Cubs Convention Recap
Friday- Opening Ceremonies:
- Hendry said “I am going to promise two things. We will be good and we will stay good.”
- Kerry Wood looked great. Definitely lost some weight.
- The video highlight from the previous year was pretty weak, but not surprising coming off a 96-loss season.
- Loudest cheer was for Barrett’s punch to AJ.
- Biggest boos were for George Bush, Larry Rothschild and Dusty Baker.
- Video was mostly about offseason stuff and quotes about offseason or next year.
Management Meeting (Jim Hendry, Randy Bush and Lou Piniella):
- One of the emcee’s said that Wood lost 31 pounds since the season ended and Dempster lost 20 pounds.
- Hendry said “Medically we are in the best shape we have been in years.”
- Hendry said “Painful day when we got Pierre and had to give up a pitcher like Nolasco. It obviously didn’t work out.”
- Hendry said “Marketing Department does not get in the way of the team and never at the expense of the ballclub.” This was in response to a question (I think by All Yellon) about them having clinics on the field before games and thus the team not being able to practice.
- Hendry reiterated he has never felt handcuffed budget wise.
- Hendry said “Game is all about scoring runs and knocking in runs.” I am sure CHAD will LOVE this comment.
- Lou Piniella finally arrives to session 25 minutes late…There were lots of murmuring throughout crowd and not many people were happy he was late as they felt it was disrespectful. (Editor's Note: Piniella claimed his back flared up on him in the morning, causing his delay.)
- Hendry said “It (injuries) just happens…it’s baseball.”
- Hendry said “Jacque Jones has not expressed to us that he wanted to go.”
- Hendry said “We don’t know exactly where we are going to play Soriano.”
- Hendry said “We are not going to do anything to block his (Felix Pie)”
- At one point after a few fans asked some tough questions, Lou turns to Hendry and says “Man Jim, this is a tough crowd.”
- Both Hendry and Lou confirmed it is a virtual lock that Soriano will be leading off.
- Soriano says he wants to lead off and play CF. Lou said he will play all OF positions in Spring Training and then settle in one for the year. No moving him around.
- Lou said “You don’t want your 3-4-5 hitters taking too many pitches. OBP is important, should have a team one at .345 or better.”
A New Beginning (Jim Hendry and John McDonough):
- Some one asked about why they didn’t sign Lofton. Hendry basically said he wants to give Pie every chance to play when ready and doesn’t want him blocked in any way.
- Hendry reconfirmed he offered Furcal years $47.5 million contract.
- Hendry acknowledged that he is not trading for players who can be FA’s after this season and have the possibility of losing them after one year like he did with Pierre (he used Jason Jennings as an example).
Business Operations Meeting (Marketing, Lawyer, Tickets, Stadium Operations)
- Tickets for season ticket holders will be unchaged for this year, but because of the jump in payroll the Cubs have decided to raise ticket prices for individual ticket sales starting when they go on sale February 23rd. Every ticket will go up $2.00 per seat with the newer seats behind homeplate going up $5.00 per seat.
- The ticket brokerage company the Cubs have (Wrigley Field Premium Ticket Services) only sold 12,000-15,000 tickets last year.
Minor Leagues (Tim Wilken, Oneri Fleita, Eric Patterson and Donnie Veal)
- The Cubs will have the 3rd pick, 31st pick (first sandwich pick) with a 3rd and 4th round pick this upcoming year (and more later round picks).
- Oneri said that Angel Guzman was granted a 4th option year. AZ Phil will love to know this information.
- Oneri said that Casey McGhee decided to try catching again.
Overall the mood of the fans seemed upbeat, but they were not overconfident by any means. It seems like they feel the team has improved but are on a wait and see basis.
Thanks to Manny for this writeup....