Cubs Convention Recap: Front Office Fields Some Tough Questions (Updated w/ Hat Lady Video)

I had only just gotten my first two cups of coffee just before the start of the front office session, so my mind wasn’t yet focused on the task at hand until we’d already gotten well into the fan questions. I had written in my recap of the ownership panel that I had learned to shorten up my Periscope vids, but that was not the case yet for this instance. I captured the first 30 minutes of baseball management panel, but I wish now that I’d gotten more.

That’s because Prepared Statement Guy and Crazy Hat Lady once again made appearances, the former causing Ryan Davis and me to gesticulate giddily at one another. I could barely contain myself, though the ensuing question was not as obnoxiously long as last year’s soliloquy. The latter character, who had questioned the owners about putting in more bathrooms at Wrigley, proceeded to harangue Theo Epstein for trading away all the good players.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m not flashing back to two or three years ago. The woman talked about being one of the original bleacher bums and watching the 1969 team play together, lamenting the fact that that doesn’t happen these days. Of course, it was a bit easier to prevent players from leaving your team when the reserve clause prevented them from doing so. I think that woman probably hates Curt Flood. In any case, it was interesting to hear her yell at Epstein for trading away the really good player who ended up playing on the South Side, all the while admittedly forgetting his name.

Video courtesy of Crawly’s Cubs Kingdom

If I’m connecting the dots correctly, I believe she was upset about having traded a guy who yielded the Cubs’ starting shortstop and who went on to have the worst season of his career — and one of the three worst among all MLB starting pitchers — for the White Sox in 2015. I can’t really remember his name either though, so I won’t really fault the lady for that one. It should be noted, however, that the Cubs very well could and should be able to keep their current core together for several years, a fact Epstein noted during the session.

There were some really good questions mixed in there too, one of which dealt with the increasing awareness of the health risks of football and whether that might drive more young kids to take up baseball again. I believe it was Jason McLeod who answered that that scenario was entirely possible but that those decisions would continue to be largely financial in nature. Another fan asked about the growth of Willson Contreras and whether the Cubs would consider trading Kyle Schwarber once Contreras is called up. Theo’s answer: “No.”

One woman got up and exhorted fans to follow Len Kasper, the MC, on Twitter, at which point a voice from somewhere in the back yelled, “Follow Jed!” That earned laughs from the panel, including Theo Epstein, who I think is responsible for his GM’s only tweet. Julie DiCaro thinks it was Anthony Rizzo. The world may never know. But the highlight of the session was a 13-year-old kid who was so amped up that he dropped the mic and was then called up to the podium by Kasper so that he could finish his question.

Bursting with nervous energy, the kid addressed the execs and blurted out a string of exclamations and queries:

I don’t think there was anything particularly notable about the information shared, but it’s always nice to see the fans get the opportunity to address the team directly. Cubs Convention is great in that the media is seated off the side in relative silence while the folks who otherwise don’t have that kind of access are granted it for at least a little while. Of course, those media members with season credentials do have the opportunity for post-session interviews (I tried to get back behind the curtain at one point but was asked to leave), but it really is all about the fans.

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