Let's start here. The team had nothing to do with that story. Carpenter was not brought to the Zoom to talk about his walk. He did not seek us out in the stands to talk about his walk. No official reached out to me eager to talk about his walk.
I'll offer this in detail in the interest of transparency and in hopes that a few people are interested in it, knowing that so many people have already set their mind to an opinion -- some without reading the story, or his quotes.
This is what happened:
I was assigned the lead that day, and early in the game Carpenter had an excellent play on a groundball into right field while playing second base. He has not played the shift that much because the Cardinals didn't shift this much (or at all) when he last played second base. He has shown the ability quickly to learn the shift and play well at second -- and the contrast of him playing the shift well after so many years of being frustrated as a hitter by the shift, well, that seemed like poetry. Here he was this spring having to show that he could both play the shift and not hit into it. You can see the contrast making for a good story.
The question was could I get a chance to ask him about it.
I left a message in hopes that he might agree to an interview away from the Zoom, so I could ask about that. He agreed and while I was in a concourse at Clover Park trying to find a quiet corner where I was permitted, he spoke to me on his drive back to Jupiter. This was an interview only the Post-Dispatch had, and it's something that we've tried to do this spring is bring you the readers information and comments and quotes that aren't so publicly available on the Zooms. It's not always possible. This time it was.
Well, what happened?
Mikolas happened. That was the news of the day. I exchanged texts with Mikolas -- who had not commented on his situation. These were his first comments. Again, not on Zoom. So that became the lede story that day (news should, right? exclusive comments should, right?), and I had to pocket the Carpenter interview for another time, even if it meant running at time that wasn't immediately after the game, wasn't immediately tied to the game where things had just happened. With an off day the next day, that's when the Carpenter story fit.
There wasn't nothing artificial about it. In fact, I found his comments candid and honest, and so many of the criticisms I've seen from fans were actually echoed by him. He says, bluntly, in the story that he has to hit, not just take hits away at second base -- that he has to hit to play. What's artificial about that? He's one of the highest paid players on the team and he is the highest paid player without a clear/certain role on this team. That is an interesting story to tell.
Want to know one way I know that for sure? You asked about it. Lots of people talked about it. Still are.