Remember the days when the Cubs Convention used to sell out within 20 minutes after passes went on sale?
Those days are gone -- the Cubs say that room packages at the Sheraton and individual passes are still available -- but the Cubs have announced an extensive schedule of events to take place from January 17 through 19.
Here are some of the highlights for the 29th Annual Cubs Convention.
The Opening Ceremony will be Friday at 6 p.m., featuring player introductions on a red carpet runway that will provide special VIP access to children 16-and-under. Following the Opening Ceremony, you can find some of your favorite Cubs and young prospects throughout the hotel for an exciting Autograph Hunt Game. Players and broadcasters will join The David Kaplan Show on WGN Radio for interviews after the Opening Ceremony. Friday will conclude with a special movie premiere of MLB Productions' "100 Years of Wrigley Field," followed by a "Cheers to 100 Years" toast at Sheraton Chicago’s Chi Bar.
On Saturday, the convention will feature the return of Cubs Family Feud and Cubs Jeopardy, which will feature trivia based on Wrigley Field’s 100 years of history and the addition of fan guests on each team. There will also be a Meet the New Skipper session, featuring Cubs manager Rick Renteria and his coaching staff, and the return of WGN Radio’s Kathy & Judy’s popular session, Not for Women Only. The evening will conclude with a special 100 Years of Wrigley Field session, where fans can get a sneak peek at some of the promotions planned for the centennial season, and long-time Convention favorite Cubs Bingo, led as always by Wayne Messmer.
Additional weekend sessions (subject to change) include: The Ricketts Family Forum, Meet Cubs Baseball Management, Scouting and Player Development, Rookie Development Group, For Kids Only Press Conference, 30-Year Anniversary: 1984 Team, WGN Radio Sports Central, Meet Cubs Business Management and Down on the Farm.
In addition to the sessions above, here are some of the other things you can take part in during this annual event:
- Beginning at the Cubs Convention and continuing through Spring Training and each regular season home game, the Cubs will unveil and pay tribute to 100 Great Times in Wrigley Field history presented by Budweiser. One will be unveiled each day at Cubs Convention, and fans will be able to follow these unveilings via social media.
- There will be a new autograph system which will include the opportunity for fans to have a meet-and-greet with marquee players through a donation to Cubs Charities.
- Fans can visit a dedicated social media lounge, featuring giveaways, charging stations, an interactive screen and special guest Twitter takeovers throughout the weekend.
- Walgreens Field is a miniature turf diamond that gives kids a fun place to play pick-up wiffle ball games or participate in professional instructional clinics as part of the Baseball Interactive Zone. Cubs players and coaches will pair up with Illinois Baseball Academy instructors to conduct a series of training opportunities for kids of all ages throughout the weekend.
- Enhanced this year with a radar gun, MLB Network’s Strike Zone allows fans to test their arm speed and win prizes at an inflatable speed pitch.
- A dedicated Kids’ Corner will host face painting, caricatures, balloon artists and a coloring station with a weekend-long coloring contest. Winners will be selected Sunday morning.
- The Cubbie Closet gives kids a chance to dress up like a big leaguer in complete, full-size uniforms for a fun photo opportunity.
- A variety of Cubs memorabilia will be available for sale or auction from Cubs Authentics, Cubs Charities and a selection of third party vendors.
Finally, according to Carrie Muskat at cubs.com, here is a partial list of the players who will be in attendance.
Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo, Starlin Castro, Edwin Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Nate Schierholtz, Carlos Villanueva and Travis Wood.
Fergie Jenkins, Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly, Mark Prior, Dwight Smith, Lee Smith, Jody Davis, Billy Williams, Kerry Wood and Ernie Banks.