Convention, taken by BCB's David Sameshima. BCB's Mike Bojanowski attended several sessions and filed these reports.Ricketts Family forum
The mantra here, as elsewhere, is patience with the plan, and avoidance of "quick fixes" (read: spending on free agents). Developing talent, not buying it, is the key. The Dominican academies, new spring-training stadium, minor-league facilities, and city agreements were stressed. Indications made that renovation work could take four years instead of five. Progress in the rooftop talks was cited. An example was given: suppose you pay for cable and you discover your neighbor is charging other neighbors to view it through your window, and the city forbids you to lower your shades. A somewhat dark hint was made about finally being "in control" of the situation in 2023 (expiration of the current rooftop agreement).
Baseball management session
Rick Renteria indicated his belief that his own personality was suited to developing younger players. Does not believe in chastisement for its own sake. When asked if they thought the job was harder than they thought it would be, Theo/Jed replied, no, it's about what they expected.
Business Operations session
Long intro by Crane Kenney, accompanied by the illustrated graphs that you see above. The oft-repeated goal: to be the best organization in baseball. Much made of the higher level of taxation, and other burdens unique to the Cubs. Digital tickets will be introduced on a limited basis in 2014, with strong hints that it will be the only way in time, and paper tickets will eventually be tokens only. Strongest hints yet that WGN renewals may not happen. A curious segment in which the $20 million take the rooftops receive (a negotiated settlement, after all), is a major drag on the club's finances, accompanied by photos of star players whose salaries approximate $20 million per year. A question regarding whether Clark (the mascot) will be reconsidered after the coming year was answered with an emphatic "Clark is here to stay." When confronted with the position that the team's performance is not worth the price of admission, Kenney replied that he wouldn't tell anyone how to spend their money, but those who kept the faith would share in a greater sense of reward when success came at last.
Meet the new skipper session
Routine questions and answers, Renteria stressed the need to "work with what we have." New coaching staff recalled their influences and experience. The last question, when Renteria was pressed to admit that the team could not compete this year, got a brisk denial, perhaps his most intense response of the session.
100th Anniversary session
Interesting presentations by Ed Hartig and scoreboard operator Rick Fuhs. Fuhs indicated umpire McClelland deliberately seeks to confuse announcers and operators with delayed calls. Marketing director Alison Miller gave an elaborate illustrated presentation regarding bobbleheads, retro uniforms, retro toys, retro food, and other special features to be tied in with the anniversary. Most of the bobbleheads, in fact, are not of baseball players; they include football, Jack Brickhouse, the All-American Girls professional league. Hints were dropped that smokie links might be making a comeback. Also, that all attendees will get a piece of cake on April 23, the official 100th anniversary celebration date. Pat Hughes concluded the proceedings by imagining being the first announcer to leave a recorded call of a Cubs pennant, and then a Cubs championship.