If you have any questions, just ask - cubsconvention@hotmail.com. And be sure to send along your photos and experiences after the Convention so we can share!

Please visit the Forum to share your thoughts on the Cubs Convention, who you got to meet, what presentations you attended, what you got autographed and what players and features you would like to see at the Cubs Convention.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Andre Dawson & Friends Celebrity Softball Event - July 28, 2010



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I found out about the Andre Dawson & Friends Celebrity Softball event in March and bought tickets early with the hopes that I would be able to get the autographs of Bruce Sutter and Mitch Williams, neither of whom have been at the Cubs Convention as long as I have been attending. Seeing Andre Dawson just days after his induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame would be cool.  And Dale Murphy was one of my favorite non-Cub players as a kid.
Andre Dawson at the plate.














The other players/celebrities scheduled to appear included: Vida Blue, Bill Buckner, Gary Carter, Warren Cromartie, Leon Durham, George Foster, Dwight Gooden, Bill Madlock, Steve McMichael, Al Oliver, Dave Parker, Gary Sheffield, Dwight Smith, Lee Smith, Jerome Walton, George Wendt (a no-show), Otis Wilson and Don Zimmer.

My friend and I arrived at about 3:30 p.m. for the 4:30 p.m. match up between the Joliet Jackhammers and Schaumburg Flyers. As we entered, we each received a stuffed animal (that frankly looks like an eagle, not a hawk) wearing a custom Andre Dawson jersey.






















By the time we found the picnic area behind left field where the autograph sessions were being held, there was already quite a line.

We were informed that the players would be signing in rotating groups (but that Andre Dawson would be staying the entire time), that there was no set schedule and that the players would absolutely not sign anything except the $5 commemorative program. Bummer. After some hemming and hawing, I plunked down the cash for the program with the hope that I might be successful having my own items signed, if I asked politely.

Dale Murphy

Dwight Gooden

Gary Sheffield

Lee Smith

The line moved rather slowly as the first group of about 10 players started to sign. At this point, we were not able to see who was up there. After about two hours of waiting in line, we finally got to the autograph tables. I was able to get the autographs of Jerome Walton, Vida Blue, Lee Smith, Don Zimmer, Dwight Smith and Bill Madlock on the program, Steve McMichael, Al Oliver and Mitch Williams inside the program and Steve McMichael signed and personalized an 8x10, Otis Wilson signed and personalized an 8x10 and signed a card, and Mitch Williams signed a card, too. Everyone else refused to sign anything but the program. We walked right past Gary Carter - that guy still bugs me. Unfortunately, no Bruce Sutter or Andre Dawson. Oh well.

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We headed to our seats, sitting down for the first time in the 8th inning. The lowly Flyers were getting spanked and there was not too much to see in the last inning and a half.

The celebrity softball game, on the other hand, was very entertaining. It was bizarre to see this seemingly random group of former players, including several Hall of Famers, MVPs, Dawson's former teammates and Superbowl XX Champions playing a softball game at an independent minor league stadium. Dave Parker pitched and never took off his Bluetooth receiver. Al Oliver, 65 years old, could still rip the ball but deferred to a designated runner. Gary Sheffield, the youngest player on the slate, acted as one the team's managers and did not even play. Don Zimmer got the boot after arguing a call. Dawson can still hit, too.

The game ended abruptly at the end of the fifth. I guess the scoreboard operator was denied overtime because he had already packed up and left so I have no idea of the final score.

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After the game, we hung out with Al Oliver briefly in the parking lot while he was waiting for his ride back to the hotel. He still had the ball he had kept, claiming it was his 3000th hit.
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Dwight Gooden's flight was late and although he was not in time for the game, he showed up at the park after the game was over and signed for everyone that was still left.

It was a weird day but a lot of fun and I got a lot of good autographs. Here's to hoping Bruce Sutter makes an appearance soon at the Convention. Not too much to look forward to this postseason...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ozzy Osbourne Book Signing - Skokie, Illinois

The Ozzy Osbourne-Chicago Cubs nexus is more than tangential. Ozzy set the bar as the worst guest conductor in seventh inning stretch history. And before you say anything to the contrary, please consider that Mike Ditka, (1) knew the lyrics and (2) had not made his living as a platinum-selling recording artist.

So I arrived at the Skokie Barnes & Noble at about 6:20 a.m. on January 30th and there were already at least another 150 people lined up already. It was still dark out and the temperature was 19 degrees. I was prepared. Some idiots showed up with nothing more than a hoodie and I saw a surprising number of people that did not even bother to bring gloves. Some of these geniuses even had kids in strollers out in this weather.

The store started handing out wristbands at 9:00 a.m. and by 9:25 I was comfortably inside as a member of group “D” with my newly purchased copy of “I am Ozzy.”
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It was here that we were told that we had to be in line by 10:30 a.m. if we wanted to meet Ozzy when he arrived at 1:00 p.m. That sucked. The feeling finally returned to my toes by 10:00 a.m.

I marveled at the number of people in the store. There were at least 400 wristbands distributed. The remaining latecomers were told they could wait in line, outside the store, if they wanted; however, Ozzy was only scheduled to sign for two hours and there was no guarantee of an autograph without a wristband. The store employee in charge of our line said this was the most people she'd ever seen in the store and that the crowd was much more normal looking than the weirdos that showed up for the Harry Potter event.

If only the people from Guinness were on hand, I think this would have easily set the record for the most metalheads in a bookstore at the same time. The crowd was an interesting mix of folks. I met people from southern Illinois, Indiana and even Wichita, Kansas. The vast majority of the people really did not look how I would picture hardcore Ozzy or Sabbath fans. I saw a bunch of shirts featuring Ozzy, Randy Rhodes and Sabbath, along with an array of other bands from Emperor to Slipknot.

I met Disturbed’s number one fan (“DNOF”) who at the apparent height of his impatience asked the store representative, in all seriousness, whether the wristbanded groups would be taken in alphabetical order. That was awesome. He also made the exact phone call. Five. Times. In a row. I have presented my best guess as to the other side of this conversation with each of his friends. It went something like this:

DNOF: “Hey, you’ll never guess where I am.”
Friend 1-5: [Where?]
DNOF: “A bookstore.”
Friend 1-5: [Why?]
DNOF: “I’m in line to get someone’s autograph.”
Friend 1-5: [Who?]
DNOF: “You’ll never guess!”
Friend 1-5: [Ok, I give up.]
DNOF: “Ozzy Osbourne!”
Friend 1-5: [That’s terrific. So why did you have to call me, anyway?]
DNOF: “I’m just trying to kill some time.”
Friend 1-5: [Great. I'm going back to sleep.]
DNOF: “Fine, I’ll talk to you later.”

A look-alike even came through the store:
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At about 40 minutes late, Ozzy was tucked into the lower-level music section at the store and there was not much opportunity to get a good photo. There were absolutely no photos with him, he would not personalize the autograph and would only sign the title page.
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Overall, he was very friendly and it was cool to meet him. Plus I got to find out what he likes on his pizza:
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Andre Dawson, HOF Class of 2010

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Congrats to the Hawk on his induction into Cooperstown! But as an Expo? The HOF booted that one.

2010 Cubs Convention Autograph Report

2010 Cubs Convention Autograph Report:

Friday

Autograph hunt: Bob Dernier (Comcast Booth) Jody Davis (Stage C)

Kitty O’Shea’s: Randy Hundley, Tim Stoddard, Keith Moreland, Glen Beckert, Mike Quade

The autograph hunt featured some new areas this year (two booths in the registration area with Dave Otto and Steve Trout) but there did not seem to be many current players or any of the most popular former players (Banks, Williams, Sandberg, Dawson, etc.) signing during the hunt. Ryan Dempster was the lone exception, signing at the booth for his charitable foundation.

Saturday

In line: Carlos Marmol, Geovany Soto, Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee (lottery winner)

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This convention seemed much less crowded in the autograph hall. The Cubs moved all of the lottery picks up to stages E and F set up in the International Ballroom, along with three scheduled non-lottery signing sessions with Bob Dernier, Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly. This certainly helped alleviate some of the congestion.

Further, there were still rooms available when we checked in. I believe that there were thousands less people in attendance this year. (Seems as though some of the fair-weather die-hard fans stayed away this year.)

Finally, it seemed like the people in charge of scheduling the autograph sessions did a better job of aligning the sessions to be more balanced in terms of avoiding having two less popular players against a much more popular one, such that everyone crowds one line.

Kitty O’Shea’s: Bob Dernier

Sunday

In line: Micah Hoffpauir, Randy Wells

2010 Convention Food Report

The Food and Drink

This year there was only one food vendor on the convention floor. There used to be several choices in the past, so I cannot be sure whether we should expect an exclusive food provider in the future. Interestingly, this vendor touted on their banner that they cater weddings. That is sweet if you plan to serve hot dogs and nachos at your wedding reception.

They did not have any breakfasty-type items such as donuts or bagels. Boo. Next year maybe you could remember breakfast for us, especially vanilla long johns.

The lines were too long on Saturday around lunchtime so we went upstairs and got giant slices of Connie's pizza for $4 from the hotel, which seemed reasonable. They also had full pies for $20, which again seemed reasonable for convention prices.

Working against the food vendor was a stand giving out samples of bison hot dogs and bison sausage containing rice and asiago cheese. Sweet mama was this stuff good and they let you have as much as you wanted. Plus, bison is good for you. They claimed the bison dogs will be available at Wrigley this season.

Rock Star was giving out samples of lemonade (tasty) and cola (nasty.)

Harry Caray's had samples of a Harry Caray's restaurant branded root beer that was very good.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Programs

2013



















Autographs:
Matt Szczur
Pat Hughes
Jon Lieber
Glen Beckert
Tim Stoddard
Jay Johnstone
Jeff Fassero
Robert Whitenack
Steve Trout

2012



















Autographs:
Tim Stoddard
Mike Bielecki
Bill Buckner
Jeff Fassero
Steve Trout
Brian LaHair
Ian Stewart

2011

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Autographs:
Dave Otto
Todd Walker
Steve Trout
Jose Cardenal
Ivan DeJesus
Bob Dernier
Keith Moreland
Tim Stoddard
Koyie Hill

2010

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Autographs:
Randy Hundley
Tim Stoddard
Keith Moreland
Bobby Dernier

2009

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Autographs:
Jim Hendry
Doug Glanville
Doug Dascenzo
Darwin Barney
Neil Cotts
Brandon Guyer

2008

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Autographs:
Wayne Messmer
Doug Dascenzo
Les Lancaster
Steve Trout
Billy Petrick
Scott Eyre
Rocky Roquet
Carmen Pignatiello
Tim Stoddard
Dave Otto
Sean Gallagher

2007

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Autographs:
Gene Oliver
Richie Hebner
Tim Stoddard
Les Lancaster
Larry Biittner
Pat Hughes
Dave Otto
Scott Eyre
Bob Howry
Mickey Morandini

2006

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Autographs:
Michael Wuertz
Dave Kingman
Chris Speier
Gary Varsho
Jody Davis
Jay Johnstone
Burt Hooton
Bobby Dernier
Dwight Smith
Doug Glanville
Lee Smith
Tim Stoddard
Rick Wilkins
Todd Wellemeyer
Jerry Hairston, Jr.
Glenallen Hill

2005

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Autographs:
Len Kasper
Bob Dernier
Keith Moreland

2004

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Autographs:
Wendell Kim
Gary Varsho
Jim Frey
Dwight Smith
Davey Lopes
Jim Hendry
Steve Trout
Dave Owen
Dickie Noles
George Frazier
Warren Brusstar

2003

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Autographs:
Dave Veres
Don Cardwell
Gene Hiser
Gary Varsho
Nic Jackson
Tom Waddle
Keith Moreland

2002

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Autographs:
Dave Kingman
Nic Jackson
Keith Moreland
Tim Stoddard
Bill Buckner
Augie Ojeda
Dave Otto

2001

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Autographs:
Will Ohman
Kevin Tapani
Rondell White
Jody Davis
Mike Bielecki
Jose Cardenal
Julian Tavarez
Gail Fischer
Bill Mueller
Jason Bere
Don Baylor

2000

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Autographs:
Bob Dernier
Vince Lloyd
Tim Stoddard
Milt Pappas
Kyle Farnsworth
Bill Madlock
Rick Monday

1999

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Autographs:
Andy Pafko
Glen Beckert
Jon Lieber
Scott Sanderson

1998

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Autographs:
Oscar Gamble
Glen Beckert
Kevin Tapani
Mike Hubbard
Paul Reuschel
Carmen Fanzone
Pat Cline
Don Kessinger
Mike Bielecki
Rodney Myers
Don Cardwell

1997

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Autographs:
Steve Trout
Terry Adams
Kent Bottenfield
Larry Casian
Mike Hubbard
Jim Riggleman
Andy Pafko
Keith Moreland
Bob Patterson
Glen Beckert
Milt Pappas
Brian McRae

1996

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Autographs:
Wayne Messmer
Terry Adams
Jose Cardenal
Tim Stoddard
Walt Moryn
Pat Hughes
Steve Trachsel

1995

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Autographs:
Mike Krukow
Ernie Broglio
Andy Pafko
Thad Bosley
Tim Stoddard
Jim Riggleman
Milt Pappas
Vince Lloyd
Dave Kingman

Sunday, January 10, 2010

2010 Cubs Convention Attendees

Here is the list of attendees for this year's Convention:

Jim Adduci
Jeff Baker
Ernie Banks
Glenn Beckert
Justin Berg
Bob Brenly
Randy Bush
Marlon Byrd
Esmailin Caridad
Andrew Cashner
Welington Castillo
Tyler Colvin
Jody Davis
Andre Dawson
Ivan DeJesus
Ryan Dempster
Bob Dernier
Oneri Fleita
Mike Fontenot
Sam Fuld
Tom Gorzelanny
John Grabow
Jeff Gray
Angel Guzman
Jim Hendry
Koyie Hill
Micah Hoffpauir
Pat Hughes
Randy Hundley
Brett Jackson
Rudy Jaramillo
Fergie Jenkins
Jay Johnstone
Len Kasper
Crane Kenney
Derrek Lee
Ted Lilly
Carlos Marmol
Sean Marshall
Gary Matthews
Keith Moreland
Dave Otto
Andy Pafko
Milt Pappas
Lou Piniella
Mike Quade
Larry Rothschild
Jeff Samardzija
Ryne Sandberg
Scott Sanderson
Ron Santo
Carlos Silva
Matt Sinatro
Lee Smith
Geovany Soto
Tim Stoddard
Lester Strode
Rick Sutcliffe
Ryan Theriot
Alan Trammell
Steve Trout
Randy Wells
Tim Wilken
Billy Williams
Carlos Zambrano