Jake Westbrook Shocked to Return to Team Full of Children

This week, Jake Westbrook rejoined the St. Louis Cardinals in New York and was stunned to discover that the pitching staff was now full of what the veteran righthander called “small children”.

“I don’t know what to think anymore,” Westbrook told reporters.  “When I left the team, it was a seasoned squad of hard-nosed ballplayers.  These were guys who had been places, seen things, and had a history of taking the ball every five days and giving 110%.  But when I got back, everything was upside down. I told them it looked like the set of Captain Kangaroo. They didn’t even know who that was. They thought I was talking about the Jerry O’Connell/Anthony Anderson buddy film. Why the hell would I ever talk about that?”

The experienced sinkerballer, who had been on a rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues, spent the afternoon trying to understand his new teammates. “They are all listening to this thing called ‘dub step’,” he said. “I don’t think you can even call this music.  It sounds like a VHS tape being rewound.”

Rookie Keith Butler overheard this comment and spent the afternoon trying to find an active torrent for A VHS Tape Being Rewound, which he believed to be the name of a band.

Westbrook almost missed out on his first day with the team.  Upon arriving at Shea Stadium, he turned around and headed back to the airport, believing that he had accidentally stumbled onto a little league field. He only realized his mistake when he saw the area surrounding Shea, and came to the conclusion that no sane person would build a little league field there.

“Do these kids’ parents know that they are here?” Westbrook wondered aloud as he drove around Queens. “This can’t be right.” He then returned to Shea and reportedly forced reliever Seth Maness to call his mother to pick him up at the stadium.

Maness reluctantly discussed the encounter with reporters. “My mom isn’t even in the state,” he said. “So the whole thing was really awkward. Jake kept yelling about why I was allowed to travel alone. He was talking about going to visit social services to report my family. Then he offered me candy and scolded me when I took it.”

Even after coming to grips with the fact that he was at the right stadium, and that the children around him were now Major League baseball players, Westbrook wasn’t comfortable. “These kids just aren’t ready,” he stated. “Have you tried to talk to the youngest? I don’t even think he’s speaking in full sentences yet.”

When reached for comment, Michael Wacha was reluctant to respond to Westbrook’s allegations. “wtf,” he said. “idk.”

One rookie, Tyler Lyons, hasn’t taken the veteran’s return well. “He kept saying that I’m not old enough to date girls,” the lefthander said. “I thought it was a joke.  You know, harmless hazing. But I brought my girlfriend to a bar after the game and Jake just attacked her.  Straight up tackled her and called the police. Accused her of being a pedophile right there in front of everyone.”

“I’ve seen every episode of ‘To Catch a Predator’,” Westbrook explained. “I know how to handle those perverts. Now, I’m sure that a smooth operator like Chris Hansen would have kept things a bit quieter. But what was I supposed to do? That sicko brought a little boy into a bar. I know what she was planning on doing to him by the end of the night.”

Lyons reportedly was also aware of what his date was planning on doing to him and will never forgive Westbrook for his actions.

As of time of publication, Jake Westbrook was considering whether to take his concerns about all the kids on the pitching staff to Cards GM John Mozeliak. He is not sure the GM will be able to adequately address the issue, as he believes that Mozeliak is actually two small boys dressed in a trench coat and scarf impersonating an adult man.

Carpenter Syndrome

The St. Louis Cardinals are world champions.  Even a couple hours after the fact, it still doesn’t feel real.  This team has been on the brink of elimination for two months.  They fought tooth and nail to keep their season alive since the end of August.  I almost feel like the only thing to do is write yet another recitation of their struggles, their comebacks and improbably successes.  But that’s fairly well covered.  I’ve already seen several other bloggers handle this better than I could, and I already tried when they slipped into the postseason four weeks ago.

Instead, I want to talk about a specific player.  I’m not sure I’ve ever spent much time on this blog discussing Chris Carpenter and that’s a damn shame.  David Freese might be getting all the headlines.  He was rightfully the NLCS and WS MVP.  His incredible and improbable postseason cannot be ignored.  But Chris Carpenter is the reason the St. Louis Cardinals are World Champs.

Before tonight, the Cardinals had already faced three must-win games.  Game 162 of the regular season.  Game 5 of the NLDS.  Game 6 of the World Series.  Chris Carpenter threw complete game shutouts in two of these games.  That’s why no sane Cardinal fan questioned who would pitch Game 7 of the World Series.  Carpenter wasn’t sharp on three days rest before, but that didn’t matter.  You don’t fall behind in Game 7 with Chris Carpenter sitting in the bullpen.

I’ll admit, there were several times I thought Carpenter should have been pulled.  I wanted Lohse to warm up in the first inning after the Rangers jumped on Carpenter’s flagging fastball and hanging curves.  I thought he should have been pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth inning when the Cardinals had two runners in scoring position.  I wasn’t sure he should have started the top of the sixth.  I certainly threw a fit when he batted for himself to lead off the bottom of the sixth.  He looked gassed the entire game.  He looked sore and broken; I was just waiting for the Rangers potent lineup to get to him.

They didn’t.

After the NLCS, we learned that Carpenter was beginning to feel elbow soreness and there were questions about his availability for game 1 of the World Series.  Carpenter denied that anything was wrong.  But anyone who pays close attention knew the truth.  Chris Carpenter is 36 years old.  He’s had so many arm surgeries that the next one is free.  He threw for more innings than anyone in the National League.  The speed and movement on his pitches were down from his shutout against Philadelphia.  He was laboring.

Even then, he started game 1.  He started game 5.  And thanks to a postponement, he started game 7.  He pitched nineteen innings in ten days.  It didn’t matter that his arm was hurting.  It didn’t matter that he was aging or that his arm was held together with various ligaments from various other parts of his body.  He kept going.  He kept pitching.

I would not be surprised to find out that Chris Carpenter was playing through a serious injury. But this isn’t supposed to be a pessimistic post.  Right now is no time to worry about what might be revealed by some MRI in the future.  That’s not the point of this.  The point is that we should all appreciate what Chris Carpenter did.

At age 36
After shoulder surgery,  Tommy John surgery, and a tear in his oblique
After throwing the most innings in the NL
After throwing the most innings in his career
After starting two games in the World Series already
On three days rest
With a sore arm
With sketchy command and a weak curveball…

Chris Carpenter held the potent Texas Rangers to two runs in six innings and won game seven of the World Series.

This should not be forgotten, no matter how compelling David Freese’s RBIs and Albert Pujols’s impending free agency might be.