Cubs Convention returns this weekend with fired-up Swanson, Taillon
After signing a seven-year, $177 million contract with the Cubs last month, Dansby Swanson talked a lot about the appeal of joining a team that looks to be back on a competitive path.
He also had another incentive for leaving his hometown Atlanta Braves as a free agent.
"Everyone knows Cubs fans are the best fans in baseball," Swanson said.
Starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, who signed a four-year, $68 million contract, also cited the Cubs' passionate fan base as a big reason for coming aboard.
Taillon reflected on pitching at Wrigley Field when he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"I remember just like taking a step back and feeling the environment," Taillon said. "There's nothing better than a day game at Wrigley in the summer. I remember thinking at the time, 'This is the big leagues right here. This is the show.'
"So to have an opportunity to call that my own field and my home fans is super exciting."
Swanson and Taillon will be in town this weekend when Cubs Convention returns to the Sheraton Grand Chicago following a two-year absence.
New center fielder Cody Bellinger is also scheduled to attend.
The Opening Ceremony runs from 6-7 p.m. Friday and features player introductions and remarks from Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts.
Saturday has always been the big day at Cubs Convention and this year is no different.
"The Ricketts Family Session" is scheduled for Saturday morning and gives fans the chance to ask Tom questions for the first time since 2018.
After that, Cubs president Jed Hoyer and general manager Carter Hawkins will do a Q&A during a 45-minute "Baseball Operations Update."
Other highlights include a live recording of left fielder Ian Happ's "The Compound" podcast, which will feature Nico Hoerner, Bellinger, newcomer Tucker Barnhart and fellow catcher Yan Gomes.
Former Cubs first baseman Mark Grace will also be on the panel.
Manager David Ross and his coaching staff will take questions in a late morning seminar, and Cubs pitchers Kyle Hendricks, Taillon, Adrian Sampson, Drew Smyly, Keegan Thompson and Hayden Wesneski will follow suit in the early afternoon.
Infielder Patrick Wisdom will host a "Kids Only" press conference later Saturday afternoon.
After that, Cubs fans can get to know top prospects Pete Crow-Armstrong, Matt Mervis, Brennen Davis, Ed Howard, Jordan Wicks, Miguel Amaya, Owen Caissie and others during a "Road to Wrigley" gathering.
Cubs convention scheduleFriday, Jan. 13:
5-6 p.m. Marquee Sports Network: Red Carpet Special
6-7 p.m. Opening Ceremony -- Main Sheraton Ballroom
7:15-7:45 p.m. Surprise Signings, Stages C-F -- Cubs Alley
7:30-9:30 p.m. Off the Mound with Ryan Dempster presented by Budweiser -- Main Sheraton Ballroom
Saturday, Jan. 14:
9-9:45 a.m. The Ricketts Family Session -- Main Sheraton Ballroom
10-10:45 a.m. Baseball Operations Update with Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins -- Main Sheraton Ballroom
11-11:45 a.m. Ross and the Coaches -- Main Sheraton Ballroom
Panelists: David Ross, Willie Harris, Tommy Hottovy, Dustin Kelly and Mike Napoli
12-12:55 p.m. The Compound Podcast with Ian Happ -- Main Sheraton Ballroom
Panelists: Tucker Barnhart, Cody Bellinger, Yan Gomes, Mark Grace & Nico Hoerner
1-1:45 p.m. On the Mound -- Main Sheraton Ballroom
Panelists: Kyle Hendricks, Adrian Sampson, Drew Smyly, Jameson Taillon, Keegan Thompson and Hayden Wesneski
2:15-2:45 p.m. Business Operations Update -- Presented by Wintrust -- Main Sheraton Ballroom
Panelists: Crane Kenney, David Cromwell and Colin Faulkner
3-4 p.m. Kids Only Press Conference presented by Advocate Children's Hospital -- Main Sheraton Ballroom
Panelists: Adbert Alzolay, Brad Boxberger, Brandon Hughes, Christopher Morel, Justin Steele and Patrick Wisdom
4:15-5 p.m. The Road to Wrigley with Cubs Minor League Prospects -- Main Sheraton Ballroom
Panelists: Dan Kantrovitz, Ben Brown, Brennen Davis, Chase Strump, Daniel Palencia, DJ Herz, Ed Howard, Jordan Nwogu, Jordan Wicks, Kevin Alcantara, Matt Mervis, Miguel Amaya, Owen Caissie, Pete Crow-Armstrong and Ryan Jensen
Sunday, Jan. 15:
9 a.m. to noon Clark's Clubhouse -- Chicago Ballrooms VIII-X
9-11:30 a.m. Youth baseball clinc, -- Main Sheraton Ballroom