11/29 Postcard from Dominican Republic

The Dominican version of the Cubs Convention is a lot different than the event held every January in Chicago. On the first night, the 50 Cubs fans taking part in the trip to Bayahibe, Dominican Republic, were able to get autographs from Hall of Famer Billy Williams, plus pitchers Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall and catcher Koyie Hill while drinking El Presidente beer and pina coladas. It’s easy to lose track of what’s going on in the rest of the world when you’re in the Dominican. Marmol didn’t know Larry Rothschild had left the Cubs to go to the Yankees until he was updated Sunday.

The second night of the event, held at the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus, included a Q&A, which Aramis Ramirez attended. Topics ranged from favorite ballparks to Williams’ favorite Hall of Fame moments to new Cubs manager Mike Quade.

On Monday, the group visited the Cubs’ academy in Boca Chica, and got autographs and photos from Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro. Fans could eat chicken, rice and beans with Marmol and Ramirez in the dining room. Matt Venn, one of the guests on the trip and a high school catcher, also got some private instruction from the Cubs’ catching instructor, Marty Peavy. The trip, sponsored by Apple Vacations, will feature beach games on Tuesday with the players as captains.

Not a bad way to spend a week in November.

— Carrie Muskat

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