It's not every day a pitcher like Chris Carpenter comes along.
Sure, he's got good numbers and has had a lot of success with the St. Louis Cardinals, but that's not what I'm talking about.
Carpenter has always been an intense individual who plays with an intense bulldog mentality.
When you talk about pitchers who have that X-factor that helps them come through in the big moments, you're talking about Chris Carpenter. He's able to "will" a win or a strikeout when it's the last option.
In Monday's press conference, Carp showed that same tenacity regarding his newly-discovered injury.
He refuses to accept the possibility of retirement. That's what it takes to be a winner.
Will he win this battle? The jury's still out. If ever there was a man who can, it's Chris Carpenter.
This is the man who in the first inning of the 2011 World Series slid head first into first base for an out as the whole world cringed.
This is same man who two weeks earlier dug in for a 1-0 clinching victory to the NLCS. I'll never forget that victory scream as he stepped off the mound at the end of one of the best pitching duels of my lifetime.
This is same man who beat the odds and returned to baseball two and a half months after having a rib removed, when spring training was no guarantee.
That attitude and fighter mode of thinking doesn't just benefit Carpenter, it benefits the entire pitching staff. They see that and want to be that kind of pitcher.
That's a powerful work ethic to instill in the minds of the young pitchers within the organization.
Carpenter hasn't accepted "no" and neither should they. There's always a chance to pull out another win.
While that is the side of him we always think about, it should be remembered that Carpenter has another side as well.
He showed that side as well when he bared a bit of his soul Monday.
When he spoke of the tears and the emotional pain this experience has caused both him and his family, he showed that he's human.
Carpenter's never been one to skirt around something like that.
When he spoke of not accepting Wainwright's telephone calls, that spoke volumes. He didn't refuse that call because he didn't want to talk. He did it because he feels he let them down.
Much like with his family, Carpenter feels a responsibility to be there for the team that has been there for him over the years and the guys that he spends six months of the years traveling the country with.
They're family, too.
He's not just a baseball player. Right now he's a man, and he's hurting because he's not certain. He doesn't know if he can will himself through this one.
He misses the game he loves and he wants to be back out there. If he can't be out there, he wants it out of his mind. He's not avoiding his teammates—he's trying to cope with a bad situation in the best way he knows how.
While the odds might not be in his favor, if I was ever going to bet on someone being able to beat those odds, it would be on Chris Carpenter.
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