Bernie is usually very good when doing puff pieces on St. Louis Cardinal players. This column on Chris Carpenter isn’t any different.

Bernie is pretty hot right from the start. The first two paragraphs sum it up:

Saturday night at Busch Stadium, Chris Carpenter disposed the Pittsburgh Pirates in game that lasted only 2 hours and 9 minutes. He threw 103 pitches. He faced only 29 batters, two over the minimum. He struck out 11. Carpenter went about his business like a man chopping wood, making a neat pile of 27 outs with precision strikes that shattered those Pirates bats in clean, easy pieces.

He’s a Carpenter, all right.

Nice. Even though it’s obvious, no one in the media made the connection between his last name and his ability to pitch. This is good, solid writing.

What sets Bernie apart from most sports columnists is his ability to use statistics, and this column is no different. Witness his ability to compare Bob Gibson to Chris Carpenter:

For this month, at least, Carpenter is doing a reasonably good impersonation of all things Gibby, all things domination. In four June starts he’s allowed 21 hits and four earned runs in 40 innings for an 0.90 earned-run average. That ERA is so spare, it looks like Carpenter’s cut fastball that all but disappears and dissolves into a white speck when it speeds in on a hitter. In his last three starts, Carpenter has allowed one earned run in 26 innings and has 29 Ks. Carpenter, 11-4, has lowered his season ERA to 2.77.

Bernie finished the column by getting some insight into what drives Chris Carpenter:

Worst of all, was the fear of losing his career to arm troubles. Carpenter had plenty of time to confront those worries. You want to know why he’s so tough on the mound, so unforgiving? Carpenter is determined to make every moment count. Because he’s lived in the alternate world of sitting and moping and having doctors examine a bum shoulder. Now that he’s gotten a second chance, Carpenter isn’t going to give it back.

“This game is my life,” Carpenter said. “And when you don’t have it, you really miss it. Especially when it’s been taken away from you, and it’s not your choice.”

Perfect. If you’re going to do a fluff piece, make it interesting and something that people want to read. Bernie is the supreme commander of puff pieces that mean something.

Score: 10 out of 10