MESA, Ariz. -- Once a rawboned 20-year-old fireballer who dazzled baseball with his blazing fastball, Kerry Wood now is a seasoned veteran who can look back on his career with some perspective.
Here is Kerry Wood in his own words on several topics addressed during an interview with the Daily Herald.
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On his 20-strikeout game:
"I'm proud of it. It's a great moment. It was a great moment of my career, the first great moment of my career. It's special to me and always will be. The expectations that came after that … I was 20 years old and having success and not a care in the world, and I thought, 'I'll be able to do this for years.' It doesn't work out that way."
On the possibility of winning it all with the Cubs:
"At this point, it's got to trump Boston's, I would have to believe. So long. So close at times. For me, being on the (2003) team that got the closest in a long time, you can't really describe that stretch to the guys that weren't here that are here now.
"You can't explain to them what it was like, going into Atlanta, clinching Game 5 and seeing 30,000 (Cubs fans) that were still there. That was just first round. I really believe if we make it to the World Series and it's at Wrigley Field, the stadium's going to come down."
On the heartbreak of the 2003 NLCS:
"It's part of baseball. It's a good story. It's part of Cub legacy. It's part of the history of the team. It's the new black cat. Hopefully we won't be talking about it too much longer. It's just part of the game. It seems like this organization has a few more of those than other organizations."
On the New York media:
"They're everywhere. It's no different. You get the same questions. You answer it the same way as best you can, as politically correct as you can for the ones that are difficult to answer.
"For those guys, I didn't see anybody reading the papers. It's tough enough to read the stuff, good or bad, because it's not always going to be good in any city that you play in."
On his favorite pitching role:
"I like to start. That's what I like. That's what I am, I still feel. But you know what? I've adapted to the role I have. I enjoy coming to work every day getting ready with a chance to go out and play.
"There are days when you're sitting down there, and you're like, 'Ooh, I really don't need to pitch today.' But you get through it, and you figure out a way.
"It shows you what you're capable of doing and mentally how you can overcome things when mentally you may not feel your best, but you put up a zero and do your job. But starting, I like that the best."