I'm a confessed panting veteran nerd at heart with Carlos Beltran atop my list of favorite players. I could watch him take lefthanded swings all day, everyday and find my life fulfilling. I love watching him glide around the outfield. Heck, even his playoff fashionable stubble is smooth. When Beltran was pulled after grounding into a double play in the first inning of Game 4, I began mumbling to myself. Because I was sitting alone at a bar, the bartender and other patrons gave me a strange look. They didn't understand, couldn't understand: The Cardinals just lost Beltran for the game and perhaps longer.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny replaced the veteran slugger with rookie utility man. Another confession: I'm what Joe Strauss has labeled "a hyperventilating prospect geek" (there is no conflict in being a fan of veterans and young players). Largely due to Azru's influence, Carpenter has been atop my list of Cardinals prospects to watch for years. His 2012 was a sort of payoff to following Carpenter as he ascended through the Cardinals system. Or, at least it was before his homer against Giants ace Matt Cain, who pitched brilliantly yesterday.

My fellow bar patrons gave me more looks when I hollered and shot a triumphant fist into the air as Carpenter's dinger landed beyond the Cardinals bullpen. A rookie replacement homering for the greatest postseason hitter of all-time (minimum 100 PAs) is one of those special postseason moments that one never forgets and I say that as a fan who realizes how incredibly lucky I've been to have witnessed so many such moments over the past two Octobers. The reporting on Carpenter's heroics off the bench have only endeared him more to me.