Pictured: a roomful of people who will clearly never learn.
Hi there. This, if you recall, is often a Cubs blog. Mostly during baseball season. Problem: winter coverage and "hot stove!" makes us want to die. So to bring you some hot, steamy offseason action, we've contracted former Thunder Matt's Saloon editor Daft Funk to rock your faces with an official Cubs Convention recap notebook.
Of course, WAIW being WAIW, I've delayed in posting this until it's juuuuuuuust this side of relevant. But nothing relevant happens there. So enjoy the lovely prose, the legends of Cubdom (Todd Fucking Walker!), and the fact that you're getting fucking anything from us before a week prior to Opening Day.
- Got to the Sheraton on Friday around 2. Got a few signatures in the lobby as players walked by to their rooms. Dave Otto walked by about 5 times. The entire time he looked confused and was holding some mysterious package from Amazon.
This is actually Micah Hoffpair. Not pictured: sad trombone.
- Jay Johnstone was walking around the lobby talking up his own book (holding it in his hands the entire time of course). No one knew who he was. Either that or they didn't care. He sat down and tried reading it to some kids, but they seemed confused and a little scared.
It was probably the sweater-vest.
- The one autograph I wanted going into the weekend was Rizzo. I was able to get my hands on a season ticket stub from his Cubs debut and I thought it would be cool to get signed. I thought that getting in line at 7:00 AM for his 10:00 signing session would be early enough to get in. Nope. My second chance was at the Sports Central panel where they do radio interviews and the players sign things leaving the stage sometimes. Missed Rizzo there too, but Edwin Jackson stuck around for almost a half hour after signing for everyone.
- Coming home from John's birthday dinner on Saturday night, Rizzo was in the lobby signing for people on his way out. Had to sprint to the elevators to get my stub for him, but made it back to the lobby in time for him to sign it. He seemed really confused to be signing a ticket stub. I found out the next day it was because he was fucking smashed at the time.
- 3 different Cubs said that the biggest party animal/drinker on the team is Scott Feldman ... based solely on a team function they had on Thursday night.
- Darwin Barney seems to be stuck up now. One Gold Glove later, and I didn't see the guy sign one single autograph outside of the 2 hour long spots he had during the weekend.
- When you're in line for an autograph, they give 100 - 125 vouchers out to the first people in line saying that you're guaranteed an autograph. Some guys really love to talk a lot, so they might take a lot longer to sign 100 or so people than just one hour, so that's how they make sure a good amount of people get things signed. I guess on Saturday Castro was supposed to sign for an hour. He showed up 15 minutes late and left 20 minutes early. Lots of people with vouchers didn't get an autograph. That's shitty.
- Castro is a lot taller in person than I thought he would be. I'd say he's 6'2 or 6'3. Looks like he bulked up over the winter too.
- Tom Ricketts continues to be fucking awesome. He was walking around all 3 days and you couldn't go an hour without seeing him somewhere. He talked for a solid 5 minutes about what they're planning to do around the stadium over the next few years to make the whole area more of a fun fan experience.
- Poor Wellington Castillo can barely speak English. He did a radio sit down with DeJesus and after trying rally hard to get through the first question (and doing pretty well, although struggling a bit), they let DeJesus do the other 25 minutes.
- Jody Davis is a HUGE draw. (Editor's note: Wut.) - Jon Lieber has one of the thickest southern accents I've ever heard. He seemed like he was having a fucking blast all weekend. He said he plans to come back every year from now on because "I like to get out of the house."
- David DeJesus seems like he genuinely loves being a Cub.
- Gary Matthews Sr. said nothing more than a grunt when he signed a ball for me.
- Todd Walker is really fucking cool. He asked if I wanted him to sign on the sweet spot of the ball or off on the side and explained that the reason he asks is because if people want a bunch of players to sign one ball, he leaves the best spot for someone else. I told him that I would never have someone else put their name on my Todd Walker ball. He said "Well, I didn't know if you were going to try and get all the 1998 Twins to sign a ball for you and you wanted to start with me. That team was a juggernaut."
- Had to wait in line for just over 2 hours for a Matt Garza autograph, but it was worth it because he's fucking awesome. Smiling and joking the entire time. On the flipside, Carlos Marmol did a kids-only signing and couldn't be bothered to crack a goddamn smile the whole time.
- Jeff Samardzija is actually a lot funnier and personable than I gave him credit for. I might have to stop hating him as much. He said the only reason he went to Notre Dame was because they were the only major school that would let him play baseball and football at the same time.
- I wasn't going to wake up early on Sunday and spend 5 hours in line to get Ernie Banks' autograph, but I ran into him on Saturday and he looks like he could die at any moment. But man, he LOVES talking to people. We were only supposed to get one thing autographed and we were advised that there were NO PICTURES with him. But when I got to him, he signed my bat and an old picture from a set my mom had as a kid (even said "Look at this young handsome man!"). Pulled 3 of us behind the table he was at for a picture. Spent 3-4 minutes talking to us, which must have pissed everyone in line behind us off. That's why his one hour signings usually go 2-3 hours long. Every single person that came up to him, he asked what they did for a living.
"You're a blogger? Oh son, that's so sad."
- One of the items you could win during Cubs Bingo was a "66" flag in honor of Sosa's 1998 season. A sizable amount of people booed when his name was mentioned, so there's still a lot of bad blood. - The worst jersey I saw all weekend was an MLB Authentic (EXPENSIVE) Jim Edmonds jersey. Second worst is this half-and-half Maddux jersey:
- The most fun game of the weekend was every time there was a random beer can or bottle in a plant or behind a curtain, saying "Wait, Todd Hundley is here?" Never got old.
That's all for the recap. Stay tuned to WAIW for (5th Annual!) Pub Crawl updates. Eventually.