OH, SCRAP: CONVENTION CANCELED
The 2021 Cubs Convention is kaput, the latest event to be canceled because of the coronavirus.
It was to be held Jan. 15-17 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. Those dates get wiped away like so many others throughout the sports world have been.
“Pain and torture,” Cubs vice president of communications Julian Green said.
That was a reference to the one-thing-after-another experience lately of being a fan who can’t go to a game at Wrigley Field, can’t look forward to convention tickets going on sale in August, can’t enjoy their team as usual.
Will they at least be able to watch Opening Day on television? Fans are fretting about that, too.
“I think in an environment where live sports were abruptly taken away, and then the prospects of them coming back without fans being in the stands — and then certainly for our franchise, Cubs Convention, one of the longest-running fan engagements, being canceled — it’s just disappointing,” Green said.
“Do people get it because we’re in a pandemic? Sure, but they’re no less disappointed.”
The Cubs’ annual event dates to 1986 and is a trendsetter, with such fan gatherings now commonplace for the city’s other professional teams and across sports leagues. And the Cubs do their event up big, typically drawing around 10,000 paying customers.
Ultimately, calling the next one off was a “practical decision,” Green said, and not all that complicated, though the Cubs didn’t make it without serious disappointment of their own.
“You’re hoping that either the data or the science will tell you that things will be increasingly better in January, but that’s not the case,” Green said. “The fact of the matter is there are still unknowns and probably more uncertainties going into January 2021 than we could predict.
“We felt like we had to do it now rather than have to come back to the fan base — after providing limited hope that we were having it — only to dash those hopes.”
The Cubs remain hopeful for limited attendance at games at some point this season. In the meantime, they’ve hosted virtual forums with front-office members for season-ticket holders. They’ve increased content on digital and social channels. They’re working on an “outdoor dining district” on Clark Street on non-game weekends.
It’s not the same as the real thing, of course.
“We need some wins,” Green said.
On the field — soon — and off.
All about the ‘W’
One of the themes bubbling up in Cubs camp is that individual statistics — even for players in make-or-break contract years — are taboo subjects. In a 60-game regular season, they’ll be relatively meaningless as it is. Just win, baby.
“I think stats in general, at the end of all this, aren’t going to play a huge role for career or maybe money in the future, or the [usual] dynamics that go along with stats,” manager David Ross said. “I think it’s going to be about the ‘W’ this year and winning, and the team that can focus on that and embrace each role.”
The Cubs sent cash considerations to the Padres for the rights to pitcher Trevor Megill, who was assigned to the team’s taxi camp in South Bend, Indiana. The Cubs selected Megill — a 6-8, 235-pounder with major velocity — from the Padres in the Rule 5 draft in December. He could be a bullpen depth piece down the road.
The Brewers named Brandon Woodruff their Opening Day starter for the July 24 game at Wrigley Field. Woodruff was 11-3 with a 3.62 ERA before an injury cut short his 2019 season. He’ll oppose fellow right-hander Kyle Hendricks. ✶
Javy Baez (left) celebrates with Kyle Schwarber after hitting a solo home run in the intrasquad game Friday at Wrigley Field.