Remembering Kerry Wood
Submitted by Cubnut on Sun, 06/03/2007 - 8:37pm
In Sunday’s edition of the New York Times PLAY magazine, Buzz Bissinger (“Friday Night Lights" and "Three Nights In August”) profiles Kerry Wood and his famously injured right arm. There is not a lot of news here, particularly for anyone who has lived with this story the way Cub fans have—and the readers of TCR more than most Cub fans—but the piece is well done and, in case the 2007 season hasn’t already been heartbreaking enough, you’ll find plenty of memories here to be heartbroken about. Aside from interviewing Wood, Bissinger hooks up with Jim Riggelman, who sounds sorry for possibly having contributed to Wood’s health issues; Dusty Baker, who sounds completely defensive; and Mike McGilvray, Wood’s coach at Grand Prairie High School, who places 100% of the blame on the Cubs. (In fairness to Baker, I will point out that Wood holds Dusty blameless for his injuries and instead, blames himself for inviting injury with his own poor conditioning.) I think this paragraph sums up the article--and Wood’s Major League career--pretty well:
"Is there someone to blame for what happened to Kerry Wood? As in 'Murder on the Orient Express,' everybody took a turn with the dagger. A high-school kid never should have thrown 175 pitches in a single day. Jim Riggleman never should have let him exceed 120 pitches eight times as a rookie, or brought him back for that one game in the 2003 playoffs. Dusty Baker, who allowed Wood to exceed 100 pitches 24 times in 2003, should have taken greater note of his injury history. Wood should have kept himself in better shape and paid more attention to his mechanics. But whether we like it or not, professional athletes are meant to be sacrificed, not preserved. And the most fatal dagger-thrust of all has been fate’s. Wood threw the way he did because that was the way he had learned how to pitch. And he continued to throw that way because for a brief moment it made him the most exciting pitcher in baseball."