At this afternoon’s press conference, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak formally announced what we had all expected for a while, but was still sad to hear – the retirement of Chris Carpenter. When I read the announcement of the press conference on Twitter today, I had the sinking feeling that it would be about Chris. Chris was the ace of the Cardinals pitching staff. But he had only pitched 3 games in the last 2 years because of neck and shoulder injuries. Clearly, the time had come for Chris to retire, but it was still a sad occasion.
Chris had a stellar 10 year career with the Cardinals. In every year he was able to pitch, he won 11 games. He won the Cy Young in 2005 and finished third in the vote the following year. He appeared in 3 All Star Games. He helped the Cardinals win 2 World Series championships. He also won the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year. His final record was 144-94, with a 3.92 ERA. In 18 postseason starts, Chris was 10-4 with a 3.00 ERA. It was those playoff games he pitched that I’ll remember the most. Who will ever forget Game 5 of the 2011 NLCS, the great pitching duel between Carp and good friend Doc Halliday? That was a game for the ages. And pitching Game 7 of the 2011 World Series on short rest and actually winning was simply incredible.
Not only was Chris a great pitching talent, but he had a dynamic personality as well. Chris was full of piss and vinegar, and his language was often salty too. When he wasn’t pitching, he wasn’t sitting on the bench relaxing, but he would stand at the rail and watch the game, cheering on Cardinals players at bat and in the field. Chris was a great competitor. His playing style was more like that of a hockey player – tough and in your face. During the last couple of seasons, Chris was mentoring Adam Wainwright and the rookie pitchers brought up from the minor leagues. His tutoring and presence helped the rookie pitchers get acclimated to the major leagues.
During the press conference, Mo said the team would have discussions with Chris in early 2014 about a new role for him with the team. I believe that Carp would make an excellent assistant pitching coach. He was doing that in an informal capacity the last two seasons anyway. Chris could teach his style of pitching and his passion for the game to a new generation of pitchers, and then we wouldn’t have to miss him so bad if we could still see him in the dugout or the bullpen, encouraging and teaching other players.
Okay, I have to stop typing about Chris now and go on to other news or I’m going to cry. In other news, Mike Matheny’s contract was extended for 3 years, which was also announced at the press conference today. He will be the Cardinals manager until 2017. The contract extension was a nice vote of confidence by Cardinals management in Matheny’s abilities as a manager.
One more thing before I close – Friday is the last day you can vote on the 2014 Cardinals Blogger Awards. Here is the link to my last blog post, which has the ballot embedded in the post – http://womenwholovecardinalsbaseball.mlblogs.com/2013/11/08/its-2013-cardinals-blogger-awards-time/.
Thanks for reading! See you next time!