5/19 Wood: “I’ll always be a Cub”
How did Kerry Wood’s right arm feel Saturday on the first day as a retired ballplayer?
“Awesome,” he said.
Friday was Wood’s last game but on Saturday, he made it official, formally announcing his retirement in a brief and intimate ceremony at Wrigley Field. The Cubs pitcher delivered a long list of thank you’s, from his wife, Sarah, to his father to Ron Santo to former pitching coaches, managers and teammates.
“I’m excited for the future and I’m excited to watch what these guys are going to be capable of doing,” Wood said, citing young Cubs Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and James Russell. “These guys are starting the journey I’m ending today, and I’m looking forward to watching these guys grow and learn this game and ultimately bring a championship to the city that deserves it.”
And he thanked Cubs fans.
“This is home,” Wood said of Chicago. “This is why I came back. The fans, this stadium. [Friday] was the best weather day we had, this place was beautiful and rocking. That’s the way I want to remember Wrigley Field and that’s the way I will remember it.”
He was presented with a photo of him hugging his son Justin as he came off the field on Friday, as well as the flag that flew on top of Wrigley, commemorating his 20-strikeout game from May 1998.
“I was always a Cub, I’ve always been a Cub, and I’ll always continue to be a Cub,” said Wood, standing near the pitcher’s mound on Saturday, surrounded by the current team and manager Dale Sveum
What’s next for Wood? He’s not sure. For now, he’ll play with his kids. On Saturday, he could watch Justin’s Little League game.
— Carrie Muskat