Fans give pitcher Kerry Wood a warm Wood-bye
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org May 18, 2012 9:16PM
David DeJesus of the Cubs, bottom, and Gordon Beckham of the White Sox collide at second base on DeJesus's double attempt in the fifth inning at Wrigley Field Friday, May 18, 2012, in Chicago. DeJesus was ruled out. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:21PM
Even during subpar seasons, the Cubs and White Sox bring drama to their crosstown series.
It happened again at Wrigley Field on Friday, when the Sox’ 3-2 victory almost became a footnote.
Hours before the game, Cubs right-hander Kerry Wood let it be known that he was retiring, albeit after one more appearance at Wrigley.
‘‘I didn’t want to go out throwing the glove into the stands in my last game,’’ he said of his May 8 tantrum.
His farewell came in the eighth inning. He struck out Dayan Viciedo, then walked off to the cheers of 34,937 fans. His son, Justin, greeted him at the steps of the dugout as he waved goodbye.
But his manager, Dale Sveum, wasn’t there to bring him in or send him off. Sveum had been ejected in the fifth inning after arguing a play at second base in which outfielder David DeJesus had scrambled for a double but was tagged out by Gordon Beckham, who fell over him and knocked him off the base.
First baseman Paul Konerko, whose two-run homer in the first inning off Jeff Samardzija gave the Sox a 2-0 lead, also wasn’t around. He was hit in the face by a Samardzija pitch in the third inning and left with a cut and swelling over his left eye.
Konerko’s homer held up until the seventh, when the Cubs tied it. Beckham’s homer in the eighth put the Sox up 3-2.
But the bigger moment came two batters later when bench coach Jamie Quirk summoned Wood to the mound to face Viciedo with Adam Dunn on base and one out.
‘‘I told [bullpen coach] Lester [Strode] that I felt like I was going out to pitch my first game,’’ Wood said.
‘‘Obviously, today was a very special moment,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘I wish I could have been out there to be the one who took him out of the game and made that decision. I wish I would have thought about that before I got carried away. I did afterward. I was like, ‘Man, I’m going to miss this.’ ’’
Sox manager Robin Ventura felt the emotion of the moment.
‘‘They did it right,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘They let him go out that way. He deserves it. He’s been a good pitcher here in the city for a long time. Not everybody gets to, but it was nice he gets to go out that way.’’
Even the Sox, who’ve won six of their last eight games at Wrigley, applauded Wood.
‘‘It was an amazing moment,’’ Sox right-hander Jake Peavy said. ‘‘I thought it was awesome for him and his family.
‘‘I can’t ever remember a better game pitched [Wood’s performance against Houston as a rookie in ’98]. Twenty strikeouts and no walks. The one hit was very soft contact. I can’t ever remember anybody being more dominant in any single game. Kerry had an outstanding career. It’s a shame it’s ending.’’