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October 23, 2006

Chris Carpenter


Q. After all that you've been through, and obviously coming off the season that speaks for itself, but what is this like to be pitching in the World Series?
CHRIS CARPENTER: You know, it's a great feeling, childhood dream. I had an opportunity to come here in '04, but unable to pitch because of my injury. But to get back a second time and have a chance to go out and compete and pitch in the game, it's going to be a lot of fun.
I'm looking forward to it and it's going to be a good time.

Q. In '04 I vaguely remember that you were getting pretty healthy and I think you threw before the series started, hoping maybe Tony and Dunc would put you on the roster. Could you go back and how close were you to being -- you felt you could pitch and how frustrating, if that's the term, that you didn't get that chance?
CHRIS CARPENTER: You know, I'd thrown on side maybe four or five times and I was feeling good. The decision was not up to me, it was up to Tony and the coaching staff. I wanted to pitch, but I think in the long run it worked out to be smart. I was out there throwing on the side, not competing in the World Series. I hadn't thrown in a month and a half or whatever.
It was disappointing, but it was a smart decision, the right decision, I believe. They were looking out for my career, not just for one series or one game or whatever it was. Ultimately, too, I wouldn't even know how they would use me. I would have been in the pen, I wasn't going to be able to go back-to-back days, taking a spot from somebody that might be needed in the long run. The whole thing was a smart decision for me not to pitch.
Like I said, it was disappointing, but a smart decision, and I'm looking forward to being able to get back here. A lot of people that have been playing a long time don't get an opportunity to play in the World Series, and now I have an opportunity to be in it too, so it's great.

Q. This whole concept of when you're on the road, at home, do you feel more comfortable at home? Is it more exciting pitching at home before the home crowd? Do you feel this team plays better in front of your home crowd?
CHRIS CARPENTER: You're talking about me personally, or our team?

Q. The team and you.
CHRIS CARPENTER: Me personally, I've answered this question a lot of times, and I had a couple of starts on the road that skewed the numbers. Six runs in Detroit, six or seven runs in Kansas City. I had a few starts where I really didn't pitch this well. And I feel comfortable at home and on the road. Obviously pitching at home in front of your fans in your home stadium, it's nice, it's fun, it's a nice place to pitch. I like pitching in this park and I'm looking forward to tomorrow night.
Our team, I don't know why there was such a difference in records and the way we played, but again this is the postseason, anything can happen. And it showed us in the series in San Diego and against the Mets and so far against the Tigers; we were able to go in there and take one against them. We're looking forward to coming here and playing in front of our home crowd and in front of our fans and see some excitement, hopefully.

Q. I just had a question about Dave Duncan: What sorts of things does he emphasize as a pitching coach, and what has he helped you with specifically these last few years to elevate your performance?
CHRIS CARPENTER: Dunc's been great to me. He has so much knowledge. He gives you so many weapons. He's able to prepare you so well with all of his charts and things that he keeps to go out and have a game plan and basically, you know, you've got to go out and execute it. And if you can do that, you're going to be successful.
I came over here in '03, wasn't able to pitch, but I was able to sit around and listen and watch. When I was a young kid I didn't think about up and down and things like that, I was just trying to throw the ball away, trying to throw the ball in, I wasn't trying to think about throwing my curveball for strikes. But when I came here, he talks about throwing the ball down in the strike zone and getting ahead and attacking the strike zone, and all these things that have helped me progress and be successful, and I owe him a lot for what I've done the last few years.

Q. When you were a free agent between Toronto and St. Louis, were you basically out there for anybody who was willing to take a chance on you?
CHRIS CARPENTER: Yeah, I mean Toronto at the end of the season said they were going to let me go, and I wasn't going to have an opportunity to come back there unless I was coming back on a Minor League contract. It was a weird time in my life but I go home, I didn't think that, who's going to take a chance on a guy -- I was sitting there in a sling, who's going to take a chance on a guy like that? But my agent talked to me and said, "We'll see what happens. There might be somebody that might want to give you an opportunity to come back on a Major League contract." And pretty soon there was six or seven Major League teams.
And I went to visit Texas and St. Louis, and we decided on St. Louis. I'm happy with my decision. But, yes, I was out there for everybody, whoever wanted the opportunity to pick me up.

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