The Cubs Convention is the oldest such fanfest. It began in 1986, so this year’s is the 35th such event. It’s always been a good chance to think and talk baseball during the dead of winter, catch up with friends, and hear from Cubs players, coaches and management past and present.
As usual, there will be an Opening Ceremony Friday, January 17, at 6 p.m. CT, with the Opening Ceremony featuring player introductions and more. After that, there will be the traditional autograph hunt in the Sheraton Chicago, with Cubs alumni and future stars conducting surprise autograph signings. The event’s first day concludes with the Off the Mound with Ryan Dempster show, a late night-style talk show featuring baseball tales, lively interviews and comedy sketches from Cubs players and executives. Remember, Dempster’s show was where, last January, Kris Bryant called St. Louis “boring,” kicking off a year’s worth of back-and-forth between Cubs and Cardinals fans and even players.
Most of the more popular Saturday sessions will be back, including Baseball Operations Update, Business Operations Update, David Ross & the Coaching Staff presented by Wintrust and the Kids Only Press Conference, hosted by Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Later on, the the Welcome Back panel hosted by Ron Coomer will have discussion with Cubs alumni Darwin Barney, Reed Johnson, Miguel Montero, Geovany Soto and Travis Wood. That will be followed by long-time Convention favorite Cubs Bingo led by Wayne Messmer.
Sunday’s program features additional autograph sessions and two panels including Sunday Stories and Down on the Farm.
It hasn’t yet been announced whether any of these sessions will be streamed online or covered on TV. If I find out further information about this I will post it.
In addition to the sessions noted above, this year’s Convention includes several new activities for fans to enjoy throughout the weekend:
- New this year at the Loews Chicago Hotel, the Cubs will host a live audience for the tapings of several new videos for the Cubs YouTube channel, including a special edition of “Bae vs. Ballplayer” presented by Garrett Popcorn Shops.
- You can jump behind an anchor desk to produce your own Cubs highlight reel at the Marquee Sports Network Studio Experience. Anyone who does this will receive a downloadable copy of their highlight reel to share on social media for the chance to win fun prizes.
- Cubs fans can vote on their favorite designs for the Wintrust Crosstown Series Cup, which will be redesigned and unveiled ahead of the start of the Cubs-White Sox series July 7-8. After the Convention, the designs will be available for fans to vote on at www.wintrust.com through the end of March.
- There will be a dedicated social media room for giveaways, photo opportunities, special guest appearances and a place to recharge your mobile devices.
- Clark’s Clubhouse will be open Saturday and Sunday only and will feature a giant coloring wall, mystery temporary tattoos, face painting, balloon artists, a prize wheel and a build your own Chicago Dog station presented by Vienna Beef.
- Convention attendees can win big while giving back to the Chicago community through the Cubs Charities 50/50 Raffle program, available for purchase Friday and Saturday only. Fans can purchase 50/50 Raffle tickets online or from a uniformed Cubs Charities ambassador during Convention. The winning ticket number will be drawn at 7 p.m. CST Saturday, January 18, and will be posted online at www.cubs.com/raffle. The winner will receive half of the net proceeds from Cubs Convention’s raffle ticket sales and the other half will benefit Cubs Charities. If you purchase online, you will need to be located within the state of Illinois.
For more information and for a list of confirmed players, coaches and alumni, please visit www.cubs.com/convention. Convention passes and hotel packages are still available at that link. This is quite different from past years when the Convention generally sold out in November. Lastly, a percentage of the proceeds from Cubs Convention passes benefits Cubs Charities.