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Cubs Start Next Year Early at Convention

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 18, 2011 6:20PM

convention_logo_2011.jpg While most of Chicago's sports fans were too preoccupied with Bears playoff mania to think about baseball, the Cubs hosted their annual convention at the Hilton Chicago last weekend. As in past years, Cubs fans had a chance to mingle, meet players and attend panels with the team's players and management. Fans also got a chance to check out the newest high profile additions, like first baseman Carlos Pena and starting pitcher Matt Garza, and hear from newly appointed manager Mike Quade.

It was a rather quiet weekend, as opposed to previous conventions. The biggest news was when team chairman Tom Ricketts announced that in tribute to recently departed Cubs legendary third baseman and radio broadcaster Ron Santo, the team will unveil a statue in his honor at Wrigley Field on August 10. Cubs players will also wear Santo tribute patches on their uniforms this season.

Perhaps the biggest fireworks also came from Ricketts' session, when he took questions from the fans. Among the heated topics were the Cubs allowing Ryne Sandberg to leave the organization and questioning the retention of GM Jim Hendry in the wake of last season's fifth-place finish. When asked about his biggest regret over his first year running the team, Ricketts mentioned the uproar created when the team asked for public funds to rehab Wrigley Field. And yet much of the weekend's discussions focused on "saving Wrigley," so we can expect to hear alternate plans to fix up the park.

Cubs fans generally had a good time during the weekend's events, but it wasn't without problems. Some unsavory attendees' counterfeit autograph ticket scam left some fans with legitimate tickets for the autograph sessions without signatures from Aramis Ramirez and Billy Williams. The team issued an apology and vowed to get autographs to the fans left out in the cold during the Convention.