I remember it like it was yesterday…sitting in front of my 13 inch screen watching Kerry Wood make fools of the 1998 Houston Astros striking out 20 along the way. the last pitch he threw to Derek Bell was perhaps the nastiest pitch ever thrown. I thought the Chicago Cubs were finally on the cusp of greatness.
Fast forward to the announcement today that he’s retiring from baseball. Wood will go down as a bust in the opinion of this Cubs fan. Sure, he had some strong moments, but he just never lived up to the hype or overrating of fans across the board. Of course, like any other Cubs fan, I drank the Kool Aid. But he was nothing more than an above-average starter and a good relief pitcher. Nothing more…nothing less.
We’re the idiots for loving Wood. Instead of expecting more from this organization, we felt good when he kept re-signing with the team. Year in and year out he would receive the loudest cheer at the Cubs convention and we’d forgive his endless stints on the DL. But it was our cute and cuddly Kerry with his 20 strikeouts and other flirtations with greatness.
Bring back Wood this season was disgraceful. For an organization that is trying to become relevant and competitive, why would you commit valuable resources and a roster spot to a has-been pitcher? It’s almost as if owner Tom Ricketts treats the Chicago Cubs like his own personal fantasy team. Sean Marshall would have received close to the same money as Wood, so of course it made sense for a rebuilding team to sign a relief pitcher as reliable as a Yugo. This was a business as usual type move. Theo Epstein owes it to this organization to stop this type of nepotism that has plagued this organization for years. Not winning a World Series for over 100 years shows that perhaps this needs to change.
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