CHICAGO (WLS) -- Even though it's still 76 days away from the Chicago Cubs' home opener, North Side fans can still celebrate their favorite team this weekend.
The Cubs Convention opened at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Friday, after a two-year pause due to the COVID pandemic.
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Cubs fans filled the lobby Friday, lined up hours before the convention started and anxious to rub elbows and get autographs from their heroes. The team may have suffered a losing record last season, but fans remain as enthusiastic as if they'd brought home another World Series trophy.
"It's exciting," fan Lynn Morgan said. "You feel alive here."
"It's like Christmas Day when you're 12 years old or the first day of summer," fan Beth Morley said. "It's a lot of fun."
Fans are hoping for Christmas presents as well from Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts. It's been six years since the Cubs fans celebrated the end of the 108-year championship drought. And after a losing season last year, they are hoping to get back on track.
"We had a couple years where we had to focus on the future of the team," Ricketts said. "But we can shift our focus back to winning now, and I think the things Jed's done this off-season support that."
Ricketts said the foundation for success on the field starts with the minor leagues, but the team has also brought in some high-priced free agents, most of whom will be at this convention.
"We filled a few holes we had last year and we have a lot of depth," Ricketts said. "Not only are we gonna be a good team, but we have a great farm system behind them."
While he stops short of predicting another World Series, Ricketts said he does expect the Cubs to be competitive.
"There's a real magic there when we're winning and I look forward to getting it back this year," Ricketts said.
Ricketts and his siblings will face the fans for a panel discussion in the morning. He's hoping to share his optimism the Cubs can compete for the post-season this year.
Cubs prospect Jordan Wicks, one of the new faces of the team, and Jennifer Martindale, the Cubs' senior vice president of marketing, joined ABC7 Chicago Friday morning to talk more about it.
Wicks said he was looking forward to seeing the team again and the fans this weekend.
Find out more about the event at mlb.com.