From the Here They Go Again Dept., the Chicago Sun-Times’ master of the mascara, Jay Mariotti on the continuing trials of Kerry Wood.
Just when the Cubs seemed to be charging toward a wild-card berth, just when they were building modest momentum for a weekend series in St. Louis, what happens?
Oh, the usual. Kerry Wood feels irritation in his shoulder, the trainer trots out, Wood says he’s fine, home runs fly out of the park, Wood finally is removed, a doctor checks him out, the Cubs announce he’ll maybe miss one start and then, next thing you know, the poor guy is back on the disabled list and doesn’t return for two months, whereupon the entire maddening process starts over.
Kerry Wood is Kerry Would. He is the perpetual Bartman, a seven-year ache. What’s next, the inevitable announcement he’ll need rotator-cuff surgery for a shoulder that has bothered him forever?
“It’s frustrating,” he said Thursday in Cincinnati, “especially with the amount of time I’ve missed.”
In a miles-per-hour context, to call the pattern “frustrating” is only getting to 87 on the radar gun. Try exasperating, with the latest episode of rotten luck — and still-questionable mechanics — carrying more meaning than most. When Wood faces the possibility of another career interruption, at such a critical time in a wobbly season, it gives pause for thought. Is this is his lot in life? Is he doomed to a heartbreak existence that will render him one of baseball’s sadder figures of his time?
And in that vein, shouldn’t the ballclub be moving on without him, distancing itself from such a heavy dependency on a broken-down pitcher?