I’ve been watching this World Series with my hands over my eyes much of the time. I don’t think I was ever this nervous in 2006. Maybe I was and my advanced age has made me forget. Whatever. Tonight the Cardinals go into Game 5 with the series tied 2-2 and ace Chris Carpenter on the mound. Now with the exception of Wainwright, who unfortunately is unable to pitch, there is no Cardinal pitcher that gives me more confidence than Chris Carpenter. The man is a stud on the pitcher’s mound (and he may be elsewhere but that is not for me to know or talk about even in a veiled, tongue in cheek manner on a baseball blog). Ahem. Now, the Cardinals need a victory tonight, and Chris Carpenter can give it to them if the offense cooperates. You heard that offense, cooperate! Watching Carpenter pitch is like what I would imagine it would feel watching one of the Masters paint. When he is on and giving it that Carp 120%, I am a BAMF scowl, I get a thrill I haven’t had since, well, almost never. Except for that one time……..never mind.
Carpenter has thrown a lot of pitches and a lot of innings in 2011. He is 36 years old. Yet, I never seem to worry about him running out of gas, because he always seems kind of otherworldly to me. Maybe it is because he has such a warrior attitude, like he would never give up no matter what happened. I am reminded sometimes of that scene in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, where the knight has all of his limbs whacked off and his torso is on the ground hopping around screaming at his enemies to come get him. I can imagine Carp having his arm fall off in the middle of the game and he would still be out there screaming at hitters and trying to pitch with his other arm. How can you not admire a guy like that? Unless you are a Reds or Brewers fan, but it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to go there either because that could really get ugly. And Emily Greinke wouldn’t approve. Okay, you know that was sarcasm because who in Cardinal Nation would give two groats and a pig’s snout about what Emily Greinke thought. Renaissance Festival humor, people.
I respect and admire every player on the Cardinals, each in their own way. But my respect for Carpenter is rooted in knowing that he is going to go out there and give the best performance he is physically and mentally capable of giving or die trying. He may say things you don’t approve of and maybe not at the most opportune times, but you can NEVER fault him for not trying hard enough. And when he finally retires, I hope he becomes a coach for the Cardinals because that never say die attitude is one I want imparted to every young pitcher who comes up the Cardinals’ pipeline. The language is optional.
Tonight I am going to watch the game, and win or lose I will be proud of my Cardinals. I will not be disappointed in Chris Carpenter either, no matter the outcome, because Chris Carpenter is a Stud. And don’t argue with me or I will %^%*&*& right back at you.
For all those who are Chris Carpenter fans, I want to give a shout out to my new Twitter friend, Kevin Gray, @Graymatter11, and his blog Kevin is a New Hampshire native who blogs about the New Hampshire sports scene and about Chris Carpenter in particular. I urge you to check him out.