(Video) Cardinals Pitcher Chris Carpenter Skates With The St. Louis Blues
World Series champion Chris Carpenter took some time off from celebrating to lace up the skates and take part in a St. Louis Blues’ practice on Thursday. And the best part was he performed quite admirably.
But for those who know a thing or two about the Cardinals pitcher wouldn’t be surprised: he was an all-state defenseman for his Rhode Island high school but the 36-year-old gave up hockey when he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 MLB Draft.
In a way, it was an NHL hockey fantasy camp of sorts for the 6’6″ Carpenter: he had his own locker, jersey and a No. 29 decal — his number with the Cardinals — for his helmet. The pitcher was blown away by the entire experience (via St. Louis Post-Dispatch):
“It was awesome,” said Carpenter, who skated while recently retired Cardinals manager Tony La Russa watched from the bleachers. “For these guys to give up some of their time to allow me to come in here … I just wanted to get out of everybody’s way, just watch really, and then they invited me to come out here and skate a little bit. I was just hoping not to embarrass myself.”
And as you can see for yourself, not too shabby. Not too shabby at all. Some of the Blues players were equally impressed with his skills and ability (additional video here):
“He’s played before and it shows,” Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “We were joking about it that maybe we could use him on the (NHL’s 30th-ranked) power play.”
“Not bad for a guy who hasn’t played in a while,” Blues defenseman Barret Jackman said. “He’s 36, 37 and hasn’t played since he was 18. He’s got the size and he’s got a pretty good shot, so he might have been one of those power-play (defensemen) … you never know.”
Despite the compliments, Carpenter is happy with the path his life took, but remains grateful for the valuable lessons learned from playing hockey in his younger years:
“It was always a dream to (play professional hockey), but … I chose the right route,” Carpenter said. “Hockey made you much tougher, I know that. Growing up playing hockey made me much tougher than baseball would have.”
True enough. Now only if they would have managed to get Tony La Russa — who will drop the ceremonial puck Friday when the Blues honor the world champions with Cardinals Night — off the bleachers and out on the ice for some skating. Now that would have made for some great video.
Cards’ Carpenter skates with Blues [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]