COMMENTARY | For the first time since 2004, the St. Louis Cardinals will enter the season without Chris Carpenter in the dugout. The absence of that competitive nature and fiery demeanor could lead to completely different clubhouse chemistry.
Carpenter was known for his expletive-laden outbursts, his upholding of the unwritten rules of baseball, his intense conversations with teammates when he felt they were not as focused as necessary, and a competitive nature that was seldom rivaled. It was his leadership, both on the field and behind closed doors, that will provide the most change for the team, however.
The intensity of the Cardinals' clubhouse has been off the charts at times and much of that intensity flowed from the ace pitcher and veteran leader of the team. That leadership now falls to Yadier Molina, who may very well share in that same level of intensity, and a much more subdued and calm Adam Wainwright. Both of these players will have an impact on the pitching staff that will clearly define the tone of the team in the immediate future.
In the case of Wainwright, it is safe to say that the tone will be much more laid back with a focus on a calm approach to a game that flows better for him with the absence of emotion. The new ace of this team has shown an overly relaxed attitude in the dugout, being caught on camera performing complex handshakes and touchdown-worthy dance routines to help loosen up the team prior to a high-pressure game. Outbursts from the potential lifetime Cardinal have been almost nonexistent, and there have been very few accounts of him pulling a teammate aside for a fatherly lecture. It is fair to say that Wainwright is a calm and collected individual who gets his point across in a much more relaxed way.
Molina may have one of the best minds in baseball when it comes to scouting, preparation, and being a student of the game. He has spent countless hours with the pitching staff studying tapes, going over scouting reports, and ensuring that his team is mentally prepared long before stepping onto the field. His demeanor is quiet and calm and you get the impression that when Yadi speaks, no matter how loud or soft that is, the team listens.
The fiery nature of Chris Carpenter and the corresponding effect it has on the ballclub may forever be gone. The screaming outbursts and vein-popping intensity are most likely as absent as the 6-foot-6-inch right-handed pitcher will be.
Should the Cardinals fail to perform up to expectations, do not be surprised if many people are left pondering just where the fire has gone.
- Sports & Recreation
- Chris Carpenter
- Adam Wainwright
- Yadier Molina