Yesterday, Kerry Wood retired. I am STILL devastated.
Ok, truth be told, I haven't been so nice to Mr Wood so far this season:
But, you know, my right as a fan and such. My co-worker and I have been IMing that maybe he should hang up his glove (or throw it into the stands again). It was just idle chitchat on our part. I didn't really mean it.
Then yesterday, Twitter blew up with the knowledge that Kerry would indeed be hanging it up. I immediately got a text from my best friend, and we tried our hardest to fake sick and secure tickets to the game, just to BE THERE. (It didn't work out. Having jobs is the worst part about being an adult.)
I've followed Kerry Wood's career since the very beginning. I was in high school when he struck out 20. My grandpa was at the game. He caught a foul ball. We talked about Wood's accomplishment during track practice. My friend's dad gave me a laminated cover of some baseball prospect magazine that had "Kid K" on the cover.
Later that same summer, my friend and I took the bus to Wrigley, and bought standing-room tickets to watch him pitch against the Rockies. The threat of a terrible thunderstorm didn't keep us away (they got the game in). We went because, "OMG KERRY WOOD IS PITCHING!"
I still wore my Wood t-shirt when his career took him to the Indians... and then to the hated Yankees. When Jim Hendry decided to bring Woody back for 2011, I cheered with any other die-hard Cubs fan. This was MY pitcher. And he was back.
I called out the decision-makers this winter and asked that they extend one last offer to Kid K. I knew in my heart that it was nearing the end. I was overjoyed when the contract was announced. But I didn't expect it to end so soon. I wasn't ready.
I listened to yesterday's game on the radio while I was at work. It was almost time to go home when Kid K was warming up in the bullpen. Please, oh please, let me not miss any of this while walking from my desk to my car. And I didn't. I listed to the final (strikeout) out of Wood's career while driving home. The radio didn't cut to commercial for the pitching change. They let us listen to the fans cheering.
It was awful. My hero since high school is moving on.
I got home from work, and I tweeted this:
Thanks for the memories, Kerry.