BY Devin Ream
It was 2012, and I had just finished watching another very skilful game pitched by Chris Carpenter. In my mind, Chris Carpenter was an idol on the mound, he was beyond the game and yet in the media I had never heard anything about him, except he had exceptional outings.
Finally after so many games, and so many playoff appearances, Joe Posnanski wrote about the pitcher I felt dominated the game. The article is called “The Big-Game Pitcher” and I felt like it spoke the gospel of what I had witnessed every time Carpenter came to the mound.
Posnanski wrote about Carpenter “In July of this year, Carpenter had a rib removed from his body. I’ll repeat that: He had a rib taken out. When you have a rib removed, that pretty much takes you out for the season. Adam himself didn’t pitch again that year. The Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny knew he was done, except for one thing … ‘Don’t give up on me,’ Carpenter told Matheny. ‘Don’t you dare give up on me.'”
The biblical note is definitely a nice touch, and it shows the almost superhuman feat that this one pitcher made to get to this game.
So not only does Carpenter get to the game and is still known as one of the most dominant pitchers in the game, but Posnanski paints the portrait of the scene eloquently with this sentence “So it was Carp on the mound when Mike Morse, the Beast, stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and seemingly everyone in Washington, all at once, thinking: Hey, this might be our time right here.”
Posnanski then goes for the throat by telling you swiftly that the Washington fans were wrong. “It was only the fifth inning, but this was the moment, you really couldn’t miss it, in the movies it would have played out in 20 minutes of slow motion with dazzling music in the background.” “In real life, though, it was just three pitches,” and Posnanski goes on to explain the pitch sequence that makes Morse sit on the bench and re-think his career.
To close the entire article Posnanski runs through a mental thought every fan goes through when thinking of a game. Predictions and foresight.
“Now what is the story behind the story? Well, you can write a dozen of them. It was Carpenter, the big-game pitcher, miraculously coming back from serious surgery, refusing to give in and imposing his will on Mike Morse. Or it was the Nationals, dwarfed by the intensity and history of the moment failing to come up with the big hit. Or it was the shadows that stretched between home plate and the mound that made hitting difficult (well, for the Nationals). Or it was fate, since it seems like fate became part-owner of the St. Louis Cardinals sometime in August of last year. “
This article not only reaffirmed exactly what I had thought of Chris Carpenter and that game, but it showed me a new perspective in that game, which was the obvious. It seems that Posnanski wrote this as a fan of Carpenter’s work and that is why this article hits the reader so well and makes you follow Posnanski even more. Last I saw Posnanski writes for NBC Sports, and I read his articles still and it started with this article over a pitcher that I knew the talent of, but brought to me in a way that made me see the game for what it was. A big-game pitcher, dominating his craft, and showing all sports writers what to write the next day, but only Posnanski picked it up because he was a true fan of Carpenter’s work.