San Francisco’s Alex Wooden mentioned he was screaming his *&^ off watching Georgia win the Nationwide Title.

San Francisco Giant and former Georgia pitcher Alex Wood didn’t make it to Indianapolis for the National Championship against Alabama.

But you better believe he was tuned in.

“My father was at the game. I didn’t make it, but I sat in my basement and watched it all by myself,” Wood said. “I worked my ass off the whole game but when it was over I didn’t say a word. I just couldn’t believe what had just happened. I’ve waited my whole life for this to happen.”

When Kelee Ringo picked up the pass and returned it for a touchdown to seal the Bulldogs’ 33-18 win, Wood was like countless Georgia fans at the time. He’s absolutely lost his mind.

“I screamed extremely loud. I jumped out of my seat, screamed, then sat down very quickly. I was just thinking about what that meant, literally, what just happened, how that had just sealed the deal that we could take home the national championship for the first time in my entire life,” Wood said. “I was just very impressed. I just couldn’t believe they finally did it. I couldn’t have been happier for our program.

“I’ve played for a lot of great teams, seen some great fan bases in college and pro sports, but it’s really just a special group when it comes to the Georgia Bulldogs and our fans. It really is a unique place and I just couldn’t have been happier for the team and everyone behind Georgia.”

Wood, a nine-year major league veteran, was in Athens Saturday night where he served as the guest speaker for Georgia baseball’s preseason banquet.

There he offered the current Bulldogs advice, keys to remember as they pursue their own careers, along with motivational tools that have helped him succeed.

Recently, Wood signed a two-year, $25 million contract to stay with the Giants after going 10-4 with a 3.83 ERA.

Under normal times, Wood would be preparing to head to Arizona for spring training with the rest of his teammates.

However, with the Major League Players Association and MLB currently in an impasse over a new deal, Wood has no idea when that might be.

“We’re like the fans to a certain extent. Of course we know each other a bit better, but it really is still a sit-and-wait game. Now I’m hoping it’s just a week or two delay and we can switch something out,” Wood said. “But yeah, it’s definitely been a bit frustrating from the union side, the player side, because we feel like we’re sitting around the table trying to get a fair, mutually beneficial deal.”

He keeps his fingers crossed that something will happen soon.

“It’s hard to negotiate with yourself. We’ve done that a little bit in the past and I don’t think we plan to do that now or in the future,” Wood said. “Right now we feel like we’ve sort of opened the door, but so far nobody’s ready to walk through it, so to speak. But we’ll see what happens. It’s business. People, everyone wants it to be a game, but it’s a billion dollar business. There are lots of loose ends to tie up. But I’m sure we’ll make it and the season will go its way.”

As you can imagine, Wood has a number of people to thank for helping get to this point in his career.

One is former Atlanta Brave pitcher Mike Minor, who Wood credits with showing him how to become a professional player.

Another is Rob Hill, the director of minor league pitching for the Dodgers, someone Wood refers to as the “Whiz Kid” and one of his best friends.

“I give him a lot of credit for my success over the past few years,” Wood said. “Otherwise it’s difficult to choose. I’ve had a lot of good team-mates, a lot of good coaches and a lot of good players, so you try to get something out of each individual and see people’s different perspectives.”

As for current and former teammates and coaches, there are obviously many. However, former three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw stands out.

Wood and Kershaw were teammates with the Dodgers for five years, five seasons the former Bulldog will never forget.

“It’s hard to find someone more focused than Clayton. Having kids gave him a little relief, but the guy lives to dominate,” Wood said. “No one in the world is happier than him when he made it and won. I will never erase the smile on his face, his work ethic, his determination. He’s definitely just a special person. I’m really lucky to have been his teammate and friend for so long.”

Although he has been away from Athens for some time, Wood said he will always consider Classic City his home.

Wood spoke fondly of his time as a Bulldog and how his development here, the opportunity to play in the SEC, helped shape him into the player he is today.

“I grew up a Dawg fan, so it’s not so much about baseball as it’s about how much I love Athens. There’s just no place like it, no fan base like it. I have fallen in love with Athens since I can remember growing up with my father. Throughout college were some of the best years of my life that I can remember,” Wood said. “I love this place like no other. After being able to play and develop here, develop into a callup-worthy player and later play professional baseball, I couldn’t have written it better myself.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button