Kerry Wood will kick off the 2015 Cubs Convention weekend with “Woody’s Winter Warm-Up” fundraiser on Friday at 8:30 p.m. CT at Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch Restaurant and Chicago Sports Museum. The Warm-Up will feature musical performances by Chicago’s Plain White T’s and DJ Matt Roan. Guests will enjoy ‘meet and greet’ opportunities with players, a premium open bar, food stations, raffle and a silent auction (which is currently taking bids).
The live auction will showcase “The Ultimate Cubs Experience” package, which is two game tickets in Theo Epstein’s private box at Wrigley Field and a seventh inning stretch sing-a-long with Wood.
“This is one of our favorite events because it not only starts up the excitement for the convention but also for the upcoming baseball season with [Joe] Maddon and [Jon] Lester joining the ball club,” Wood said.
Cubs players past and present, local celebrities, and media personalities will serve as guest bartenders, mixing drinks and competing for tips while also challenging guests in the Museum’s interactive games. Confirmed participants from the Cubs include members of Maddon’s coaching staff, Lester, and Anthony Rizzo, plus former players Mark DeRosa, Bob Howry, Ted Lilly, Jacque Jones, Rick Sutcliffe, Ryan Dempster, Jon Lieber, Dave Otto, Glendon Rusch, Lee Smith, and Steve Trout. Team executives Tom Ricketts, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer also were expected to attend.
Additionally, former Bear Donnell Woolford, former White Sox Ron Kittle, plus LaRoyce Hawkins (Chicago P.D.), DJ White Shadow, Jerry Hester (former University of Illinois basketball star), John Vincent (Ditka’s), Ryan Chiaverini (ABC’s Windy City LIVE), Natalie Martinez (NBC), Sarah Spain (ESPN Radio), Kelly Crull (Comcast), Kip Lewis (Comcast), Jane Monzures (WGN Radio), Pete McMurray (WGN Radio), and Showbiz Shelly (B96) will attend.
From now until Friday, all Harry Caray’s locations will be serving up “Woody’s Spring Training Spiked Apple” specialty cocktail. Made with Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey, apple juice, agave nectar, lime juice and topped with a sliced apple garnish, the drink will donate 100 percent of proceeds back to the Wood Family Foundation.
“We’ve had a busy 2014 putting together our mentoring program, Pitch In, and this event will provide the necessary means for us to continue our work with more mentors and mentees,” Wood’s wife Sarah said.
Tickets for Woody’s Winter Warm-Up are $125 per person in advance and $150 at the door, and can be purchased at http://www.woodfamilyfoundation.org. Parking is available for $16 in (valet) and $12 (self-park).
The Wood Family Foundation (WFF) is a non-profit organization founded in June 2011 by Wood and his wife, Sarah. The goal is to improve the lives of children in and around Chicago by raising funds and awareness for children’s charities and the causes they support.
Kerry Wood will team up with country music artist Chris Young to host Woody’s Western Roundup on Oct. 22 at Joe’s Bar, 940 W. Weed Street, in Chicago. There will be live music plus cocktails and food stations from some of Chicago’s top restaurants. Proceeds will benefit the Wood Family Foundation which has raised over $4 million for Chicago’s kids. Young’s last four singles have all hit No. 1 on the charts, including the smash hit “Gettin’ You Home,” which earned him his first-ever Grammy nomination.
The Wood Family Foundation and its volunteers completed a resource room and renovated the library at Lawndale Community Academy as well as preparing for “Pitch In,” the first after-school mentoring program.
Tickets for Woody’s Western Roundup are $125 per person for general admission (includes concert and open bar) and $250 per person for VIP (includes early entry, open bar and food stations) and can be purchased at TicketWeb.com. For additional information, please visit http://www.woodfamliyfoundation.org.
On Jan. 17, former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood will host the third annual Woody’s Winter Warm-up celebrity mixer at Harry Caray’s tavern Navy Pier in Chicago. Cubs past and present will join celebrities and media personalities as guest bartenders mixing drinks and competing for tips to raise money for the Wood Family Foundation. There also will be a silent auction, open bar, dinner buffet, raffle and DJ. Robert Randolph will be the headliner at the event. Individual tickets are $150 in advance, $175 at the door. Booth sponsorships are available for $1,000, and include four tickets and table-side service.
For more information, go to http://www.woodfamilyfoundation.org.
— Carrie Muskat
On Friday, Kerry Wood and the Wood Family Foundation treated students at Lawndale Elementary Community Academy in Chicago to an early Christmas on Friday. The school was chosen for the foundation’s Warm Wishes holiday adoption program where each student is gifted a coat and toy. Gov. Pat Quinn stopped by to help pass out presents.
“Measured by the number of smiles, this year’s ‘Warm Wishes’ was a huge success,” said Wood’s wife Sarah.
The Woods treated 482 students to gifts. The school was picked because principal Willard Willette impressed the Woods with his success in continuous improvements at the school. Most recently, Lawndale was selected as an OS 4 Reinvestment School in which teachers and faculty will receive comprehensive professional development tailored to the specific need of each school, providing every child with a rigorous and quality education to help prepare them for success.
(Photo courtesy of Wood Family Foundation)
* The Wood Family Foundation has named Lawndale Elementary Community Academy as the school to be celebrated in its Warm Wishes program. On Dec. 13, the WFF will acknowledge the academy’s success and provide holiday treats to students. Each student will receive a gift bag filled with a new winter coat, hats, gloves and scarves plus one to two gifts. You can help by donating to the Wood Family Foundation. Go to mlb.mlb.com/players/woodfamilyfoundation for more information.
* On Dec. 15, Anthony Rizzo will host his second “Walk Off for Cancer,” a 5-kilometer walk at Pine Trails park in Parkland, Fla. Besides the walk, there will be entertainment and refreshments, raffle prizes and guest appearances. This is a family friendly event. Registration is limited to 1,000 people, and costs $30 per person. If you can’t go, you can still donate to the Rizzo Family Foundation. Go to http://www.rizzo44.com for more information. This event marks five years that Rizzo has been cancer free.
— Carrie Muskat
Construction on Kerry Wood Cubs Field has apparently been stopped after contaminants were found in the soil at the site of the $5 million, 1,100-seat stadium, according to DNAinfo.com. Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District, among the partners in the stadium, are preparing a site remediation plan to be filed with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, according to Alderman Ameya Pawar of the 47th Ward. The site is located behind Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago and part of Richard Clark Park. None of the specific contaminants found were named.
According to Lane Tech principal Christopher Dignam, the site is located on a former landfill. In 2007, the school replaced its football field and the soil was dug up at that time, and it was found to be contaminated. It took one year for that soil to be removed.
— Carrie Muskat
You can celebrate Harry Caray on Feb. 28 and win a trip to Las Vegas. The 15th annual worldwide toast to Harry Caray will take place Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. CT at Harry Caray’s Tavern on Navy Pier. Hall of Famer Ernie Banks will join Dutchie Caray, plus Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, musician Billy Corgan and other celebs to lead the toast. This year’s toast is to “The Year of the Fan.” At 6 p.m. CT, there will be a fireworks show over Lake Michigan, and guest will receive special hologram glasses to see fireworks that turn into thousands of Harry face images. If you can’t make it, you can join in the festivities by visiting Harry Caray restaurants Facebook page, or tweet your toast using #ToastToHarry.
Harry Caray’s will reward a Cubs fan with a trip to Spring Training in Las Vegas in March, which will include roundtrip airfare from Chicago, a four-day, three-night stay, two tickets to the Cubs’ games against the Rangers March 16-17, plus four hours of gambling with Kerry Wood. Go to the Harry Caray’s Facebook page for more info.
— Carrie Muskat
Jason McLeod, the Cubs director of player development and scouting, made a point of asking Kerry Wood and Mark Prior to speak to a dozen top prospects during the team’s first rookie development camp. Prior spoke Thursday, which was the final day of the week-long program.
“Who better to know and understand having all the hype, having all the pressure, being the young guy coming up and then performing in this environment?” McLeod said of the two Cubs pitchers who had to deal with plenty of highs and lows in their careers. “”Who better than those two guys? Those had to have been two of the most hyped Cubs prospects of the last 15 to 20 years.”
McLeod knew Prior from his brief time with the Padres. The pitcher didn’t hesitate when asked to talk to the kids.
“He was fired up about it and said, ‘I’d love to talk to those guys,'” McLeod said.
— Carrie Muskat
Cubs outfielder David DeJesus and his wife Kim will host “Strike a Pose” fundraiser Jan. 17 at the River East Arts Center at 7 p.m. CT when Cubs players and their wives will walk the runway in a variety of fashions from the 900 North Michigan Ave. shops. Among the participants are Kerry and Sarah Wood, Darwin and Lindsay Barney, Travis and Brittany Wood, Shawn Camp, Tony Campana, Starlin Castro, Steve Clevenger, Scott Feldman, Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, James Russell, and Ian Stewart. Proceeds from the event will benefit the David DeJesus Family Foundation, which is donating money raised to ALS research. Tickets are $250 per person and $2,500 per table (includes four tickets with reserved seating and table service). Besides the fashion show, there will be cocktails and food from Chicago restaurants such as Chicago q, RPM Italian, Bull and Bear, Shaw’s Crabhouse, Glazed & Infused, Pastoral, and Wow Bao. There also will be a live auction and raffle.
— Carrie Muskat