The Cardinals’ War Hero Returns

Posted: September 18, 2012 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB
Tags: , ,

Chris Carpenter is coming back. Now granted, that’s not a new story; it’s been played over and over again since March in a variety of both minor and extreme circumstances. But now there’s finally not a date for a bullpen session or a simulated game or, thankfully, a surgery, there’s a date for a real start in Major League Baseball action. And there’s nothing this collection of St. Louis Cardinals could use more, because no matter how infrequently he may have played over the years, the quality is greater than the quantity, and the representation is everything. The Cardinals’ greatest warrior has returned.

This year’s team has been one that has alternated between establishing a new identity and searching for a lost one. From a focus on what’s gone turning into what’s wrong, there’s never been the one stake in the ground that said forget everything else, this is who “WE” are. Mostly because the only man that was capable of doing that could only enforce hope instead of his will.

On Friday afternoon, Carpenter will go from a beacon of hope into a truly guiding light. What’s to come on the field is an unknown. The 37-year-old has proved he’s got the chops to be game ready, but as was the case with Adam Wainwright early in his return, showing, and then proving, can be very different worlds. He’ll have to deal with having a mind that’s sharper than his stuff. He’ll also have to deal with a competitiveness that could overcome his approach. Making his return in nowhere less than Wrigley Field is assuredly a way to make sure he returns to an environment that matches how he feels inside.

It’s taken awhile, through the rigors of a season that was under an even closer microscope than usual. Carpenter’s return signals a resolve that the team has sorely lacked. Everything he’s gone through just to turn in whatever the outcome of his effort is on Friday is the statement of the year from the team, at just the right time. Friday and Saturday will mark the first time that Carpenter and Wainwright have pitched on back-to-back days in nearly two calendar years. What that symbolizes, the all hands on deck nature of that happening

Who knows what’s going to happen. It could be the push over the top, the momentum that gets another unstoppable boulder moving into the playoffs, just as easily as it could be the last punch thrown by a group of fighters that have lost their last leg. However, with Carp back one thing is certain: it will be a fight that goes the distance. No matter how pretty or ugly it is, this will be a team that is remembered for at least pushing it to the limit. That’s a spirit of competitiveness that can’t be lit by anybody who wears the Birds on Bat except for old number 29.

For more on Carpenter on the field and the Cardinals fight to the finish, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.

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