CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs decided in July to cancel their annual offseason convention, which was scheduled to take place next weekend at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.
COVID-19 concerns made it impossible for the Cubs to plan that far ahead, and with the pandemic still raging six months later, they obviously made the right call.
The Cubs Convention is the longest-running fan fest in sports, and I’ve been covering it since the second edition in 1987, before most of the current Cubs were born. That was the convention at which outfielder Keith Moreland asked fans to write President Ronald Reagan to demand lights get installed at Wrigley Field and fans begged general manager Dallas Green to sign free-agent slugger Andre Dawson.
“We were 70-90 last year, and I’m not sure if Andre can make us 90-70,” Green told Cubs fans. “The growth and stability of a franchise has to start with the minor league system.”
The Cubs eventually signed Dawson to a bargain-basement contract that year and he won the National League MVP Award with 49 home runs, but they still finished in last place in the NL East at 76-85. Thirty-four years later, they’re again looking to upgrade the minor league system, as evidenced by the recent trade of Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini to the San Diego Padres for four low-level prospects.
Anyway, it’s a shame the convention had to be canceled. It’s the unofficial start to the new season and always fun to see familiar faces and dream of better days ahead.
Of course, if the Cubs really wanted to keep the tradition alive, they could always hold a virtual Cubs Convention with question-and-answer seminars held on Zoom.
We can only imagine how it would go.