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Inspirational Reads


May 6, 2008

Do you remember what you were doing ten years ago, today? I don't remember, either, except that I know I was four days away from graduating from St. Joseph's College. I'll hazard a guess and say that I was drinking beer while on the toilet shitter in the Gallagher 1st middle stall, drinking a beer in my dorm room, Gallagher 117, doing something stupid and druken with partner-in-crime Will Shannon, and probably planning another clumsy, awkward pass at Jamie Bach[1] later in the day. I think I might have also destroyed a phone against the exterior of Gallagher Hall later tonight, and I'm also going to guess that there was, at some point, a drunken trip to the Trail Tree in or Grandma's late in the night for either a Big T Trucker Sandwich or Biscuits and Gravy (and an eggy sandwich if a certain priest-to-be came with us).

The reason for waxing nostalgic is that today is the 10th anniversary of Kerry Wood striking out 20 Astros in Wrigley Field. This instantly put his name on the baseball map and made us all wonder just how many World Series rings he would bring to the North Side of Chicago[2]. Unfortunately, as productive as Wood was/has been striking guys out, he's been just as productive when it comes to injuring himself. Elbows, wrists, shoulders...everything on Wood's body seems to have broken down at some point during his career. Blame Dusty Baker if you want to (and I do), but some of Wood's injuries have been completely non-baseball related, such as injuring himself in a hot tub.

Despite all this, Kerry Wood remains one of my all-time favorite Cubs players. I don't know why, either. Maybe I'm still locked in the nostalgic hope of seeing him achieving his potential. Maybe I keep thinking that some day he'll wake up, hop out of bed and decide that today is the day he's going to strike out 20 batters again (which would be really difficult, since he's been relegated to the bullpen these days). Maybe because his marvelous feat of 20 strikeouts came in those waning days of my college career, when things were looking most hopeful and promising and I had the whole world figured out. Maybe seeing Kerry Wood pitch takes me back to a happy place that I have locked away inside of me. I don't know, but he is, without a doubt, my favorite baseball player. Here in the Triangle, there is a city called Cary and, in Cary, there is a road called Cary Wood Dr. Ever since I saw that, I have looked for an affordable house on Cary Wood Drive, just to say I live there, because that would be so fucking cool, and all because of Kerry Wood.

Wood's career has been one of unfulfilled potential. However, if you look at the recent spate of baseball news and think back, Wood (from Texas and a high-strikeout pitcher) was compared to Roger Clemens (from Texas and a high-strikeout pitcher). It was thought their careers would follow similar paths and Wood would be racking up Cy Young's along with wins and World Series titles. Fortunately--thankfully!--it seems that Wood is nothing like Clemens, as the injury-prone body and extended stays on the DL would point toward a lack of using steroids and HGH, and, well, there doesn't seem to be a string of trashy women with hordes of skeletons stashed in their closets following Wood around.

For all the bad that has surrounded Kerry Wood's career, I'll never forget looking up through my Miller-Genuine-Draft-inspired haze and saying, "Holy shit, Will, this guy's struck out 20 batters. Hand me another.[3]" So, Kerry, here's to you, man. Happy Anniversary.

[1]: In case you were wondering, she looks a lot like the Snorg Tees girl, just with a smaller chest and incisors and a stronger proclivity to wearing knee-high stockings and very short skirts.
[2]: That would be a big, fat 0 and counting...
[3]: Obviously, nowadays, it would be most appropriate to toast Kerry's feat with a 120 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head Brewery, as it's 20% ABW. That's 1% ABW for every strikeout. I can do math, me.


Chemgeek said...

I had a similar experience almost 15 years ago (by similar I mean it involved alkeehaul). It was the last day of my Junior year and we had consumed since morning. Campus was crazy and then everyone stopped to watch the last episode of Cheers.

It was surreal and oddly fitting. Nearly everyone on campus was piled into a dorm room somewhere watching the final episode of Cheers through the haze of an all day beer buzz.

"Sorry, we're closed." *tear*

Frank said...

10 years ago today...I believe I was in Ms. Gale's 6th grade class, probably filling my notebook with pictures of dinosaurs. That's about all I can remember. Oh, and Star Wars Episode I was about to come out, and everyone seemed pretty excited about that.

Jidai said...

I was in the hospital. trying to get the nurses to wrangle me a Nintendo to play with.

Jim said...

Now you're going to tell me that the Padres' acquisition of Mark Pryor wasn't a great idea. Spoilsport.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

I gave up on baseball when I gave up on Jim Riggleman...about 1991.
Yes, he was WAY older and Yes, my dad grounded me (although I was over 21).
10 years ago today I was back in school trying to figure out how someone who was almost 30 was going to legally get anywhere with someone who was 8 years younger.... Oh College, sigh.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Grandma's has closed!

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...