By Astasia Williams
When the clock struck noon Friday, the madness and celebration began.
Lines are cluttered with ecstatic fans dressed in their favorite Cubs players’ jerseys and other team merchandise. People are waiting and talking with other fans, taking photos, and reading books to pass the time until check-in begins at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Hotel.
“Mom, you’re the MVP,” one kid told his mom, who let him skip school to attend the 2017 Cubs Convention.
A young boy runs to his mom from the autograph signing booth waving his smartphone.
“I got the photo, I got the photo,” said Wrigley, an 8-year-old fan running from the autograph signing table to show his mom.
“We purchased the convention passes before the season started. We just so happened to get lucky World,” said Len Renbarger a Cubs fan from Omaha, Neb.
A hotel official said every single ticket of the roughly 8,000 available was sold out within minutes of the release. Registration started at noon. If you weren’t in line by 10 a.m., there was a slight chance that you spent most of the first day in line waiting for your weekend pass.
At 7 p.m., in a beyond full-capacity room, it was time for the opening ceremony.
In the sea of red and blue, some fans are celebrating, some are napping, and others are wondering what’s in store for the 2017 season.
“They have an unbelievable talent,” said John Reedy, a fan from Chicago. “They are only going to get better and work well together. With what happened this year, you can’t repeat that experience. You just won’t be able to top it.”
There’s an elderly married couple in matching custom Cub logo design KEDS shoes. John Bergthold is wearing a suit with the Chicago Cubs logo covering every inch. Bergthold and his wife, Sheryl, are walking in the hotel lobby, observing the space, soaking it all in.
This couple had so much faith in the Cubs that they sold everything in their name to move from a suburb South of Chicago to the North Side of the city to purchase season tickets and live closer to Wrigley Field.
“We had three cars, sold two, kept our two dogs, everything else was sold in a garage sale,” said Bergthold. “Now we are here. We stuck through the bad times and it all paid off. Things are only going to get better. I expect them to win the next three out of five World Series championships. I think we are going to get better.”
Not everyone is banking on another championship so soon. Some Cub fans are still trying to wrap their heads around what happened on November 2, 2016.
“I wonder if they could ever repeat it,” said Missy Walker, 33, of Chicago. “It’ll be great if they did. But If they didn’t, I’ll die happy.”