It rained autographs – and swear words — at Cubs Convention

It rained autographs – and swear words — at Cubs Convention 5.00/5 (100.00%) 1 vote

By Ray Hanania

RayHananiaColumnBoxMost people who read my columns regularly know I am not much on sports. The only real sport for me is politics, but lately politics has become mean and it’s just not fun to cover any more.

I always thought I’d make a better sports writer. Writing about athletes would definitely attract less anger.

Last week, I took my son Aaron to the 30th Annual Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Hotel downtown. At first, I was disappointed.

The Cubs bring in old and new players who sit on stages and sign autographs for fans who wait in long lines. My first autograph line ended just as I was about to get an autograph from some Cubs player I didn’t really know. He decided he had enough and left the stage.

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Cubs fan with the typical regalia at the opening ceremonies of the 30th Annual Cubs Convention 2015 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel.

I was left wondering if I just wasted a whole lotta money.

But the next day, it rained autographs. My son collected more than 60 on baseballs from current players like Starlin Castro to former players like Fergie Jenkins and Lee Smith.

The lines were horrific. Standing there for up to an hour to get a quick autograph and a photo with the player was difficult and boring. It was a mess. The conventions had been held in the past at the Hilton, where I was told the lines were better organized, and more fun.

Have you ever seen the autograph of a player, or anyone, who has been writing his name over and over again 200 times in one hour?

Sometimes, the signatures just don’t make sense. To ensure we didn’t forget who signed what, I created an iPhone App to take pictures of each autograph and then enter the name. It also let me add a photo of my son (and myself a few times) with the players.

(You can see a lot of the pictures on my Facebook page at facebook.com/rghanania.)

Cubs player pose after signing autographs with fans at the 30th Annual Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago

Cubs player pose after signing autographs with fans at the 30th Annual Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago

Despite all the convention rah-rah about the Cubs going to the World Series, there was a touch of reality.

Most players were courteous. Some were just downright mean.

And the fans?

Well, the Sheraton was filled with drunks. “Drunks” and “Cubs Fans” are synonyms. Fans literally brought cases of warm beer to the hotel, opening them as they dropped off their cars, packing the bottles into backpacks. The f-words flew everywhere. Loud and annoying.

Foul balls I can handle. Foul language, though is one of the reasons I hate going to Cubs games, although White Sox games are not much better.

I got to see friends, like Wayne Messmer, who sang the Star Spangled Banner at the convention opening. He posed with my son and gave him an autograph too.

Some of the 60 autographed baseballs we collected at the convention. It took a lot of standing and hawking players in the evening as they left the hotel at the 30th Annual Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago.

Some of the 60 autographed baseballs we collected at the convention. It took a lot of standing and hawking players in the evening as they left the hotel at the 30th Annual Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago.

The only thing that made three days of standing in line less gruesome was Shula’s Steak House, which has the best steak and lobster in Chicagoland.

But Aaron got most of his autographs outside the lines, waiting for the Cubs players as I sat in the lobby nearby. Some of the players only signed in clout lines where you had to know someone or have a lottery ticket. That sucked. Most of his signers were in the lobby. It was good to see him having fun.

Next time, though, I’ll buy all the baseballs and plastic cube cases from Oak Lawn’s Baseball Card King, where I know I would have saved a lot of money. The convention was way too expensive.

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group Media Consulting Services. Reach him at [email protected] His columns appear in the Des Plaines Valley News, the Southwest News-Herald, the Regional News and the Palos Reporter newspapers.)

Ray Hanania

Blogger, Columnist at Illinois News Network Online
Ray Hanania is senior blogger for the Illinois News Network online news site. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (From Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley).

In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. He hosted a live weekend Radio Show on WLS AM radio from 1980 through 1991, and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM and shows on WSBC AM in Chicago and WNZK AM in Detroit.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. He currently is syndicated through Creators Syndicate and his column is feature every Sunday in the Saudi Gazette in Saudi Arabia. He has written for the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His Chicagoland political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News on several Chicagoland blogs including the OrlandParker.com and SuburbanChicagoland.com.

Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

His personal website is www.TheMediaOasis.com. Email him at: [email protected]