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Cubs Convention 2018: Starting It Off With Bill Buckner and Ray Burris at Club 400

Club 400 is a magical place in Lake in the Hills, Illinois. As you drive into the neighborhood the outside looks unassuming.

Visitors enter through a garage. It’s a garage. Simple, just like yours and mine. You walk into the mud room. Washer and dryer, just like yours and mine.

And then….

You descend upon the happiest place on Earth if your a Chicago Cubs fan. Actually, it doesn’t matter who you root for. It doesn’t matter if you hate sports. Walking down the steps and into Stewart McVicar’s basement is like walking into a dream come true.

First things first: describing Club 400 as a basement does this man cave no justice.

There are multiple rooms with hundreds, thousands of pieces of Cubs memorabilia just hanging around.

As you walk into a large room there are display cases on each wall with ticket stubs, programs, bobbleheads, and photos of Stewart and his brother, Eric, with various Cubs icons throughout the years.

The bar! The bar! It’s a Cubs bar. One tapper is a Ryne Sandberg figure. Around the bar, kick plates at most bars, are hundreds of Game Used bats.

Walking to the right of the bar is a home theater with numerous Cubs recliners looking up at three large TV screens. On the walls are framed autographed jerseys of all the famous recent Cubs.

An authentic Wrigley Field organ at the front of the room! Game used bases, more autographed baseballs, a near life-size Anthony Rizzo Bobblehead, and so much more.

A David Ross autographed glove would be a centerpiece in my collection. At Club 400, it’s tucked away next to the bathroom mirror. Oh yeah, the bathrooms.

Two bathrooms of course decked out in Cubs autographs and memorabilia. The men’s room features a flat screen TV above a urinal. Jake Arrieta autographed framed photo hangs to the right.

Around the corner are four arcade games including Golden Tee and Silver Strike Bowling. Also, a pair of Cubs pinball machines.

Along the walls, Cubs guests have signed personal messages from Anthony Rizzo, Tom Ricketts, Len Kasper, Mark Grace, and Pat Hughes.

Tonight’s affair was fairly intimate with guests Bill Buckner and Ray Burris. But we also had two guests join that shared equally fun stories in former Cubs PR Director Bob Ibach (1981-1989) and former Cubs trainer Tony Garofalo.

After a photo op and autograph signing, the four guests shared stories and answered questions. Burris shared a story about getting an “oil streak” mid-game. Buckner shared his run-ins with then-Cubs general manager Dallas Green. Upon first mention of Green’s name, Buckner let out a “boooo.” Ibach and Garafalo shared their personal experiences from the aftermath of the Now-classic 1983 Lee Elia rant.

At the end of the session, McVicar made a special announcement. A confirmed guest will be coming out to Club 400 this year (date not yet set). None other than “El Mago” Javier Baez. This will be an event I will surely not miss.

My first Club 400 experience was awesome. If I could think of a word more awesome than awesome, it would be that. The actual man cave itself is an attraction, never mind the top guests McVicar brings in. What really makes Club 400 come together is the family-type atmosphere. Strangers become friends by the end of the night sharing one common, irrevocable bond of being fans of the greatest franchise in professional sports.

Not only that, these events benefit charity. Every dime goes to local people that need funds in times of need. Cubs fans helping Cubs fans. That’s Cub!

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