By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) I still remember the first time we met pretty vividly.
May 6, 1998.
Gray, drizzly, my sophomore year of Catholic high school winding down. Through the grapevine one of my cellmates… I mean, classmates had leaked information past the screws and it trickled down to me as I sat in English class neck-deep in the swamp of William Carlos Williams’ epic poem, “The Red Wheelbarrow.”
Something interesting was going on in the Cubs game that day. You were striking guys out at an unusual rate and did not seem to be stopping. Or, as the note that was passed to me read, “Cary Woods is like 11 strikeouts in 5 inigs.”
I ran into my bedroom just in time to catch the final two innings. As I watched you put the finishing touches on one of the greatest pitching performances in baseball history, with Chip Caray screaming out of my little TV (remember how we used to put “Muzzle me” notes on his back? LOL), I fell hard for you, Kid K.
You were cool. You were a bit mysterious. You didn’t discover Nirvana until after Kurt died, too. How could a teenage sports fan not be smitten?
And so our relationship began, Kerry.
We had so much fun in the beginning. You were the coolest guy around, and my White Sox fan friends were so jealous, and I loved it. My dad, a Cub fan for too long, was skeptical of you and wasn’t sure if you were the right one. He knew how guys like you tended to come and go. I didn’t listen—parents just don’t understand, right?
But then things got a bit rocky. Injuries kept popping up. You always said you were sorry and that it wouldn’t be like that anymore, but I started to feel uneasy after the first four or so. I took you back every time, but every time you just wounded me. Remember when you surprised me with that home run against the Marlins in Game 7 of the NLCS? I was ecstatic. And then you lost the game.
Our relationship slowly eroded. Certainly you knew that I fooled around with Prior for a short time, but you had to know that was only because I was vulnerable. He was no Kerry Wood. But eventually I didn’t even see you until the end of games anymore, and even then you weren’t the Kerry that stole my heart that rainy afternoon. Then you were gone.
It didn’t even bother me much. I really sort of put you out of my mind while you were with those other teams—no jealousy. Happiness, actually. I really hoped for the best for you. I never threw away my “We Got Wood” shirt tucked away in the back of my closet or that “Five Aces” bat with you and the boys, Prior, Maddux, Clement, and Zambrano, painted on it (remember when Maddux used to throw those lame Trivial Pursuit parties?).
Then you showed up at my loved one’s funeral, totally unexpected, talking about how much you missed “us” and wanted what we had forever. I was taken aback, but also took you back.
Again, things were cool… for just a while. Then you were up to your same old habits. Now you’re on the DL again, and I’m disappointed for the umpteenth time. You say that you want to come back next year or else retire. Yeah. Right.
Kerry, I just can’t do this anymore. I’m different now. You’re different now (sort of). We’re no good for each other anymore. I’m breaking up with you, Kerry. I need to move on, and I think it’s best if you do as well.
I’ll always remember the good times, and I won’t cry because it’s over. I’ll smile because it happened. And I hope we can still be friends after all this and that there won’t be any bad feelings or awkwardness like when Theriot returned with those jerks the Cardinals (what do guys even see in those sluts, anyway?).
All the best,
— A Cubs fan
P.S. You can keep that Steve Goodman mixed CD I loaned you and my 2008 Division Champions t-shirt. I don’t need those anymore.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget , but please don’t follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago’s Beverly To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.