HOUSTON The link between folklore and fandom is intrinsic, with the blend of exaggeration and admiration yielding tales that supersede life.
Cardinals rookie infielder Matt Carpenter doesn't wear batting gloves. That he is something of a novelty in that regard has made him a fan favorite in St. Louis, a city where hardnosed baseball players are revered and lauded for as long as effort and eccentricity are maintained.
But there is more to Carpenter than an old-school approach and weathered hands. He is a product of perseverance and patience, of persistence and poise. His father, Rick, enjoyed wondrous success coaching baseball in Missouri City, with Carpenter a key cog on Elkins High School teams than claimed consecutive Class 5A state championships in 2002-03.
Those were the halcyon days, at least until opportunity opened the door for Carpenter to crack the everyday lineup with the Cardinals. That his path wasn't linear or expeditious makes the present day much sweeter.