Kerry Wood’s Clean Upper Lip

SI.com

It hit me Friday when I saw Kerry Wood pitching for the Yankees just how close he had come to making the World Series again. But for the second time, Wood was on the wrong side of the upset.

It’s been seven long years since the 2003 NLCS. Wood was then, 26, and coming off his best season to date–(14-11), 3.20 ERA and 266 strikeouts.

Now he’s a well-worn 33-year-old, clean shaven and pitching in a set-up role.
But to make it this far, despite all the setbacks, is a credit to Wood’s character.

He’s handled the highs and lows like a pro, and by reinventing himself from dominate starter to a reliable setup man, he’s carved out a niche to stay in the game.

Wood’s calm demeanor and experience make him a perfect fit in New York. His long road back from arm recoveries has hardened him for the league’s toughest market.

What criticism hasn’t Wood heard about his game, his toughness, his durability that the New York media could say to rattle him? Nothing.

I know not all Cubs fans share my soft spot for Kerry, that the names Wood and Prior are haunting terms in Wrigleyville, names better left unsaid, names to be forgotten. But I still root for Wood, even despite his pindtripes and clean upper lip.

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6 Comments

Filed under Cubs Blog

6 responses to “Kerry Wood’s Clean Upper Lip

  1. Douglas Heeren

    I’ve been to Youtube a couple of times to watch the 20k performance by Wood. Just the K’s are shown on the video posted there, but the nasty pitches shown give the impression of what could have been had he not gotten hurt and had been handled better by the Cubs coaches.

  2. bullpenbrian

    Interesting observation, Doug.
    The what-ifs for Wood are seemingly endless.
    Imagine what it’s like to be Kerry, knowing how much talent was lost due to injury.
    Again, speaks to his character and work ethic to rebound from such a personal loss.

    Here’s something you may appreciate as a gamer.
    In the year of the pitcher, I threw a perfect game with 34-year-old Kris Benson in my MVP ’05 sim!
    Even better, it was Halladay-like coming in Game 3 of the NLDS…a 3-0 win for Milwaukee against Florida.
    However, I lost the next game and the series 3-1.

    I figure I’ve been gaming baseball since 1994. I’ve only thossed one no-hitter–Rich Harden with Oakland in 2008!
    But a Perfect Game in the the playoffs, with Benson nonetheless…even I’ve got to tip my cap:)

  3. Douglas Heeren

    I used to have several strat-o-matic games around at one time. I was playing the 1971 Orioles and Mike Cuellar threw a perfect game against the Tigers winning 1-0. Mickey Lolich pitched a one hitter with the only hit and baserunner being a homerun by Paul Blair to lead off the game. My cousin played out an entire season with the 1969 Padres and had four pitchers lose 20 games. The only bright spot of his season was Nate Colbert hitting 30 homeruns.

  4. bullpenbrian

    Love it!
    I still keep in touch with many friends in college who I spent hours playing video baseball with on PlayStation.
    We’d set up a playoff tournament, choose our team, drink beer and trash talk our way to the top!
    It’s funny how those memories, like your cousin’s season of futility, stay with us. Good times!

  5. rosanto

    Will always be a fan of Kerry Wood – on and off the field. He stood up for Ronnie and still does charity work in Chicago.

  6. bullpenbrian

    Sounds crazy…but I wouldn’t be surprised if Wood finishes career as a Cub.

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