2003 Game 7

by Mark
(IL)

My favorite Kerry Wood story displays what I like most about him as a baseball player. He is a fierce competitor.

I was listening to the game in the car in the first inning. Juan Pierre of the Marlins leads Game 7 off with a triple. Not a good start to a very important game. I'm listening to the play by play of his at bat against Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez and I could tell that Wood was trying very hard to get Pudge out and obviously trying to get out of an early jam in an important game. I get worried that he is trying to be too perfect to Pudge and sure enough, Wood ends up walking him and Miguel Cabrera follows with a 3-run home run.

I sort of wished Wood could've taken the approach that Pierre was going to score at some point during the inning and he could pitch to every batter as if the score were already 1-0 (maybe the inning would've turned out different), but it occurred to me that Wood's determination would not let him accept that Pierre would score and that could be part of his demise that inning. But when a baseball player is giving it that kind of effort, it's hard to be upset with him. And, of course, since Wood was not pitching well that night (he gave up 7 runs and took the defeat in the first game 7 for the Cubs since 1945), he found a way to help his team in another way by hitting a home run that tied the game up at the time.

Many people thought his recent outburst throwing his glove into the stands was out of character for the normally well-mannered Wood, but it's another example of how Wood was very disappointed with his performance and had to let his anger out. Even I made the comment that had Carlos Zambrano done the same thing, everyone's reaction would be different because of the 2 players past history with the team. Sort of a double standard, yes, however when you
understand how competitive Wood has been throughout his career, it is easier to forgive an incident like this.

Thanks for the memories, Kerry. You'll always be one of my favorite Cubs of all time.

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