Steven Vernon of Danville, Iowa, says has been wanting “forever” to go to the Cubs Convention, but never felt it was safe enough for him to park in the “Big City.” This year, however, he thought he’d give it a try.

Vernon parked his 1998 red Geo Storm in a packed lot across Michigan Avenue for a $23 special event charge and went off to the convention, taking one last glance at his car as he walked into the Hilton.

After waiting in line for ex-Cub Chico Walker’s autograph for about 10 minutes, Vernon became paranoid and walked to the lot to see how his car was doing.

“My car was fine but Chicago is kinda ghetto, no offense, so I had to make sure I had my door locked and The Club was in place on my steering wheel and my alarm was working,” he said. “Everything was cool so I went back in.”

After spending nearly 15 minutes sifting through old baseball cards in search of a Randy Myers rookie, Vernon broke into a sweat when he heard sirens outside the Hilton.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My car had to be on fire, so I had to leave and check on her.”

The firetrucks darted down Michigan Avenue and were nowhere near the parking lot.

“I ended up missing the Theo Epstein press conference and didn’t get one autograph, no cards or even a pin. This city is just too dangerous to me so I had to leave,” said Vernon. “I’ll just order some stuff from eBay and tell everyone I got it at the convention.”

Benjamin Trecroci