Continuing The Countdown: 8 Days

We’re getting closer and closer … it’s now 8 days until the Cardinals take on the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Opening Night. (Interested in the construction at Wrigley? Here’s an update¬†from Thursday with photos — and remember that the bleachers aren’t going to be done until May or June anyway.)

Eight days. And No. 8 has certainly been well used by the Cardinals in recent years. So, rather than repeating my overdose of silliness regarding the current No. 8 like I did last year at this time, here’s a look at the most recent No. 8s.

Peter Bourjos, 2014-2015

Peter Bourjos, 2014 and presumably 2015

8-2

Ryan Jackson, 2012-2013

Nick Punto, 2011

Nick Punto, 2011 (forever remembered, forever missed for those very contributions, forever the subject of one of the most popular AMF headlines … and it is definitely enjoyable to look back at that post from Sept. 10, 2011, to read the perspective as the “September to remember” was unfolding) Continue reading

Cardinals Throwback Thursday: Chris Carpenter Edition

What was expected was made official yesterday afternoon, with the announcement of Chris Carpenter’s retirement. Even though we haven’t seen him pitch on a big league mound since October 2012 and attempt to pitch anywhere since July when he was in Memphis, it’s still a sad day.

CC-2But we all knew it was coming — probably no one as much as Chris himself.

That’s why it was great to see him with the team this season after his own comeback attempt ended in late July. He was there, on the road and at home, with his watchful gaze focused on his young teammates — here he is in Pittsburgh on Sept. 1, watching Joe Kelly — offering advice and encouragement and likely preparing for a coaching future. And what a crop of kids he had the chance to view up close and mentor this season.

Yet it certainly looked like he was just enjoying being part of a team one last time as a player too.

CC 9-1There were tweets from Derrick Goold and others about him taking grounders in the infield during batting practice. In Pittsburgh on Sept. 1, he was very much interested in just where the hot dogs the Parrot was shooting into the crowd ended up — as you can see here. (Yes, he really was that serious about watching flying hot dogs.) But even that was cool to see. Taking in the experiences, enjoying the moments especially since the Cards didn’t know then it wouldn’t be their last trip to PNC Park for the year. (And, yes, I did watch the game that day … but also obviously spent time watching Chris. How could I not? He was right there.)

Chris Carpenter is no doubt the player we’ve written most about here at AMF, and I already said much in a tribute to him following his ceremonial first pitch before Game Two of the NLDS against the Pirates in October in “On Chris Carpenter, Baseball Moments and Storybook Endings.”

So here’s a look back at some of his Cardinals highlights via pictures (yes, some you’ve seen before … perhaps many times!)

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Action, Drama And The Right Ending In Game Four Blockbuster

Game Four of the NLCS was like an epic action movie — dramatic moments, heroes both predictable and less so who face rough times, villains also predictable and less so, enough tension to keep you interested up until the very end. And, thankfully, the right ending with the heroes emerging triumphant: Cardinals 4, Dodgers 2.

collage 10-15Yes, the win gives the Cardinals a 3-1 advantage in the NLCS. But all Cardinals fans¬†should know well enough nothing is guaranteed yet — didn’t we see a certain movie last year where the “heroes” ultimately wore black and orange, not red as good guys always should? So this epic tale is not finished quite yet …

But the latest installment was ultimately quite fulfilling.

And, as with any good story, it’s outcome was not predictable at the beginning.

To start with, not everyone was happy with director Mike Matheny’s choice for last night’s lead role, Lance Lynn. And those who voiced such displeasure before the game felt like they were the correct ones when Lynn ran into trouble in the second inning — a quick check of Twitter at the time more than made that perfectly clear. Then again a one-out single, walk, line out and another walk to load the bases, albeit to the catcher with pitcher Ricky Nolasco up next, can cause such reactions. But perhaps Lynn just wanted to keep everyone watching involved in the game, as Nolasco was called out on strikes.

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