The Cubs bookended their rookie development program around Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. The next generation got to hear about how you carry yourself in the big leagues and what it takes to make it in Chicago.
Do they have any idea what they're getting into? That question might have gone through your mind on Thursday if you were watching those 12 prospects working out inside Northwestern University's field house in Evanston.
It shouldn't have been hard to see the warning signals. Last year's Cubs Convention was overshadowed by the sexual-assault allegations against Starlin Castro. The night before, the Internet exploded with Deadspin's story about Manti Te'o's fake dead girlfriend and the scandal at the University of Notre Dame.
"Everyone's under a microscope," said Jason McLeod, the vice president of scouting and player development. "So we've spent a lot of time trying to help talk about those types of things and letting them know what to watch for. Of course, we can't be babysitters 24/7, but we can give them the tools to make good decisions. Ultimately, that's what we're trying to do."
McLeod highlighted seminars on media training and how to deal with social media and "watching what they put on Twitter" (because team officials are definitely tracking it).
The run of guest speakers included baseball czar Theo Epstein, chairman Tom Ricketts, president of business operations Crane Kenney, pitching coach Chris Bosio and Bears linebacker Nick Roach, along with presentations from nutritionists and strength and conditioning staffers. It started last week with Wood and was scheduled to end Thursday afternoon with Prior at Wrigley Field, leading into this weekend's convention at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers.
"Who better to know and understand having all the hype, having all the pressure, being the young guy coming up and then performing in this environment?" McLeod said. "Who better than those two guys? Those had to have been two of the most hyped Cubs prospects of the last 15-20 years."
Cubs showing the next Mark Prior and Kerry Wood what it takes
CSN Chicago | Jan 18