With the news this week that Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood will begin the 2007 season on the disabled list, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry proclaimed at a special ceremony that, "Baseball season is officially here!"
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley was on hand at the ceremony and proclaimed it 'Kerry Wood Goes to the DL Day' in the Windy City. The ceremony itself has been a private Cubs tradition until it went public this year; it began in 1999 when Wood underwent Tommy John surgery. He has been on and off the disabled list since then, creating a long-standing tradition with the Cubs front office and other insiders.
"I look forward to this every year," said Hendry, wearing an official "Kerry is on the DL" shirt bearing the Cubs logo, Wood's No. 34 and a red cross. "Kerry's on the DL, baby, so baseball season is officially here in Wrigleyville!"
The ceremony featured food, an open bar (two-drink limit) and a silent auction of items such as official rehab-used bandages by Wood and a copy of Wood's contract, autographed by pitching coach Larry Rothschild. The ceremony was attended by a number of club officials and insiders, as well as new manager Lou Piniella.
"I didn't realize they even had this ceremony each year," Piniella said. "But I can't say I'm surprised. I like Kerry, but he's about as durable as a Sammy Sosa fungo bat. Say, have you tried these wontons?"
Contacted at home, Wood, who was rehabbing with an ice pack and a six-pack, said he knew nothing of the ceremony. "That's a load of #$%^, if you ask me," he said, then abruptly hung up the phone.
No word yet as to whether Wood reinjured his triceps when slamming the phone down.
Meanwhile, Hendry thanked everyone for attending the ceremony and noted, "I hope to see everyone this weekend at the Third Annual Mark Prior's Elbow Still Hurts Bazaar! Free cake, everybody!"