Tuesday, May 6, 2008

K Hates Kerry Wood... wha happened???

Ten years ago.
May 6, 1998.

A young Mike Kinsella was probably sitting in Geometry or Latin class during his freshman year at Benet Academy in Lisle, IL. Like most other fans of the Chicago Cubs, the spring of 1998 was more of the same. Gracie was getting old, Sammy had yet to go nuts with Big Mac, and the Cubs were somewhat of an afterthought. The Bulls were marching along to the three-peat repeat, led by the greatest player in the history of the NBA, this planet, and all universes.

That's right, Scottie Pippen.

On May 6, 1998, a paltry 15,758 people decided to go to Wrigley Field and watch the Chicago Cubs take on the mighty defending NL Central Champion Houston Astros. As Lee Elia had said fifteen years prior, "The fuckin' nickle dime people that show up? Those mother fuckers don't even work! ... Eighty five percent of the fuckin world is working, and the other fifteen come here. A playground for the cocksuckers..." Well on that day, Lee, those cocksuckers would see something that they could talk about on the playground for the rest of their days at the teeter-totter.

The Astros had quite a lineup that day. The Killer B's (Biggio, Derrek Bell, Jeff Bagwell) were at the top, with Moises Alou, Ricky Guitierrez, and a young studly catcher named Brad Ausmus smattered throughout.

We all know what happened next. 27 up, 27 down. 20 strikeouts, 0 walks. The only glitch was a shoulda been error on Kevin Orie that was ruled an infield hit. Cubs Win, Holy Cow! Kid K was born, and the Cubdom got excited. Really excited, like stupid over the top excited as only Cub fans know how to do.

Next thing you know, Sammy hit 20 dingers in June, Steve Trachsel and Gary Gaietti help the Boys in Blue take down the Giants in game 163, and the Cubbies make the playoffs.

This however, was about the best it got for the Cubbies, as well as the Kid K.

The 1998 playoffs were over before they started. The Atlanta Braves, a.k.a. the Buffalo Bills of MLB, treated the Cubs like a bully to their cocksucking fans on the playground; stealing their lunch money, giving them a black eye, and sweeping Riggleman's boys home with a 3-0 series win.

1999 was lost to Tommy John surgery, and 2000-2002 was marred with the failures of Don Baylor and Bruce Kimm, as well as Kyle Farnsworth falling asleep in the clubhouse. A new voice was needed; enter Dusty. In Dusty We Trusty!

I really don't have the energy to go through the Dusty Era of the Cubs. Too many bad memories, too much heartache. Too many towel drills for Woody and his rehab pal, Mark Prior. Too many "he's out for two weeks" turning into three months. Too many sore forearms turning into torn labrums. Too many pop fouls turning into too many tantrums, followed by too many phenoms imploding and too many Gold Glovers booting too many double play balls. Too many expectations turning into too many hopeless situations. Too many #34 jerseys turning into #25's, #16's, and now #1's. Too many toothpicks, too many Todd Hundleys showing up and turning into too many busts. Too much pain, too much hurt.

Wow, this has really been somewhat cathartic for me. Just in the past ten years, the number of times the Cubs have broken this fan's heart and will is too many to count. Twenty-five years of joyless Octobers is enough, I can't imagine how an older Cub fan must feel.

What I'm realizing as I write this piece is that no, I don't hate Kerry Wood as a person or a pitcher. I actually really like him. What I hate is the fact that Kerry Wood has become synonymous for the struggles and the disappointment that goes along with being a Cub fan. He deserved better than this fate; he deserved to be mentioned with Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, and Steve Carlton. I just hope he's on the Cubs when they win a World Series; he and Ron Santo embracing will be on my wall and in my heart forever.

Yea, that's a pretty wimpy way to end a column on a "hate" blog, but you know what, I don't care.


Cy said...

Please dear God, do not let this happen to Liriano.

The Tao said...

That can't be a Chicago Tribune, can it? The layout's actually... good.

Mikey K said...

i know... do you notice the columnist on the bottom though... skip bayless, good riddance... i miss bernie lincicome though.