Note: It’s obvious I haven’t been posting often this year, and I don’t plan to write much here in the future either. But it’s been a great ride. My plan over the next several weeks is to share some of my favorite or most popular AMF posts. The first two, however, are new ones to the site — articles I wrote for the United Cardinal Bloggers postseason publications in 2012 and 2013 and both, unsurprisingly, on Chris Carpenter. First up, from “An Unexpected Journey,” which is still available to purchase.
Adding To The Legend of Chris Carpenter
As you flip through “The Legend of Chris Carpenter,” you’ll notice the elements that make any story a compelling read. Sure, there are chapters on his high school days excelling at both hockey and baseball in New Hampshire, as well as the start of his professional baseball career in 1994 and the six seasons as a Toronto Blue Jay. But those chapters basically serve as a prologue.
Those chapters provide quite the page-turner: good times and one-hitters and a Cy Young Award (and a coulda-been-second one) plus of course two World Series championships, combined with bad days and shoulder problems and elbow issues, Tommy John surgery and seasons (plural) lost to injury. Plus a role in that brawl in Cincinnati.
Then there’s the 2011 chapter, an up-and-down-and-ultimately triumphant tale all its own that includes Carpenter’s role as one of the leaders who spoke at the famous team meeting on Aug. 25 that started the Cardinals charge to the wild card, his two-hit shutout in Game 162, winning the showdown for the ages against his BFF Roy Halladay in Game Five of the National League Division Series, starting three games in the World Series including Game Seven on three days’ rest thanks to a fortuitously timed rain-out that moved Game Six back a day …
After all that, did this legendary tale really need more dramatics?
Yes, said the baseball gods. Yes, it did.
And thus we arrive at Chris Carpenter’s 2012 season.
It began in February at spring training and without drama. Given the career-high 273 1/3 regular and post-season innings he pitched in 2011, plans were for him to have a modified workload in Jupiter, Fla. He was even mentioned by manager Mike Matheny as the likely Opening Day starter.