The Cubs Convention is many things, but different is not one of them. John McDonough’s template has been used for 29 years with very few changes, so for the 30th iteration, they’ll stick with what isn’t broken.
Cubs fans aren’t exactly known for their ability to roll with change, so it’s not like I can blame the Cubs. Here’s the schedule the Cubs have published:
Friday, January 16th
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Opening Ceremony
7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Friday Night with Ryan Dempster, presented by Budweiser
Saturday, January 17th
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Ricketts Family Forum
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Cubs Jeopardy
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. A Recent Look Back: The Cubs of 2007-08
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Meet Cubs Baseball Management
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Meet the New Cubs
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Joe Maddon & His Coaching Staff, presented by Wintrust Community Banks
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. For Kids Only Press Conference, presented by Advocate Children’s Hospital
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Cubs Business Operations Update
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. New Kids on the Block
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Cubs Family Feud, presented by Mastercard
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. What Lies Ahead
5:15 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. #CubsSocial
8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Cubs Bingo, presented by Budweiser
Sunday, January 18th
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. 30 Years of Cubs Convention Memories
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Down on the Farm
They’re not even bothering to give descriptions of the events anymore since anybody who cares about them knows what everything is anyway.
The Opening Ceremony will start with a parade of middle relievers and utility players from Cubs’ days of yore and they’ll get more applause than they ever got when they were blowing leads or striking out for the Cubs, followed by embarrassing amounts of applause for guys like Ryan Sweeney, and then an all-too-rare sighting of a Cubs Hall of Famer or two. Then they’ll show an extremely creatively edited video that makes even the worst prior seasons look like unbridled successes and gets the juices of hope flowing once again.
The Ricketts Family Forum is strategically scheduled for the earliest slot possible on Saturday morning in the hopes that the snarky beat writers, bloggers, and Twitterers from the post-Opening Ceremony drinking session won’t be able to attend to make fun of Todd because they are too hungover.
Meet Baseball Management will undoubtedly feature Theo, Jed and for some reason, Randy Bush. I’m fully expecting Bush will set himself on fire in the middle of the session just so someone will ask him a question for the first time in eight years or so, like “Randy, should we call the paramedics?!” But knowing Cubs fans it won’t work. It will be more like, “Uh, this question is for Theo. I’ve been a Cubs fan for 40 years and I’ve been going to Mesa for the last 20 years with my son, so what I’d like to know is if you think the players will be able to focus properly on preparing for the season after Randy Bush just burned to death a minute ago?”
Joe Maddon will get to meet Cubs fans en masse for the first time, and I can’t wait to see the looks on his face as the Yellons of the world try to impress him with which crappy blog they write for and how much they know about baseball strategy. Since the bullpen was pretty strong last year, the comments will undoubtedly slant towards recommending that the starter get removed the moment they surrender their first hit of the game. Where the offense is concerned, I’m sure Ricky’s creative base-running that often led to comical outs on the bases will drive many comments recommending the use of bunts and “hitting behind the runner for productive outs.” I expect Maddon will address most fan questions with a folksy story about bass fishing or some shit that completely mesmerizes the fans into not realizing he’s not directly addressing any of their recommendations because they are stupid.
The New Kids on the Block will probably not be the now middle-aged former boy band, but at least that would be something different. It will instead be a bunch of minor-leaguers and/or rookies that will be asked repeatedly how awesome they think it will be if they get to be part of a team that breaks the championship drought.
I’d give anything if the 30 Years of Convention memories would just be a video montage of all of Yellon’s dipshit questions throughout the years, but it will probably just be a lot of pictures of old ladies wearing hats filled with so many Cubs pins that it’s amazing they don’t collapse from bearing all that weight.
The rest is also pretty standard meet and greets, autograph/memorabilia games, and panels with very specific and well-rehearsed talking points. Again, as per usual.
So, in keeping with the Cubs Convention tradition of always being the same, the Friday Night Cubs Twitter/Blog/Fan Drink Fest will go on as per usual. The plan is to at least start out at Lizzie McNeill’s shortly after the Opening Ceremony and, let’s face it, will probably remain there because they have alcohol and it’s cold outside. It’s always a good time.
Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.