So the Chicago Cubs named their closer yesterday and Kerry Wood gets the nod over veteran reliever Bob Howry and young flame-thrower Carlos Marmol. And as disgusting as it is, I agree with the decision. However, while I might agree, I also don't think it will actually work out.
Kid-K (who will be 31 in June) has never quite lived up to his potential. The Cubs organization fell in love with him the day he struck out 20 Houston Astros in 1998. Unfortunately he had Tommy John surgery the following year. It took him a few years to regain his Rookie of the Year form. Since then, he has never won more than 14 games in a season, and has been hampered by injuries.
Now Woody has moved to the bullpen and is the closer. There's no one in the world that wants him to succeed more than me, but forgive me for being pessimistic. He has thrown very well in Spring, but I'm certain the daily grind will eventually get to his arm, or his legs, or his back, or his pride, or his left rear molar, or maybe he'll get turf toe. There's an injury looming, and if not, the Cubs will find another excuse as to why they won't win. I loved watching Wood and Prior taking the hill in Cubs pinstripes, but I need some more durable, consistent pitching. It's fun to see 96 mph fastballs with movement cut over the black of the plate, but not when the pitcher's arm falls off after the game and has to be reattached.
I've seen so many stories about the Cubs 100 anniversary of winning a World Series (back to back World Series Championships to be exact) but the former Chicago Colts and Chicago White Stockings need to not worry about all the pressure that comes along with the supposed Curse of the Goat. It's hard for anyone to win a World Series (ask the Yankees these days) but it's even harder when you concentrate on a 100 year old ape (or Goat, I suppose) staring you straight in the face. Cubs fans, please chill out, drink your Old Style, and stop booing your own players every other inning. Let Wood do his thing (I'm not sure if that is pitching or getting injured) and let the players know you support them. Kerry Wood will probably be a bust in his role of closer, but if not, that's a huge bonus (because you know he'll be waaaaaay better than Ryan Dempster if he can stay healthy). I just can't buy into the hype of "This Will Be the Year!" because it doesn't help me enjoy the overall season. Woody and the rest of the Cubs just need to chill out, be happy Michael Barrett is gone, be sad that Ron Santo has no legs, and remember that they get paid ridiculous amounts of money to play a game- not to feel pressure from drunk d-bags in the right field bleachers. Enjoy playing the game. It's not World Series or bust as many people might make you believe, but I'll right there celebrating if you manage to pull it off.