There's no list of past and current Cubs available yet for the 2015 Cubs Convention, to be held January 16-18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, but you can be sure that the two people most everyone will want to see and hear from will be new manager Joe Maddon and new starting pitcher Jon Lester.
Here are a few of the highlights the Cubs announced Tuesday for the Convention.
The Opening Ceremony will start Friday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m., featuring player introductions on an elevated runway that will provide special VIP access to children 16-and-under. Following the Opening Ceremony, guests will find some of their favorite Cubs and young prospects signing autographs for an exciting Surprise Signing Game. The event’s first day concludes with a special Friday Night with Ryan Dempster show, featuring interviews with Cubs players and coaches, comedy vignettes and interactive games.
Saturday’s program continues with fan favorites such as the return of Cubs Family Feud, plus Cubs Jeopardy, which features unique trivia and the addition of fan guests on each team. Saturday also will feature a highly anticipated Joe Maddon and His Coaching Staff session presented by, Meet the New Cubs, an extended For Kids Only Press Conference and a Cubs Business Operations update on the 1060 Project restoration. The evening will conclude with long-time Convention favorite Cubs Bingo, featuring more tables than ever before, led by Wayne Messmer.
Additional weekend sessions (subject to change) include: The Ricketts Family Forum, A Recent Look Back: 2007-08 Cubs, 30 Years of Cubs Convention Memories, The Future is Bright, Here to Stay, Meet Cubs Baseball Management, Down on the Farm and #CubsSocial.
The Cubs say there will be new layouts including a dedicated autograph hall and two full ballrooms featuring mascot Clark with a Clubhouse and Fieldhouse. The Fieldhouse is a miniature turf diamond that gives kids a 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. The Clubhouse will host mini games, face painting, caricatures, balloon artists, inflatable tee ball and a coloring station.
The Cubs Charities room has been moved to the main lobby floor and will again feature a variety of items and opportunities for sale, including private player meet-and-greets, baseballs, ball cubes, autographed mystery balls, 50/50 raffle tickets and grab bags with either a Wrigley Field 100 bobblehead or Ernie Banks statue figurine included. The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation will host a raffle and silent auction as well.
You can watch live bat-making demonstrations at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory station or check out game-used and replica bats of past and present Cubs players. Having been to the actual museum and factory in Louisville, I can tell you this is a very cool thing to watch -- and if you ever have the chance, you should take in that factory/museum tour in Louisville. You'll be able to spin a prize wheel, sign up for free museum passes and the opportunity to win personalized Louisville Slugger baseball bats, and find out how you can take home the one-of-a-kind commemorative 30th Annual Cubs Convention bat on display throughout the weekend.
The Cubs say that a limited number of Sheraton Chicago hotel room packages with Cubs Convention weekend passes are still available. If you get a room, that includes passes at a discounted price of $20 per pass, or you can still buy convention passes can be purchased individually for $65 per pass plus convenience fees at www.cubs.com/convention or at 1-800-THE-CUBS.