12/16/2013 12:40 P.M. ET
Cubs Convention to celebrate Wrigley, new squad
Annual fan event to be held Jan. 17-19 at Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
New manager Rick Renteria, Hall of Fame alumni and some of the team's top prospects will be featured at the 2014 Cubs Convention on Jan. 17-19 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers.
The 29th annual convention will include more than 100 photo and autograph opportunities, new activities and traditional favorites.
The opening ceremonies get under way at 6 p.m. CT and will feature player introductions on a red-carpet runway, providing VIP access to children 16 and under. The convention's first day will conclude with a special movie premiere of MLB Production's 100 Years of Wrigley Field, followed by a "Cheers to 100 Years" toast at the Sheraton Chicago's Chi Bar, hosted by Budweiser.
Day 2 will feature fan favorites such as the Cubs' "Family Feud" and "Jeopardy," which will feature unique trivia based on Wrigley Field's 100 years of history. There will be fan guests on each team.
Renteria will introduce his coaching staff in a question-and-answer session on the second day of the convention. There also will be a "Not for Women Only" session, which is always lively, and the day will conclude with a special 100 Years of Wrigley Field session, where fans can get a sneak peek at some of the promotions planned for the centennial season.
Additional weekend sessions (subject to change) include the Ricketts family forum, a "Meet Cubs Baseball Management" session, a scouting and player development seminar, a "For Kids Only" press conference and a "Meet Cubs Baseball Management."
Among the current Cubs players scheduled to attend include Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo, Starlin Castro, Edwin Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Nate Schierholtz, Carlos Villanueva and Travis Wood. Fergie Jenkins, Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly, Mark Prior, Dwight Smith, Lee Smith, Jody Davis, Billy Williams, Kerry Wood and Ernie Banks also are scheduled to attend.
Starting at the Cubs Convention, the team will pay tribute to 100 great times in Wrigley Field history, presented by Budweiser. One moment will be unveiled each day at the Convention, and fans will be able to follow these unveilings via social media.
A new autograph system will be integrated and will include the opportunity for fans to have a meet-and-greet with marquee players through a donation to Cubs Charities.
Fans will be able to visit a dedicated social media lounge, featuring giveaways, charging stations, an interactive screen and special guest Twitter takeovers throughout the weekend.
There will be a miniature turf diamond, which will let kids play pick-up Wiffle ball games, as well as participate in professional instructional clinics as part of the Baseball Interactive Zone. Cubs players and coaches will pair up with Illinois Baseball Academy instructors to hold seminars for kids of all ages throughout the weekend.
MLB Network's Strike Zone will allow fans to test their arm speed and win prizes at an inflatable speed pitch. There also will be a dedicated Kids' Corner, which will have face painting, caricatures, balloon artists and a coloring station with a weekend-long coloring contest. Winners will be selected on Jan. 19.
The Cubbie Closet will give kids a chance to dress up like a big leaguer in complete, full-size uniforms for a fun photo opportunity.
There will be a variety of Cubs memorabilia for sale or auction from Cubs Authentics, Cubs Charities and a selection of third-party vendors.
Room packages at the Sheraton Chicago and individual weekend passes for the 2014 Cubs Convention are available. Cubs Convention room rates include passes at a discounted price of $20 per pass. Passes also can be purchased individually for $60 per pass plus convenience fees at www.cubs.com/convention or 1-800-THE-CUBS. Guests can visit the Cubs Convention page for more information and the most up-to-date list of confirmed players, coaches and alumni.
Due to high demand of parking at the Sheraton Chicago during Cubs Convention weekend and the cost of parking downtown, a limited number of parking spots will be available at Wrigley Field for the duration of the weekend on a first-come, first-serve basis. These print-at-home parking vouchers are available at www.cubs.com/convention for $25 for the entire weekend, beginning Friday at 3 p.m. CT until Sunday at 3 p.m. CT. Please note transportation from Wrigley Field to the Sheraton Chicago will be the responsibility of the attendee.
A percentage of the proceeds from Cubs Convention benefits Cubs Charities. To date, the event has raised approximately $4 million for Cubs Charities.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.