My Convention Story
The 2016 Cubs Convention was my 5th, but the first where I planned ahead of time to get autographs. I really enjoy the panel presentations, Cubs Bingo and other events, but I realized a lot of the information can be learned later through various news sources so getting autographs seemed to be a unique feature of the convention to take advantage of while the opportunity presented itself.
Prepare, But Luck Helps!!
As I mentioned, I planned to get autographs at the 2016 Cubs Convention, but 2015 was actually a much better year for me with autographs. I was able to wait in line and have both Addison Russell & Kyle Schwarber sign a baseball. I got an autographed picture of Arismendy Alcantara as well. For 2016, I did get some good autographs. Audrey Acevedo signed my convention pass, I got an autograph from 1984 Gold Glove winner, Bob Dernier, Cubs pitcher, Clayton Richard and their 2016 closer, Hector Rondon. It's ironic that I got better autographs in a year that I wasn't planning to collect, but that is sort of how it works out sometime. I did attend more presentations in 2016, so that certainly could've had an impact as well. So preparation helps to be in a good position to get an autograph but it seems like luck has as much, if not more to do with it than anything.
Here are pics of a few Cubs autographs that I've got at Cubs Convention.
Willing to Pay Extra?
If you are willing to pay extra, you can get some better autographs. I haven't yet inquired about the meet and greet that the Convention offers, but I suspect that may be the most expensive option. I learned of a few other options this year. One, if you donate to Cubs Charities ($100), you can receive a voucher for any non-primary stage. When I was in line waiting for an autograph, someone else mentioned that others had used this option to get an early spot in line for Javier Baez. The line for Baez at 9AM on Saturday morning was incredibly long so that was probably the best way to easily get his autograph.
In January, 2016, there was a Convention vendor that appears to have a license to sell Jorge Soler memorabilia and the first 150 people to make a qualified purchase (I believe it was $50), can get an autographed item from the young Cubs outfielder.
2016 was the first year I tried purchasing a "mystery signature baseball" from a Cubs player or "Alumni". I picked up a signed baseball by Tommy La Stella, a decent pick up considering that after talking to a few other attendees, "Cubs Alumni" may include people that never played with the Cubs, that sang the 7th inning stretch or have some other affiliation with the team. This information sort of makes me not recommend this option, but since I like to collect Cubs autographs the $30 payment which does go to charity wasn't too bad and I could see doing this in the future.
Talk to Other Cubs Fans
Throughout these past years, a theme has developed, talking to other Cubs fans is a great way to learn more about what to do , what not to do and what's currently going on at Cubs Convention. Another thing I learned is that the Cubs offer a number to text to for current Convention updates.
Your Phone, a baseball & a sharpie!!
At Cubs Convention, the team invites approximately 50 current and former Cubs to the Sheraton in downtown Chicago. With it being such a small, confined area, a chance meeting with Cubs players throughout the weekend is very common. I've seen Jon Lester in the restroom, Crane Kenney checking in, Adam Warren entering the hotel and even Ronnie Woo Woo.
On Friday, during opening ceremonies, I stood near the Comcast stage and saw Jed Hoyer, Jason Heyward and David Ross walk by to talk to Todd Hollandsworth, Dave Kaplan & Rick Telander. All of these were potential autograph and picture opportunities but you do need to be somewhat aggressive as others will be gathering around as well.