Cubs

Wood enjoying retirement, knows he made the right call

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Wood enjoying retirement, knows he made the right call

Kerry Wood is learning what its like to be a Cubs fan.

The recently-retired Wood was on hand in the Cubs clubhouse at Wrigley Field prior to the series finale against Arizona on Sunday. But he wasnt planning to stick around for the actual game.

Im 0-for-2 as a fan, Wood said. So Im leaving before it starts.

Wood said he has kept busy since his dramatic May 18 retirement. While he remains active with the Wood Family Foundation charitable organization, much of his time goes to hanging out with his wife, Sarah, and their three children.

Ive been waiting a long time for this, he said. Its been great. Its been Little League games and fishing. Its been a great summer. Its my first summer off in 25-plus years, so its been enjoyable.

Wood said hes being host to a baseball clinic beginning Monday, and that his foundation is joining with the Cubs to build a new high school baseball field on Addison Street, just west of Western Avenue and adjacent to Lane Tech High Schools Lane Stadium. Wood said groundbreaking will come soon on the field that will be used by Chicago high schools and for clinics.

While Wood is mostly out of the public eye now, his national commercial for State Farm has brought loads of attention. In it, Wood pulls from the ivy an old, brick-like cell phone, a French horn, and, of course, Andre Dawson.

The commercial, filmed about three weeks ago, has been a hit.

Ive gotten some good feedback, Wood said. It took nine hours, for that 30-second spot, but it was fun doing it. It was fun hanging out with Hawk all day. Ive had people calling me about it from all over the country.

As for his future, Wood ruled out any immediate move into coaching or management.

Those guys spend so much more time around here than players do, so it would be kind of counterproductive of what I wanted to do, he said. Id like to be here as much as I can without being in the way. So Ill be around, but I dont for sure exactly what (my role will be).

Hell likely be in an advisory role for the Cubs, especially as the season winds down. He said he expects to be around Wrigley more often once August rolls in, and when rosters expand in September.

One thing he said he wont worry about is making a comeback.

Im enjoying family life too much, he said. I tried playing catch (Sunday), so I know (retirement is) the right decision.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 18th homer of June and 31st of the season came off the Tigers in the Cubs' brief 2-game Interleague series in Detroit. 

Sosa connected in the first inning off Tigers starter Seth Greisinger, going back-to-back with Mickey Morandini. 

The Cubs wound up getting out to a 5-0 start in the game but still lost 7-6 on a Gabe Alvarez single in the bottom of the 11th.

The aforementioned Morandini homer was only the 3rd of the season for the Cubs second baseman. He finished with 8 homers on the year and 224 total bases on 172 hits in what was a very good offensive season. Yet it paled in comparison to Sosa, who had nearly 200 more total bases (416) and a slugging percentage nearly 200 points above Morandini's (.647 to .471), a testament to how truly incredible Sosa's season was.

Fun fact: Tony Clark was the Tigers' cleanup hitter that day. Clark is now the head of the MLB Players Union.

Fun fact No. 2: Paul Bako was the Detroit catcher in the game. He later became the Cubs backup catcher in 2003 and 2004, when he posted a .611 OPS in 119 games over the two years.

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.

According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.

The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.

For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.

Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.