His last time on the pitcher’s mound during a game was 47 Fridays ago, last Oct. 28. It was Game 7 of the World Series. He was pitching on three days’ rest, thanks to a divinely timed rain-out, and of course was a key player in completing the 2011 Cardinals World Championship fairy tale that night.
And now, just two months and two days after surgery that removed a rib, Chris Carpenter will be out there at Wrigley Field to make his 2012 season debut.
To say excitement is running high from everyone might be an understatement.
I will be leaving very soon for the three-hour drive to Chicago. And here’s why I’m going: because who knew if this day would ever be here, really? I had my doubts earlier this season … and, which is obviously not a surprise, I am one of the biggest Chris Carpenter fans around and have been since 2004.
He gives new meaning to the words “drive” and “determination.” (What have you accomplished since July 19, in comparison? He makes me feel insignificant, for sure.) And just the fact he’s worked so hard, pushed himself to overcome “season-ending” surgery that he obviously knew going in wasn’t going to be the case if he could help it, that he’s getting back out there to help the Cardinals as they make a push to play in October since he’s a team leader — that’s why I’m driving to Chicago.
As for how he’ll do today, it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t have expectations on how he’ll do — how can anyone, either positively or negatively, really? And that’s not what it’s about.
It’s about a leader showing, through his own actions, how much being a part of a team means to him and wanting to do his part. And his part is getting back on the pitcher’s mound to throw a pitch in a live game for the first time in 47 Fridays.
To close, some words perhaps you saw on Fox Sports Midwest. (Pretend you’re hearing the music too.)
“I want to pitch again.”
“I’ll do whatever it takes to get out there again.”
“I don’t take a day off.”
“I’m not scared. There’s nothing left to be scared about.”
“I’m looking forward to getting back out there and competing.”
Congratulations, CC, on completing this tremendously long journey back.
And, just because, everyone’s favorite magazine cover.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.
As far as the actual game: