August 10, 2010
But he must be talking about the Cards' treatment of opponents, because starting pitcher Chris Carpenter(notes) violated both of La Russa's victory no-nos while interacting with teammate Brendan Ryan(notes) during Monday's 7-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
After the first inning, Carpenter led his shortstop near the dugout entrance and gave him a talking-to that should earn the veteran pitcher the nickname of "The Principal."
Ryan's mistake was not reporting to the field on time — he had been in the dugout cage hitting when St. Louis made three quick outs — and Carpenter's start was further delayed because Ryan then grabbed the wrong glove on his way to his position.
OK, so the famously intense Carpenter had reason to be annoyed and I don't blame him for shooting the death-dagger stare toward Ryan while the whole shuffle was going on. Get out to your position and get ready to go, guy.
But considering that Carpenter got out of the first inning just fine, allowing only one single, he should have just left it at that.
Unless he wanted to point out how good Ryan's necklace looks out on the field — and let's hope that's what he was doing — there was no reason to signal his shortstop and have him slink the length of a dugout like a kid who had just flushed a cherry bomb down a locker-room toilet. (By the way, I'm not the only one who feels this way. Check out Redbird Rants Tuesday.)
Unfortunately, Carpenter didn't stop there. With St. Louis leading 7-1 in the seventh inning, Ryan couldn't get to Juan Francisco's RBI single and Carp again showed his disgust.
We don't know what Ryan thought of being dressed down by a teammate seven years his senior because he left the clubhouse without talking to reporters. But to his credit, Carpenter acknowledged that he may have made a leadership mistake with the lecture.
"It was just a little miscommunication on my part or misunderstanding on my part," Carpenter said, via MLB.com. "We're fine. Everything is good. We're good."
With the Cardinals just one game behind the Reds in the NL Central standings, it's important that every Redbird stay on the same page with the same goal.
Perhaps that's what Carpenter was thinking in talking to Ryan about his tardiness, but he also risked knocking Ryan a few chapters back with his reaction. Intensity or not, both of Ryan's transgressions should have been small enough to slip by.