Retired Wood to take more active role

CHICAGO -- Don’t look now, but recently-retired pitcher Kerry Wood was throwing a ball at Wrigley Field on Sunday.

Better not expect a comeback, though.

“I tried to play catch today so I know I made the right decision (to retire),” Wood said.

The soon-to-be pitching instructor and current television commercial star has been so busy so far that he hasn’t had time to miss the game after his final outing on May 18 against the White Sox. There has been a book release, raising money for his foundation and being a full-time dad in the summer for the first time in his life.

“No, I waited a long time for this,” Wood said when asked if retirement has been a difficult adjustment. “I’ve been pretty busy, especially right after. ... I haven’t really slowed down until the last 10 or 12 days. It’s been great. I’ve got plenty of things to keep me busy.”

As for that television commercial for State Farm insurance, Wood has shown that his dry sense of humor can play on a national level. Among the things he pulls out of the Wrigley Field ivy are an old cell phone, a French horn and Andre Dawson.

“Yeah, we got good feedback,” Wood said of the commercial. “It was fun doing that. It took nine hours for that 30-second spot but it was fun doing it. It was fun to hang out with 'Hawk.' I had people calling me from all over the country. Some of money went to the foundation.”

Wood expects that Wrigley Field will continue to be his stage, just in a much different way. He is set to provide instruction to pitchers soon, but as to how far he wants to take this whole coaching thing, it remains uncertain.

“It’s too early to think about (being a pitching coach) yet,” Wood said. “These (coaches) spend so much more time here than the players do and it would be counter-productive to what I was wanting to do. I’ll be here as much as I can without being in the way. I think I’ll be around, but I don’t know the full capacity right now.”

By August he expects to take that increased active role in the clubhouse, which is good timing with the roster expanding in September and an unknown number of young pitchers expected to be on hand.

For now it’s time to be just like every other dad in the neighborhood, even when it comes to youth baseball umpires. So does he give them a piece of his mind?

“Absolutely,” Wood said with a laugh. “They all stink.”