Before talking about the Cardinals' future, let's pause to appreciate Chris Carpenter's past.

I'll never forget the scenes of Carpenter outgunning his friend, Roy Halladay, to shock the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 5 of the NL division series. For nine innings Carpenter looked in for the sign, glaring and so focused that his eyes could have burned a hole in Yadier Molina's catcher's mitt. The voltage of Carpenter's energy was encouraging to the Cardinals, and ominous to the Phillies.

Carpenter mowed them down on a warm Friday night, one by one, until he bagged the 27th out. Pitch by pitch, Carpenter deflated a raucous Friday-night Philly crowd that had come to celebrate. He sent them all home for the winter, the Phillies and their fans.