Saturday morning kicked off with a Theo Epstein Q&A hosted by Len Kasper. (Warning: This is where my lousy note-taking skills are going to start rearing their ugly heads.) Theo cited the devoted fan base as a major factor in bringing him to the Cubs. “You don’t find this kind of passion a lot of places,” he said, adding that, “I’ll never forget that Kerry Wood moment for the rest of my life.” He said that he didn’t think he had done anything yet to deserve having his name chanted, but that he hoped it might be more warranted down the road. When asked what kind of changes would be made to Wrigley Field, Theo responded with, “I think that the ‘W’ flag should be raised more.” He’s clever, eh? The session as a whole was quite interesting. There is something captivating about this guy because, even though he didn’t say anything that I did not expect to hear, I was thoroughly enthralled for the entire hour.
“There aren’t a lot of Albert Pujolses around, and I’m glad the one there is isn’t in our division anymore.”
We followed up the Theo event with an hour’s fruitless wait in a Darwin Barney autograph line (oh well) after which we headed to the “Kids Only” Press Conference. It featured a line-up of Tony Campana, Darwin Barney, Reed Johnson, Todd Walker, and David DeJesus. Only youngsters were permitted to ask questions, and it was a scream. Where else would you learn Todd Walker’s dog’s name (which is Mr. Caboodle Snorkleson, or something close to that)? Or hear such a query as, “What would happen if you fainted on base”? Or learn that Tony Campana recently got carded at the movies? Or that if not a ballplayer, he would have liked to have been an astronaut? Tony was definitely a popular guy in this session, and Reed Johnson had us all in stitches.
Just a few gems from this highly entertaining hour:
Q (to Tony): How did it feel when you hit your inside the park home run?
Tony: I was tired.
Q.: What would you do if you were in a pickle?
Reed (confusedly): A pickle jar?
Reed: Is the reason every question is for Tony Campana because he’s the same size as you guys?
Q.: What do you do after a loss?
Reed: Cry. [Short Pause] A lot.
Q.: If Ernie Banks was still on the Cubs, what would he do?
Darwin: He’d wanna play a double header.
Q (to Tony): Are you gonna hit a real home run this year?
Q.: If you could change into any animal, what would it be?
Reed: A cheetah, so I could be just like Tony.
And I am sure the whole world will want to know that Reed Johnson’s favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chip, while Tony’s is cookies & cream, Darwin’s and David’s is strawberry, and Todd Walker’s is vanilla (with stuff on it.) I know that this is some pretty hard hitting stuff…. I hope you folks can handle it.
Almost immediately following the Kids Only conference was a session called “Outside The Foul Lines”, with Ryan Dempster, Geovany Soto, Randy Wells and Tony Campana (again.) It was, unsurprisingly, another winner. I won’t rehash all the contents of this panel as it was, I believe, broadcast on WGN radio and should be available for download sometime soon. It is worth a listen, for sure.
To round off the afternoon, we waited in a few more lines and procured autographs from Travis Wood (sorry you’ve not gotten a ‘Welcome To Chicago” post yet, Travis) and Todd Walker (I’m still a fan. Can’t help it.)
Doesn’t he look like somebody? I can’t figure out who. Help me out, people.
Before heading back to the ‘burbs for the night, we happened to witness Randy Wells in a hallway with a lady friend. He was taking her picture with a life-sized cardboard figure of himself and urging her to “kiss it”… I don’t think she did.