The guys at Vine Line got me a ticket to this year's convention.
Because they're awesome.
In the past I always arrived late to that Saturday morning meeting with the GM and Manager, ended up standing in the back of the crowded ballroom getting pictures of the backs of Cub fan's heads.
I thought with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Dale Sveum and Shiraz Rehman, I should finally be on time.
Instead of the Hilton on Michigan, it's at the Sheraton on the river this year.
Phones work here which is fabulous, but... new layout.
"Can you tell me where ballrooms 9, 10, and 11 are?" I ask the lady with the Cubs badge.
She points to the numbers above the doors in the lobby.
There are also little halls that run between the groups of ballrooms, and I walk down one of those.
I'm an hour early, and there are only about 50 people in here so I grab a seat 2 rows back, excusing myself to step past a number of fans in the row.
After 20 minutes, the Ricketts all walk in and they're talking to people which is cool.
But then they suddenly Len Kasper jumps up onstage and introduces them.
What the hell?
I look at the program, it must be the Ricketts Family Forum.
I've been sitting in the wrong room for a half hour?
And now I... I can't just rudely walk out because I'm right up front.
But this is a q&a thing only - no real speech from the Ricketts.
Question askers line up behind a mic.
I listen to one and then I actually say to the woman next to me, "Weeeeellll, guess I'll go get in line now. And go ask my question. To the Ricketts."
Every time I step over someone's legs in the row, I whisper, "S'cuse me. Gotta go ask my question."
Then I sauntered to the end of the line and hauled ass.
I'm such an idiot.
Okay so now it's onto the Theo thing.
I'm still actually early and get an even better seat than I had.
They're a really impressive group.
You end up with the feeling that no matter the room, they'd be the smartest guys there.
So there were lots of questions and I can't make "actual" quotes, but I took some notes and you'll get the gist.
The Dempster trade thing was a semantics error.
When Hoyer said Dempster was "in the office", that didn't mean actually in the same office with Hoyer.
It meant Dempster was in the office (building) just in case they needed to discuss something quickly, Hoyer would summon him.
Hoyer also got a mild laugh talking about the "botched" trades, comparing it to buying a house.
Like if something goes wrong with the inspection or whatever, do you say you botched buying a house?
I kind of buy that.
Randy Bush identified Nick Struck as a pitcher he thought was on a faster track.
Theo spoke at length about the "Cubs Way", which I'd only ever thought of as a concept.
But it's apparently a couple hundred-page manual with everything from batting philosophy to how to act off the field that every player no matter the level gets to read and...live by.
Sveum grunted that he'd never gotten anything like it when he was playing.
(It's awesome when you've got Sveum and Epstein in the same room - if they starred in a 70's tv cop show, it would be called "Pinetar and Vorp".)
More Theo: the "mindset of a small market team with the resources of big market" thing - that they'll build the team and when the time is right will have the juice to go get the player(s) to put them over the top.
Somebody asked about the draft and Theo began the answer with the gif above.
They talked about leaving Peoria for Kane County so that the players there can get used to Chicago and Chicago can get used to those young players.
Some other funny stuff from a guy "representing the senior citizens" who "don't have alot of time".
All in all, a pretty cool event.
And... the emotional bond being created between us and the new team, don't you think this is unique?
When teams like the Dodgers are being put together overnight with money?
Once the Cubs are truly competitive, don't you think it'll feel more rewarding to have grown with them rather than buying them from Miami?
I know, we don't have any choice.
But if this makes any sense... it seems like more than most fans we'll get to root for our team rather than just our logo.
So...GROW you kids.
Couple things from the Cubs Convention
The guys at Vine Line got me a ticket to this year's convention.
Except that he gave up Russell and McKinney for a half-season of Hammel...
Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.
The genius Angelo traded Olsen at Martzs request
Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"
To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.
HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.
Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.
"they just fade away"
(Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)
Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.
I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.
AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?
He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.
Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.
I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.
I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).
Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.
"What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "
As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.
Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.
Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer
-0.3 WAR in 7.1ip last year...
-3 WAR projected over the course of a season.
the cubs just added an all-star reliever's worth of work by losing b.schlitter.