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Monday

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March 2012

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COMMENTS

Kerry Wood: The Next Mr. Cub?

Written by , Posted in General

I make no secret about who my favorite Cub is. It’s been Kerry Wood since the day I skipped work to watch him pitch only to watch the best game I’ve ever seen called by one of the worst announcers I’ve ever heard. If you forgot just how good he was when he came up, take a look at the stikeouts that day and look at the movement he was getting on his pitches that day. He was just plain nasty.

Those days are gone and we’re now in the twilight of Wood’s career. At this point, bringing him back was as much a PR move as it was a strategic move. Looking at the projections, you’re not going to see the same pitcher we saw coming up.

It’s hard to really predict a relief pitcher. A lot of the numbers are so superficial. Wins are very much arbitrary. ERA can be blown with one bad outing so that doesn’t really tell the story either. Saves are completely useless so we really need to look at the rate stats to see what to project. Looking in that area it’s clear we’ll still see the strikeouts with roughly the same amount of control. The problem I see with Wood in the future is going to be what happens when the clock strikes midnight and his time is over in this game. There were times last year where he didn’t look like he was capable of getting out of the inning. There were other times he was very good. My fear is we’ll see more of the former than the latter. What happens when that becomes the case. In my mind, Wood is the closest thing we’ve seen to Mr. Cub since Ryne Sandberg. It was a PR hit when he left and a major PR move when he returns. Will the fans have the decency to remember Wood for the time he was healthy and productive or will he always be soured with the tag of “What Could Have Been”.

I don’t know how much we can expect from Wood this year or going forward. What I do know is that I’m going to enjoy every outing I get to see him pitch and know I got to watch one of my favorites.

  • Buddy

    As much as I like Kerry Wood, there are two things we can expect from him this year: 1) Bad control  2)  An injury or two

  • BLPCB

    If Woody has a repeat of 2011, should get one final chance in 2013, and then his days playing in Cubbie Blue should be over if that’s another bad season. We all love him, but there comes a time when he can’t play the game anymore.

    • Joe Aiello

      I didn’t think Wood’s 2011 campaign was bad. Hopefully it did not come across that way.

  • Doc Raker

    Great video clip but it was the wrong announcers. I can’t believe they didn’t show the real star of the day, Jeff Blauser at short stop- he made some great plays.

    • Don’t forget H-Rod.  (Henry Rodriguez)

    • Joe Aiello

      I have to imagine they showed the Astros announcers because Chip was that bad.

      • Norm

         Speaking of announcers, Fangraphs asked their readers to vote on the best and worst; Cubs came in 6th (White Sox in last)
        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/broadcaster-rankings-tv-comments-and-questions/

      • Lizzie

        Good stuff Norm, thanks for posting!

      • Seymour Butts

        Interesting that LA NL was first in home broadcasts and 2nd to last in away broadcasts. Aren’t they both Vin Scully trying to stave off Harry Carrydom?

      • Buddy

        I don’t think Vin does road games anymore.

      • Jedi

        I know I’ll catch a LOT of heat for this – but Vin Scully sucks as an announcer.  The guy talks about ANYTHING but the game.  I’ve heard the man spend innings talking about beach balls in the crowd and palm trees and something Sandy Koufax told him in the summer of ’65 – it’s a complete waste a time if you are listening to get a sense of the game.

      • Eddie Von White

         Right on Jedi. I have said that same thing for years. When people say he’s the best in the business, I don’t get.

      • Doc Raker

        Completely agree Jedi, and if you listen to an entire series he tells the same stories every game. He just reads the media sheet to fill time. You don’t get an essence of the game while listening to him. Krukow and Kiper for the Giants are the best.

      • Thanks for the heads up Raker…I installed At Bat 12 today on the Android.  I have had horrible luck with non-Cubs broadcast teams (Yankees have to be about the worst…) and always enjoy catching the random guy who can call a game.  

      • Buddy

        I don’t think Vin does road games anymore.

      • Jedi

        I know I’ll catch a LOT of heat for this – but Vin Scully sucks as an announcer.  The guy talks about ANYTHING but the game.  I’ve heard the man spend innings talking about beach balls in the crowd and palm trees and something Sandy Koufax told him in the summer of ’65 – it’s a complete waste a time if you are listening to get a sense of the game.

      • Eddie Von White

         Right on Jedi. I have said that same thing for years. When people say he’s the best in the business, I don’t get.

      • Doc Raker

        Completely agree Jedi, and if you listen to an entire series he tells the same stories every game. He just reads the media sheet to fill time. You don’t get an essence of the game while listening to him. Krukow and Kiper for the Giants are the best.

      • Thanks for the heads up Raker…I installed At Bat 12 today on the Android.  I have had horrible luck with non-Cubs broadcast teams (Yankees have to be about the worst…) and always enjoy catching the random guy who can call a game.  

      • BLPCB

        As the Hawk would say, YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARD, YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • There is only one real Hawk in Chicago…and it is not Woody Harrelson’s dad.  

      • BLPCB

        Amen to that. There are 2 Hawks in Chicago, the real Hawk, and then the fake constipated hick Hawk. Ken Harrelson is #1 on my list of broadcasters who need to be punched in the face. When he got into with Jay Mariotti a few years back, I wish Mariotti actually would have broken Ken Harrelson’s nose.

      • BLPCB

         http://www.heavethehawk.com/

      • AC0000000

         http://www.heavethehawk.com/

      • Eddie Von White

         What I hate the worst is his strike out call: “He gone.”

      • BLPCB

        Me too. I can’t wait till he leaves the White Sox and the term can be applied to him
        http://www.heavethehawk.com/music/StrapItDown.mp3

      • Eddie Von White

         Good one, CAPS.

      • Eddie Von White

         What I hate the worst is his strike out call: “He gone.”

      • AC0000000

        Me too. I can’t wait till he leaves the White Sox and the term can be applied to him
        http://www.heavethehawk.com/music/StrapItDown.mp3

      • Eddie Von White

         Good one, CAPS.

      • Doc Raker

        NO- I disagree. Chip and Stoner were great that game. They were very excited about the most dominant pitching performance they had ever seen.

      • Doc Raker

        NO- I disagree. Chip and Stoner were great that game. They were very excited about the most dominant pitching performance they had ever seen.

  • cap’n obvious

    I like Wood, and am glad they kept him on for stability sake.  Not sure if a spot reliever can be considered the ‘face’ of the franchise, no matter how long he’s been around.  It’s Castro, whether any of us likes it or not.

  • Tommy

    I cannot share the love for Kerry Wood. One or two magical seasons does not earn an eclectic title as Mr. Cub. There is no one on this roster currently even remotely worthy of that distinguished distinction. If Castro stays around and turns out to be the player we all dream he’ll be, maybe one day in the far distant future but Wood? I don’t see it.

    • He’s no H-Rod. (Henry Rodriguez)

    • He’s no H-Rod. (Henry Rodriguez)

  • flyslinger2

    Wood was pure joy to watch when he was young.   I agree with Tommy.  I don’t think he’s had a Mr. Cub career but he sure ignites the fan base and they react to him.

  • Mark Strickler

    Joe I agree with you totally about 2011.  The fact that Kerry has decided to cast his lot with the Cubs says a lot to me – he took a major pay cut to be with this organization and I think he was trying to make amends for the years that he made big bucks and was hurt.  Players don’t have to do that but Kerry decided to – he has ties to the community and is obviously comfortable with the direction the team is going and at least adjusting to the changes.  I’m hoping that Kerry has a future with the Cubs after his playing days – it’s sad to see what has happened to other Cubs (Dawson, Sandberg and Maddux) who are coaching with other teams but perhaps we can get Kerry to stick around!

    • BLPCB

      Sandberg had his chances to be a coach on the MLB staff but refused. There is a reason no one has hired him as an MLB manager. As for Maddux, he doesn’t want to coach right now, and he worked with the Cubs the last couple years. And besides, if he was to work for someone, it would be the Braves.

      • cap’n obvious

        Maddux is having a great time in Vegas coaching his kids.  I am grateful that he spent a few minutes with my high school team recently teaching them the art and skill of the sacrifice bunt.  It won’t be mentioned when he enters the HOF, but he was one of the most proficient sac bunters ever.  The sacrifice bunt is making a huge comeback in high school and college baseball due to BBCOR (not a sabermetric for big boys can’t offer runs).  Perhaps Joe will accept a guest piece from me outlining the ramifications for the future these unbelievably huge changes are making on the way 15-22 year olds play the game.

      • Tommy

        One more thing. For the time he was here, Theriot was on his way to being “Mr. Cub” like, but was traded before he could cement that honorable moniker down.

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        The Riot was a placeholder–an exciting one at times, sure, but a placeholder nonetheless.  I’m glad we had him while we did, but I’m much happier that he’s gone.  Especially when you consider the aggressiveness with which he’s burned his bridges with Cubs fans.  That should be all the proof you need to know he was never anything close to “Mr. Cub” material.

      • Tommy

        Guess I missed his comments JJ – he dis our Cubbies did he?

      • Incorrect.  

      • Jedi

        If by “Mr. Cub” you mean the guy some fans lusted after most vigorously – fine.  But Theriot’s fan appeal was 90% looks and 10% “grit, moxie” and all those other “dirty” words.  Banks, Williams, Jenkins, Santo, Sandberg, Dawson, Grace, Wood he was most definitely not (nor would he ever have been).  On the current roster only Castro would be able to pull that off, and he’s got a language barrier that makes it hard for him to be marketed that way…check back on him in 4 or 5 years.

      • Seymour Butts

        Ernie also has a language barrier..he speaks martian.

      • Joe Aiello

         Theriot was only close to being Mr. Cub like in one person’s mind.

      • Jedi

        CAPS I don’t know where you’re getting that – the Cubs offered Ryno nothing.  That’s in large part due to the fact that Ryno made it known he was angling for an MLB managing post – not some lesser role – with the Cubs or any other team.  Since he didn’t get that, he’s headed back to manage the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

  • Mark Strickler

    Joe I agree with you totally about 2011.  The fact that Kerry has decided to cast his lot with the Cubs says a lot to me – he took a major pay cut to be with this organization and I think he was trying to make amends for the years that he made big bucks and was hurt.  Players don’t have to do that but Kerry decided to – he has ties to the community and is obviously comfortable with the direction the team is going and at least adjusting to the changes.  I’m hoping that Kerry has a future with the Cubs after his playing days – it’s sad to see what has happened to other Cubs (Dawson, Sandberg and Maddux) who are coaching with other teams but perhaps we can get Kerry to stick around!

    • AC0000000

      Sandberg had his chances to be a coach on the MLB staff but refused. There is a reason no one has hired him as an MLB manager. As for Maddux, he doesn’t want to coach right now, and he worked with the Cubs the last couple years. And besides, if he was to work for someone, it would be the Braves.

      • cap’n obvious

        Maddux is having a great time in Vegas coaching his kids.  I am grateful that he spent a few minutes with my high school team recently teaching them the art and skill of the sacrifice bunt.  It won’t be mentioned when he enters the HOF, but he was one of the most proficient sac bunters ever.  The sacrifice bunt is making a huge comeback in high school and college baseball due to BBCOR (not a sabermetric for big boys can’t offer runs).  Perhaps Joe will accept a guest piece from me outlining the ramifications for the future these unbelievably huge changes are making on the way 15-22 year olds play the game.

      • Jedi

        CAPS I don’t know where you’re getting that – the Cubs offered Ryno nothing.  That’s in large part due to the fact that Ryno made it known he was angling for an MLB managing post – not some lesser role – with the Cubs or any other team.  Since he didn’t get that, he’s headed back to manage the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

  • Tommy

    One more thing. For the time he was here, Theriot was on his way to being “Mr. Cub” like, but was traded before he could cement that honorable moniker down.

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      The Riot was a placeholder–an exciting one at times, sure, but a placeholder nonetheless.  I’m glad we had him while we did, but I’m much happier that he’s gone.  Especially when you consider the aggressiveness with which he’s burned his bridges with Cubs fans.  That should be all the proof you need to know he was never anything close to “Mr. Cub” material.

      • Tommy

        Guess I missed his comments JJ – he dis our Cubbies did he?

    • Incorrect.  

    • Jedi

      If by “Mr. Cub” you mean the guy some fans lusted after most vigorously – fine.  But Theriot’s fan appeal was 90% looks and 10% “grit, moxie” and all those other “dirty” words.  Banks, Williams, Jenkins, Santo, Sandberg, Dawson, Grace, Wood he was most definitely not (nor would he ever have been).  On the current roster only Castro would be able to pull that off, and he’s got a language barrier that makes it hard for him to be marketed that way…check back on him in 4 or 5 years.

      • Seymour Butts

        Ernie also has a language barrier..he speaks martian.

    • Joe Aiello

       Theriot was only close to being Mr. Cub like in one person’s mind.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Nice job, Joe.  I think there’s a whole generation of Cubs fans–maybe more–who came to the team around the start of Wood’s career.  For them, he’s been the most consistent face of the team, and his ups and downs have mirrored the team’s.  He made valuable contributions to the team’s success in the 00’s.  And even when injury kept him off the field for lengthy stretches, he was still a fixture with the team–especially in the down years, when his potential returns from the DL were some of the only reasons to tune in.  And his palpable affection for Cubs fans goes a long way to cement that relationship.  I’m not sure his numbers alone qualify him to be considered one of the all-time great Cubs.  But he understands what all great Cubs do–that there is something special about playing in Wrigley Field, and about the relationships you can forge with Cubs fans.  And we’ve already seen he’s willing to give up millions of dollars to keep that relationship going.  I think that’s why he probably fits into that “Mr. Cub” mold as well as any player has in a long time.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Nice job, Joe.  I think there’s a whole generation of Cubs fans–maybe more–who came to the team around the start of Wood’s career.  For them, he’s been the most consistent face of the team, and his ups and downs have mirrored the team’s.  He made valuable contributions to the team’s success in the 00’s.  And even when injury kept him off the field for lengthy stretches, he was still a fixture with the team–especially in the down years, when his potential returns from the DL were some of the only reasons to tune in.  And his palpable affection for Cubs fans goes a long way to cement that relationship.  I’m not sure his numbers alone qualify him to be considered one of the all-time great Cubs.  But he understands what all great Cubs do–that there is something special about playing in Wrigley Field, and about the relationships you can forge with Cubs fans.  And we’ve already seen he’s willing to give up millions of dollars to keep that relationship going.  I think that’s why he probably fits into that “Mr. Cub” mold as well as any player has in a long time.

  • Eddie Von White

    I have never seen Kerry Wood smile. Mr. Cub has to be happy all the time and spew enjoyment of the game at every sighting. Kerry Wood does not carry that kind of charisma, therefore I vote no. 

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      Seriously?  I don’t know anyone who is “happy all the time and spew(s) enjoyment of the game at every sighting.”

      Here’s a smile for you.  http://ph.cdn.photos.upi.com/topic_photo/Kerry_Wood/9d6450ba1ac6bb466e8e7673ec30dca8/

      • Jedi

        I think he’s actually grimacing in that picture – holding is kid seems to be straining his thigh muscle that’s now located in his arm…

      • Eddie Von White

         Then you’ve never seen Ernie Banks.

  • Eddie Von White

    I have never seen Kerry Wood smile. Mr. Cub has to be happy all the time and spew enjoyment of the game at every sighting. Kerry Wood does not carry that kind of charisma, therefore I vote no.