Carpenter crossed the line in calling out Ryan twice during blowout win


Chris Carpenter is competitive and he demands the best from his teammates when he’s on the hill. The story has been told countless times over the last few years. Carp is nuts when he’s out there and it’s that fire that makes him great.

This story isn’t about that Carpenter. This story is about flat out disrespect to a teammate.

During Monday night’s game in Cincinnati, Carpenter showed up Cardinals shortstop Brendan Ryan. The St. Louis ace took Ryan aside in the dugout to scold him for delaying the game in the bottom of the first inning just as he was about to start pitching. Ryan was apparently late to the field and grabbed the wrong glove so he had the right one thrown out to him.

Instead of brushing it off and using the extra minute to relax, Carpenter chose to stare down his shortstop. As if that wasn’t enough, he made sure to give Ryan an earful when the inning ended.

ESPN caught it on one of its many cameras and Ryan looked like an idiot. Carpenter looked like a leader. Only that’s not what this was about. [...]

Ryan is not some rookie or minor league call-up. He is a major league ballplayer who has been a heck of a shortstop for St. Louis. Forget about the hitting woes this year. This incident is strictly about defense. And Ryan is one of the best in the game. For Carpenter to act so high and mighty is embarrassing. He isn’t perfect. No one is and baseball does a pretty good job proving that every night.

Does Ryan give Carpenter hell every start that he gets rocked? Or what about the time Carp takes his time in between an inning of a forgettable start (and yes, it’s had to have happened once in a career as long and with a fuse as short as Carpenter’s) does Ryan wait at the mound holding the ball in disgust?

The confrontation at the start of the game wasn’t nearly as bad as the one to end Carpenter’s night. With the Cardinals up 7-1, Juan Francisco hit a ground ball in between short and third. Ryan was shading the middle and then stutter-stepped towards the ball but never had a chance to make a play. It was a base hit and a meaningless run scored.

Carpenter screamed and shouted in frustration with Ryan as if he just lost a perfect game. It’s always someone else’s fault in sports. The star pitcher can’t handle that he threw some meatballs that resulted in two runs. Carpenter could learn a thing or two about respect and humility from some young pitchers around the league.

Armando Galarraga and Brandon Morrow both lost no-hitters (Galarraga had a perfecto) due to questionable plays. Galarraga thought he had a perfect game until an umpire took it away with a mistake – nothing more, nothing less. Remember, human beings make mistakes. Galarraga’s response was one of the best stories of the summer. He was a perfect model of class in a tough situation. Morrow had a no-hitter broken up with two outs in the ninth yesterday on a play that some feel should have been made by Aaron Hill. He didn’t stare down Hill or call him out in his press conference. He smiled and said he was happy to get his first complete game shutout and 17 strikeouts because: hey, that’s pretty good.

Carpenter had nothing on the line. He pitched a solid game and kept the Reds off balance, but he wasn’t even close to perfect. He didn’t even have a shutout going. He should have been happy to have a nice seven-run cushion all night thanks to Skip Schumaker who never hits grand slams.

But Carpenter is too big to have fun. He’s too great to take a deep breath on an easy night. He wants all the credit.

Well, Chris, Monday’s win wasn’t about you. It was about Skip Schumaker and the Cards lineup in the fourth. They won the game and you benefited.

I love the competitive guys and the serious guys in sports, but this was beyond that. Carpenter was a jerk, plain and simple.

Ryan didn’t deserve the embarrassment the second time with his team enjoying a comfortable win. I wouldn’t have minded seeing the shortstop give it right back to Carpenter. But Ryan is above that; he understands the team concept. He may not be the best player and he may be struggling, but he’s still a key part of this team and its success.

He makes a lot of plays for Carpenter and the rest of the staff and they should all remember that.

There’s a fine line between leadership and disrespect in pro sports. These guys are all professionals and they’re all adults. They don’t need to be shown up by a teammate because his ERA went up a hundredth of a point.

Don’t worry Chris; it won’t hurt your Cy Young chances this year because you’re not even in the discussion. And after a mediocre career in Toronto and two missed seasons in St. Louis, your 130 wins aren’t taking you to Cooperstown.

So remember that the next time you play God and straighten someone out. The word today isn’t competitive, it’s classless.

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Tags: Altercation Armando Galarraga Brandon Morrow Brendan Ryan Chris Carpenter Perfect Pitching Shortstop St Louis Cardinals

  • Will Warren

    Well said

  • http://www.pitchershiteighth.com Pitchers Hit Eighth

    If you believe Carpenter post-game (and obviously with the benefit of hindsight), he says he wasn’t upset with Ryan in the 7th, but with himself.

    http://twitter.com/MatthewHLeach/status/20760272502

    Nonetheless, I’ve grown a bit tired of the antics too. Kind of wondering how much longer it will be before one of the hitters he screams at finally takes a swing.

    • http://redbirdrants.com Ryne Gery

      I did see that in the post-game stories, but I just don’t believe him. I’m sure part of him was upset with himself, but he definitely put some of it on Ryan. He looked his way and shook his head a little. I think he still had the start of the game on his mind when he saw that ground ball roll through. I don’t think this will be a big problem, so they tried to downplay it after the game.

  • Jay

    I seriously agree with you.

  • Keegs

    I get your point. But you’ve gone every bit as overboard on Carp as he (in your opinion) did on Ryan. Carpenter obviously was not trying to embarrass Ryan, that’s why he went down the stairs to where he thought the talk (which is what it was, a short talk… not a volcanic eruption) have been seen. From the way you put it.. you’d though Carpenter went all Carlos Zambrano on Ryan. What makes Carpenter so good is his ability to control and channel his fire… and you want him to take a deep breath and relax. So… on a team that has already seen it’s pen surrendered 9 runs in the 9th once this season… you want our Ace, in the heat of a division race against a division rival that has an offense more than capable… to take his foot off the gas pedal. Right.

    This Cardinals team has lacked focus and intensity all season. While perhaps Carpenter was a little misplaced or over the top… his intensity is a breath of fresh air. Carpe is the type of pitcher that doesn’t just want to beat you, he wants to bury you. Quite frankly the Cardinals could use a little more of that attitude this season.

    • http://redbirdrants.com Ryne Gery

      Taking Ryan down into the clubhouse a little bit didn’t hide anything. Their teammates knew what was going on and ESPN still caught it, so he did embarrass Ryan. Whether the TV cameras got it or not, the rest of the team was aware of the situation and knew Ryan was being called out. It doesn’t need to be volcanic to be disrespectful.

      And last night’s game was in hand the whole way. The Cardinals had complete control and that second run didn’t change anything. It wasn’t a 1-0 game, it was 7-2 in the seventh. The bullpen has been one of the best despite a few bad games. In a 162-game season, they’re going to blow a few. The nine-run ninth was an anomaly.

      • Keegs

        All games are normal until they become anomalies. Thats what the phrase “Play a Hard 9″ signifies, play hard until you get 27 outs because you never know what can happen.

        I get what your saying, but… this is professional sports. Part of that is being ready to play, Ryan wasn’t so Carp called him out. Sure it may have been disrespectful but Ryan was just as disrespectful in not being out on the field and not knowing where his glove was. In light of what we’ve seen others do in the dugout… this was nothing. Bottom line, Brendan Ryan and Chris Carpenter are paid lots of money to win ballgames, not cuddle and ask each other “are you ok?… are you sure?… would you like some apple juice?”

        • Jay

          I don’t get how you can consider Ryan as “disrespectful”. Sure this is a professional sports, but how the hell can you say just a simple mistake can be go as far as “disrespectful”? What Chris did seems he purposely generated attention just so he can make his selfish point clear like Ryan doesn’t know sh!t while embarassing him on National TV. That is disrespectful. Your saying sh!t happens what we’ve seen others do in the dugout, but those and this are different. Figgins / Wakamatsu, Longoria / BJ Upton, and Hanley / Gonzalez, all these stuff is just because of lack of “hustle” or “disagreement”. This was neither he was lack of hustle or disagreement, it was just a simple brain funk, and Chris started all of this.

  • chris

    I don’t know… I think what he did was fine. Maybe what he did after the 7th was a little much; but I don’t see anything wrong with what he did at the beginning of the game.

    Now, if he would have yelled at Ryan on the field or in the dugout where everyone could see…ya, that’d be a problem. But, he handled it professionally and took him (for the most part) out of everyone’s view to have a one on one talk. Would you have rather Carp just kept it bottled up inside and then have it blow up later? He thought Ryan did something wrong, so he acted like an adult and talked to him. He didn’t try to start a fight or anything; just talked to him.

    You can’t say you love the guy because of his competitiveness, and then complain when he’s competitive.

  • Joe

    Maybe Brandon Phillips was right about the Cards being whiny bitches.

    • Keegs

      Sucks to live the sad life of Brandon Phillips where you go 0-4 and lose 7-3 to a bunch of whiny bitches.

      • Keegs

        correction, 0-5

  • Keegs

    Chris, I couldn’t agree more.

    Carp is a beast because of his intensity.

    “Don’t worry Chris; it won’t hurt your Cy Young chances this year because you’re not even in the discussion. And after a mediocre career in Toronto and two missed seasons in St. Louis, your 130 wins aren’t taking you to Cooperstown.”

    I’m sure Cardinals fans would gladly trade in that 2006 World Championship if only we could get a few more Jason Simotachis. The Cardinals Championship hopes have hinged on the arm of Chris Carpenter for the better part of a decade. When he’s been healthy we’ve had our way with the Central. So you’re right Carpenter might not make Cooperstown, but I’m Damn appreciative of the Anchor of teams that have made summer such a joy the better part of the past decade. The Cards simply don’t win in 2004, 2005, 2006 or 2009 without him and there’s a damn good case that they do win in 2007 and 2008 if he was healthy. I’m going to go ahead and say Cooperstown or not, he will be dearly missed when he’s no longer wearing the Birds on the Bat.

  • TB

    Very well said. Carp was a complete jack ass and his antics were completely unecesary. Isnt winning good enough for your Mr. Carpenter? Isnt that what the game is all about? Not about your own damn stats. I seriously lost respect for the guy.

  • NJtoTX

    Just to be fair, the 2nd issue was not about Ryan not making the play, it was that Ryan should have been playing over in the first place. Carp is an induce-grounders pitcher, and the pitching has to work in concert with the positioning.

  • Keegs

    I’m not going to make the argument that Carpenter is even in the same class as Bob Gibson as a pitcher.

    But can anybody say that Gibby would not have done the same exact thing?

    Tim McCarver: “I remember one time going out to the mound to talk with Bob Gibson. He told me to get back behind the plate where I belonged, and that the only think I knew about pitching was that I couldn’t hit it.”

    When was the last time you heard somebody say how disrespectful that was?

    You want disrespectful… A couple years ago Chris Duncan goes on an adventure in the OF for a routine fly and Joel Pinero loses his cool and stares out there. THAT is disrespect, I’ve never seen Carpenter disrespect a teammate over a physical error. It’s one thing to misplay a ball and another entirely to be mentally absent as Ryan was by not being ready to play.

  • Frank Murtaugh

    As brittle as Carpenter has been over the course of his career, he should be grateful for every inning he gets on a big-league mound, to say nothing of the defensive support behind him. Over-intensity (particularly when directed at a teammate) is as deplorable as coasting. It’s counter-productive. And Carpenter doesn’t understand that.

    • Erich

      It would make sense to say that he should be grateful for every inning on the mound, but when you look at the intense pressure put on him to win ballgames, it’s more than that. The over-intensity isn’t arbitrary, it comes from that expectation. The real question is – after all this, is Brendan Ryan’s head going to be in the game more or less after all this?

  • Tom

    Typical fair weather fan complaining about something he doesnt understand.

    That fire is exactly what makes him great.

  • steve

    I think that another player4 on the Cards should have taken Ryan to task. This is a Race for the division… Ryan should have been ready to go.

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  • Birds and the Bees

    Yeah, you guys are right… A pitcher with a World Series,a Cy Young, a Cy Young Runner Up, two All-Star selections, two NL Comeback Player of the Year awards, a Tony Conigliaro Award, and a 13-3 record has no right what so ever to call out a young, underachieving middle infielder with a history of mental lapses.

    What a bum.

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  • Greg

    Ryan has a history of mental lapses which is what happened in the first inning and again in the seventh. LaRussa has spoken to Ryan about the lapses and I think we are seeing the next step being taken – his teammates are calling him on it. Carp could have been more discrete, but then it wouldn’t have had the same affect.

  • Mike

    Chris Carpenter beats women.

  • gem

    Great article. I was disgusted by carpenter. Lost all respect for him. Hopefully his manager or other teammates have given him a lecture on what team means. And really- he couldnt even collect himself enough to get out of the cameras eye on a nationally televised game?

    • Erich

      Really? Disgusted? Did you even see the video of the ‘lecture?’ Also, he *was* out of the camera’s eye. He went down into the clubhouse tunnel before he started with Ryan. Ryan was the only one on camera. And also, if you had *any* ‘respect’ for Carpenter (since you lost it all apparently), you should know that ‘his manager’ is Tony La Russa, and has been for the last 7 years. He’s kind of notable. Third most wins of any manager in MLB. I don’t think you even saw the clip. You read an article and decided it was soapbox time.

  • Jeff

    Screw carpenter. He is so full of himself. Ryan was doing nothing but trying to better himself taking extra B/P in the cage.Carpenter needs to appriciate what a great defensive player Ryan is.
    If you look at the tape of the altercation with the Reds.Look around the area where Carpenter was. It was more or less as calm as the rest of it. Then all of a sudden it gets crazy around him. No doubt he ran his mouth off.

    • http://redbirdrants.com Ryne Gery

      Yeah, Carpenter was definitely the instigator in escalating the situation. It may have just been a big mess on the field without any physical altercations if he hadn’t started things up with Dusty Baker. Rolen looked like a madman going after him and shoving everyone into the backstop. It would have been interesting to see those two go at it if so many players wouldn’t have been in between.

      • Erich

        Rolen was definitely *not* going after him. They were teammates for years. Those two would never ‘go at it.’ If you watch the clip (and the post-game) you’ll see that Rolen was a peacemaker with Yadi and Carp caught in the middle of it. He even says afterward that he wouldn’t say who was right or wrong. If you thought your team was in the right, you’d say so, and so would Scott Rolen.

        • http://redbirdrants.com Ryne Gery

          Rolen was pushing pretty hard and yelling something. He was a peacemaker with Molina but he was definitely going after Carp. I don’t care if they were teammates, in that moment Rolen wasn’t making peace. He was ready to fight and decided to stay quiet after the game and just smiled when someone called him a peacemaker. ESPN decided to give him that role, but if you were paying attention, he started the big mess at the backstop when Carpenter ran his mouth.

    • Erich

      aah, at this point it’s speculation but I just have to disagree there. He stays with Carp and there’s a tight shot of them both after McGwire gets picked up out of the scrum. Dave McKay is there, too. It doesn’t look like Rolen is ready to fight there. I think he’s too wise a veteran to get involved like that. Anyway, this is about Carpenter being ‘out of line’ talking to Ryan, not whether he ran his mouth in a baseball ‘brawl.’ I don’t think he was, and I’m done. Let’s beat some Cubs tail this weekend.

  • chris

    what people need to realize is Chris has had a very competetive nature since he started way back in little league he gives 100 pecent everytime out and he expects the same from his team these people are prof athletes and for Ryan to show up on the field late with the wrong glove shows a lack of unprofessionalism i think carp had every right in the world to call him out Chris may be a little over the top at times but he needs to keep his intesity thats the only way to keep and achieve success is passion without a degree of passion for the game you can never truly maintain your drive so lay off carp its for the good of the game

  • Mark

    I disagree…Carp did the right thing. Ryan seems too lax in this playoff run.

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