Chicago Cubs' Convention Not So Fan Friendly

Christopher Bremner@bremquestCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2009

The 24th annual Cubs convention was held at the Hilton Chicago with great expectations, for a great Chicago Cubs baseball team. 

The 2008 Chicago Cubs won back-to-back division titles for the first time since their three consecutive world series trips from 1906-1908.

They also sent a record seven players to the All-Star Game, won a National League best 97 games, produced their first no-hitter in 36 years, earned honors including the NL Rookie of the Year, the NL Manager of the Year, as well as, the Hank Aaron award winner. 

This historic regular season was by no means one to shake your fist at and the fans have shown their appreciation. 

In 2007, Chicago Cubs fans set a new single-season attendance record, and in 2008, set an even better one with 3,300,200 attendees. With the Chicago Cubs having one of the highest paid teams in baseball and their salaries being paid mostly by ticket sales, concessions, and memorabilia sales, you would think players would be a little more gracious towards their fans.

It seems year after year that Cubs fans are being shorted at these conventions, and I am sick of it. 

Here is a re-cap of my experience at the 2009 Chicago Cubs convention after purchasing the expensive, sold out, convention tickets: 

Big Wigs such as Alfonso Soriano, Ryne Sandberg, Carlos Zambrano, and Lou Pinella were all in attendance, supposedly. However, you actually had to win at a scratch-and-win lottery card in order to even stand in line for their autographs.

N.L. Rookie of the year Geovany Soto, confirmed to be there, “missed his flight”, and newly acquired slugger Milton Bradley was scheduled in two different places at the same time, leaving a total of 20 minutes out of the scheduled 45 minutes promised for autographs. 

My personal favorite was Ted Lilly. Ted was scheduled to take photographs with his loyal fans, but instead, proceeded to walk up next to the stage and take a look at the large crowd before promptly turning around and leaving, never to return. Is this a joke? 

I know that dealing with crowds and pretending to like every autograph hound is probably extremely annoying but guess with it! You are Major League Baseball players getting paid millions of dollars to play a game! 

You are not saving lives, you are not solving world peace issues, and you are not royalty. Entertaining the fans is your business...Time to start acting like it.

Geovany Soto, you missed your flight? Book another one! Milton Bradley, you were scheduled two places at once? Maybe you should take the initiative and get there 30 minutes earlier and participate in both events equally, instead of showing up at the last possible minute...wait I mean late!

And Ted Lilly, there were children there who waited over three hours just to take a picture with you, their idol, and just sitting there and smiling was too big of a hassle for you.

Unless there was some sort of family emergency, you may have officially become one of the most selfish and arrogant Chicago Cub players since Kent Mercker or Sammy Sosa roamed the clubhouse. Especially after last year’s mess when you showed up 20 minutes late to the children’s autograph session. What a shame. 

Besides the one-on-ones, other events such as the Zambrano no-no interview, the opening ceremony, and coaching staff interviews went very well.

I understand that MLB players have a long and tedious season and that they have to deal with some over-excited fans on a day to day basis. When it comes to something such as the Cubs convention, though, you are under the spotlight and if there is ever a time to at least pretend you are a decent, grateful, human being this would have been the time. 

There were no games or practices to use as an excuse, this was the fans turn.  Especially for the kids.

I realize I may have been a bit harsh putting all of the blame on the players, as the management at the Convention seemed to be completely disorganized in some instances (e.g. How do you book Milton Bradley in two places at once?), but between both parties one would think you could get it right. 

It is a shame that some of these ego driven players actually think that their time is more valuable than any other persons. Being a ballplayer is a business, you do not have a right to be there. It should be an honor.

The class acts deserving honorable mention are: Ryan Theriot, Micah Hoffpauir, Jeff Samardzija, Ryan Dempster, Kevin Gregg, Kevin Hart, and the always appreciative Carlos Marmol.


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