Conventions hit a home run

Although it may be the middle of winter, that doesn’t mean your baseball-loving kids have to live life without their beloved Cubs or Sox. In the beginning of 2009, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox will host their annual conventions with plenty of activities for big and small fans of America’s favorite past time.

The highlight of these conventions is the chance to meet the players and get coveted autographs, although you have to be willing to wait in line. But the conventions aren’t purely about meeting your favorite sluggers. There are always plenty of baseball-themed activities for kids and adults. Both conventions hold fundamentals clinics with professional coaches, question-and-answer sessions, plenty of seminars and a kids’ activity play area.

In years past, the Chicago Cubs have held a"For Kids Only Press Conference” where little ones can ask a few of the players their pressing questions. Last year, kids asked pitcher Kevin Hart, catcher Geovany Soto and second baseman Mike Fontenot questions ranging from"Who’s your favorite player not on your team?” to"Do you have a dog?” to"Do you ever get scared by Lou Piniella?” Fortunately, they let parents stay, so you can enjoy the honest questions and the answers they produce.

To celebrate the smallest Chicago White Sox fans, SoxFest hosts a Triple Play Zone where kids can play games, create baseball-themed art and take photos next to cutouts of A.J. Pierzynski and the Sox clubhouse—a good alternative for kids who don’t want to wait in long lines to meet the ballplayer in person.

While ticket prices for this year weren’t available at press time, last year the White Sox offered two-day passes for $70 and the Cubs sold $50 two-day passes. Both conventions offer overnight weekend packages through the hotels. The Cubs Convention will be held Jan. 16-18 at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. SoxFest will be held Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at the Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe St., Chicago. For more information, visit and

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