Carpenter: An expert pain
NEW YORK — Not sure how I missed it.
But sometime in the last year, there was a baseball-related Maury Povich Show. Remember, it was the one where a DNA test confirmed that Abner Doubleday is the father of Chris Carpenter.
How else to explain Carpenter's vast knowledge of the game. He's not only the smartest player ever, but I am pretty sure you have to know a secret handshake just to say hello to him.
Let's get this straight: Carpenter is a brilliant pitcher. He could have won the Cy Young Award last season. Probably would have, had teammate Adam Wainwright not split the vote. Carpenter, at 13-4 with a 2.95 ERA, could just as easily win this year, though Wainwright is the current favorite. His intensity ranks somewhere between the Ravens' Ray Lewis and the CIA's Jason Bourne.
That is admirable. Who wouldn't want a teammate that takes his craft that seriously? The problem isn't the ERA, it's the IQ.
He knows everything about everything. Dare I say it — he's become the next Curt Schilling.
Last September, he accused the Rockies of having a different slope on the visitor's bullpen mound, creating an issue when the pitcher entered the game. The Rockies measured it the next day with the umpires watching, and that still didn't satisfy Carpenter and the Cardinals. As if Rockies groundskeeper Mark Razum threw on a miner's hat and broke out the shovel and the laser level the night before.
Then, Carpenter went nuts at Houston's Carlos Lee this season. Not because Lee hit a home run. That would be logical. No, he got hot with Lee because the Astros' slugger had the audacity to scream in disgust when he popped up. Carpenter was insulted that Lee reacted in anger. He barked at Lee. Lee stared back incredulously. This is quite possibly the lamest incident of the season — telling a hitter how to act when he makes an out. Not when he gets a hit. When he gets an out.
Which brings us to last week. The Cardinals make a big deal about never showing opponents up. Apparently that doesn't apply to teammates. Carpenter lectured shortstop Brendan Ryan for showing up late on the field and with the wrong glove. He provided a lecture in the dugout that was more fitting for a police officer than a pitcher. With a six-run lead, Carpenter then glared a hole through Ryan when a single slipped through into left field as the shortstop was shaded up the middle.
Carpenter called it a misunderstanding. Labeling it inappropriate would have been more accurate. Then, he finished by weighing in on basebrawl etiquette. You know the back story by now. The Reds' Brandon Phillips popped off, calling the Cardinals "little (bleeps)." He tried to make nice, by tapping catcher Yadier Molina's shin guard in his first at-bat the next day. Molina, not surprisingly, called Phillips out, making it clear that they weren't friends and everything wasn't cool. A fight ensued.
During the melee, as tempers began to cool, Carpenter screamed at Reds manager Dusty Baker. Former Cardinal Scott Rolen pushed Carpenter toward the fence to defuse the situation. As the moshpit moved that way, Johnny Cueto was pinned. He began kicking, striking catcher Jason LaRue on the head. Was it cowardly or self defense? He didn't have to kick, but he had the right to save himself from broken ribs.
He was suspended for seven games. Probably should have been 10. Carpenter — who else? — weighed in afterward, explaining that Cueto was never told how to fight correctly. Thank you, Dana White. Appreciate it. Can you get me a sparring match with Brock Lesnar?
It just never ends with Carpenter. I am rooting for him to make next year's All-Star Game so he can explain the immigration law and its psychoanalytic impact on the minds of future generations.
Chris, if it's all the same to you, could you just pitch and button your lip? Thanks in advance.