For fans eager to get the season started, the Cubs Convention, held Jan. 18-20, is the perfect mid-winter filler between the end of the regular season and the start of spring training.
Individual weekend passes for the 2013 event went on sale last week at 60 a pop at Cubs.com. Fans can also book rooms at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers (phone: 800-233-4100) for the Cubs Convention rate of 179 per night. Those who book a two-night stay at the hotel will receive an authentic, autographed photo of Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson and can purchase up to four Convention passes for a reduced rate of 20 each.
This will be the first year the Cubs are holding the annual Convention at the Sheraton. Last year was a big hit as the Theo Epstein era, featuring the president of baseball operations and his rebuilt front office staff sitting in on panels and answering fans' questions. It was also the first Convention since Ron Santo's induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame and a panel was held in his honor featuring former broadcast partner Pat Hughes, as well as Santo's family and former teammates.
Of course, the highlight from last year's Convention was Kerry Wood's re-signing, announced in front of the entire crowd during the Opening Ceremonies.
Rizzo, Jackson, Starlin Castro and Jeff Samardzija headline a cast of more than 50 current, former and minor league Cubs players and personnel this year. The Convention will kick off at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18 and run until 9 p.m. with hours from 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday before concluding with four hours Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Visit Cubs.com for more information.
The Cubs are down to only one starter in next month's All-Star Game in Miami: reigning MVP Kris Bryant.
Jason Heyward lost his grip on the final starting outfielder spot to Marlins star Marcell Ozuna in the latest All-Star balloting update released by the MLB:
That may be for the best, as the Cubs are currently banged up (Heyward. Ben Zobrist and Kyle Hendricks are on the disabled list) and slogging through a season where they've hovered around .500. So maybe four days off in a row would be beneficial for the defending champs.
Heyward is 29,270 votes behind Ozuna and Zobrist is 118,248 votes behind Heyward. It appears as if Washington's Bryce Harper and Colorado's Charlie Blackmon are sure things for the top two outfielder spots in the NL.
Bryant is only 58,082 votes ahead of Nolan Arenado at third base. Anthony Rizzo trails Ryan Zimmerman at first base, Javy Baez comes in well behind Daniel Murphy at second base and Buster Posey has more than twice as many votes as runner-up Willson Contreras at catcher.
Addison Russell is third among shortstops. Kyle Schwarber — despite being demoted to the minors last week — is eighth among NL outfielders.
It's a far cry from 2016, when the Cubs made up all four infield spots in the NL starting lineup.
Voting ends in four days. Fans can head to MLB.com to vote.
Major League Baseball released the latest American League All-Star voting update Monday and Avisail Garcia has jumped back into fifth place among outfielders.
The White Sox right fielder jumped past Boston's Mookie Betts since the last returns were announced on June 13.
Since then Garcia has slashed .319/.447/.819 with a homer, 5 RBIs and three doubles in 12 games.
Aaron Judge, Mike Trout and George Springer remain the top vote-getters in the outfield, though Trout won't play in the Midsumemr Classic because of a thumb injury.
On the year Garcia is batting .331 with a .904 OPS, 11 homers and 51 RBIs; the RBIs are the same number Garcia had all of last year.
Garcia is the only White sox player among the top AL vote-getters at any position.
Voting ends June 30.