Former Kansas City Royals and AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, Game One NLCS starter for Milwaukee, is never afraid to say what’s on his mind. A day before the Cardinals were set to begin their best of seven series with their division rival, Greinke was talking about Chris Carpenter.
About a month ago, you might recall a shouting match that took place between Carpenter and Milwaukee’s Nyjer Morgan after Morgan struck out. Both players were shouting at each other and Albert Pujols stepped in to defend Carpenter. The benches cleared and nothing more really came of that situation, but it was fuel for Greinke’s comments on Saturday. Speaking to reporters about his teammates attitude toward Carpenter, Greinke said, “”They think his presence, his attitude out there sometimes is like a phony attitude, and then he yells at people. He just stares people down and stuff. And most pitchers just don’t do that. And when guys do, I guess some hitters get mad. Some hitters do it to pitchers. But when you do that some people will get mad. There’s other pitchers in the league that do it, but, I don’t know a lot of guys on our team that like Carpenter.”
If you were to draw comparisons to these two teams, you could say the Cardinals are “old school,” and the Brewers bring a new attitude or approach to the game. The Cardinals were one of the teams who didn’t appreciate the Brewers untucking their shirts after wins a couple of years ago. It was more symbolic of just wrapping up a hard day’s work, similar to Milwaukee’s blue collar work force mentality. This year’s Brewers have their “beast mode” gesture after big plays. Brewers outfielder Corey Hart says it’s just a fresh approach to baseball. “They’re more of an old-school (team) and we’re kind of a new school. We’re exciting and high energy. To be honest about it, that’s why we probably clash a little bit because of the differences. But I feel we both respect each other. They respect us and we respect them. You can’t let the differences get in the way of the fact that both teams are pretty good.”
Lance Berkman doesn’t care for the high energy, being more of a baseball purist. “Sometimes, that exuberance can spill over into a realm that I don’t feel is appropriate, but I’m not the czar of baseball, either. So that’s all I can say about it.”
While the Brewers get criticized for their, I would call it more “football like celebrations”, the Cardinals also have a reputation around the league of being cry babies and Carpenter has been in the middle of that as well. In Cincinnati, he along with pitching coach Dave Duncan have accused the home team of not rubbing down new baseballs, leaving them slick and tough to grip. The Cardinals have complained that is done on purpose. The Cardinals have also complained about scoreboard graphics at Miller Park being too distracting for hitters. On more than one occasion, Albert Pujols has been the most vocal in complaining about the sun inside Busch Stadium during late afternoons.
Whether or not these observations are justified, I can’t say, but the team has picked up a reputation around the National League for being complainers.
Players from both teams don’t expect shenanigans. They just expect a tough battle for the National League Pennant. It all begins Sunday with Greinke (11-0 at Miller Park this year) against Jaime Garcia.