Some people thought the Cubs might be saving a surprise introduction of a big free-agent signing at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Cubs Convention, say, the return of Jake Arrieta or the first Cubs look at Yu Darvish.
No such luck. If the Cubs are to sign Arrieta or Darvish, it’ll have to wait until after the convention is over.
Honestly, these ceremonies are beginning to become routine. Tom Ricketts, as he’s done the last couple of years, came out and gave a pep-rally style introduction and showed a video of Wrigley Field changes, then introduced Pat Hughes, who as always served as the master of ceremonies.
Quite a number of former Cubs, termed one of the largest numbers ever, was introduced. Loud ovations went to David Ross, as well as Kerry Wood. Then I saw this:
Great to see reception Zambrano received at #Cubs Convention. Welcome back, Big Z— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) January 13, 2018
Big Z looked in pretty good shape; he’ll be 37 in June and this is really his first time in front of Cubs fans since he left the team six years ago, and I’m glad he got a good reception. Also looking in near game shape were Derrek Lee and Sean Marshall, as well as James Russell — the latter just signed a minor-league deal with the Tigers this past week. The Cubs will face the Tigers this year, so if Russell makes the team, we might see him back at Wrigley.
Current Cubs then came out on stage, with the loudest applause, as you might expect, for Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. Notable absences among current players included Jon Lester and Jose Quintana, but they’ll all be back together in Mesa in only four and a half weeks.
Cubs Hall of Famers were saved for last, with the just-returned Andre Dawson leading the way, followed by Ryne Sandberg and Billy Williams. I’m glad to see Billy looking well; he reportedly had some health issues last summer. Billy will turn 80 in June.
Another Cubs Hall of Famer, who’s generally an important presence at Cubs Conventions, was absent, and sent this note via Twitter:
Due to a family issue that requires my full attention, I regret that I will not be able to attend the 2018 @cubs Convention. Thank you for understanding. GO CUBS!— Fergie Jenkins (@31fergiejenkins) January 11, 2018
Best wishes to Fergie and his family, I hope everything’s all right with him.
The ceremony concluded with a 2017 season highlight video. Most of what was shown, you can watch here [VIDEO].
BCB’s Danny Rockett and Sara Sanchez will be at the convention for the rest of the weekend and will be posting their coverage as the weekend continues. In the meantime, I’ll probably post an open thread Saturday morning where you can discuss the various events of the day. Enjoy!