at 2pm, even though everyone was there at 12:30. So we sat with BW for 45 minutes and listened to tales of AWESOME from the man. Then I asked him to help me out with my swing, I received a 10 minute hitting lesson from Billy Williams. My week could have ended there. Even with BW around, we could not get timely hitting and lost both games to the Giants dropping to 1-7.
Friday: There is this crazy Eddie Vedder love for Jose Cardenal. They are tight. Vedder wears a #1 Cardenal jersey, talk about a cool guy (Vedder that is). Anyway, Jose was under the weather all week and tells a story about ordering ham and eggs because it was easy to order for a guy who did not speak much English. Instead of Jose telling it, Eddie did it, perfectly mimicking Jose's accent and lilt. Completely off the hook! By the way, even with two HOFs the Fanzone/Williams/Jenkins squad wound up a dismal 1-9. But we never gave up.
Saturday: The Cubs beat the Campers 23-11 at the big game. So far the campers have only won ONE game in the history of the camp. The highlight of this game: Billy Williams came up to bat in the fourth inning against Ron Santo, Jr. BW strode to the plate and fouled the first pitch off, he looked bad doing it. On the second pitch, he tipped that off and didn't look too good either. Then, it was on. Billy watched Ron Jr.'s next two pitches, like the hitter he is. On pitch five, he turned and drove that bad boy down the right field line for a ringing double. There was that moment of pure stunned "did you see that?", then everyone was cheering. Afterwards, a bunch of us were talking about it and figure that was the second longest drive of the entire game. I am telling you, he turned on that ball and everything was right in the world when he crushed it. So BW is now 2 for 2 in the big game.
This was a week that I wish I could do every year, I went in 2010 and am starting to save up again, probably 2014. I can only tell everyone reading this, if you ever get a chance to go, you have to "strap it on" as Randy Hundley would say, and go. Every player is like a little kid, much like many of the campers.
I still haven't downloaded my pix and will receive a CD from the photographer. once I get that, I will put a link up with all the pix. I have to say thanks to Mrs. Vegascubfan for letting me go again. I love you babe!
Send me an email (email@example.com) if you have any questions.
<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.</em>