Trevor Rosenthal

I have been watching Cardinals baseball since the late 1960s. I have seen Gibson, Carlton and Carpenter. But I have never seen an arm like Trevor Rosenthal--ever. Of all the people playing professional sports in our town, he may be the most gifted. Rosenthal says if he does become a starter, he would likely start off the game throwing 100.

However, there is no reason to remove Rosenthal from the closer spot. He fits into that role like Brooklyn Decker does into a swimsuit. He is out of central casting to close games in the big leagues. Rosenthal has made 17 post-season appearances over the last two seasons. He has never allowed a run. The all-time record is 19. Trevor will break that this fall.

It was at age 14 when Rosenthal first realized he was different. He was playing catch with his father, when Dad looked the other way for a split second. The ball hit him in the ribs, breaking his ribs. His father thought from then on that he would refrain from that type physical activity. His dad is a very smart man.

And so were the Cardinals scouts. Trevor was a shortstop at a junior college in Kansas. He had just started pitching, and had less than five innings on the mound. However, the Cardinals saw him throw over 90. They loved his arm action so much that they drafted him in the 21st round. By the end of this season, Rosenthal may be the best closer in baseball. We spoke in Jupiter.

Do you still want to be a starting pitcher?

I still have dreams and aspirations to one day be a starter, but I want to help this team in any way possible.

What is it like being on the mound, knowing you can throw the ball by anybody?

It’s fun. Talk to any pitcher. Even if things are not going as well as they should, we all have the mentality that we are the best no matter what. It’s really not cockiness. It’s a confidence. We got the talent. It’s fun knowing we are pitching to the best catcher in the game.

What pitches are you throwing and what are you working on?

I am throwing fastball, change-up and curve ball. I am working on my cutter. I am not throwing my cutter as much right now. I am just trying to get my arm in shape.

The only thing that could keep you from stardom is injury. How do you protect your gift, your right arm?

It’s a constant learning process. Nobody has ever mastered it because of the amount of injuries in the game. We rely on our strength and conditioning staff, and our training staff. We just have to stay on top of everything. We have to know our bodies, and know the difference between real pain and just soreness.

Five thoughts:

1. The odds of Mizzou playing SLU in college basketball are the same as mine as playing for the Boston Celtics: It’s childish. SLU wants to play, Mizzou doesn’t. Mizzou has a much better tradition. They can lose a game to SLU and still be a wonderful program. Play the game.

2. Jhonny Peralta may never make anybody forget Ozzie Smith in the field. However, if he hits 20 homers with 80 RBIs, that would be like three Cardinal shortstop seasons combined. He screwed up. He paid his price. I think he will hit.

3. I hope when the Rams brass say they are just fine at wide receiver, they are playing it coy. The Rams didn’t have a receiver catch 50 balls, and that is tough to do in this pass-happy league. They were 30th in offense. I think you can upgrade a little.

4. The Blues’ Tom Stillman is one of the great owners in our town. Any owner who sits in the stand, and lives and dies during a shootout is my kind of owner. He also plays pick-up hockey with former players and employees during the day. How cool would a parade be for the Blues in June?

5. My next goal in life is to be a consultant. That is the best gig going. You don’t really have to reach a goal. You just give a thought and get paid well for it.

Frank Cusumano is a 15-time Emmy Award winner on KSDK-TV, and also has been a radio commentator for 20 years. Follow Frank on Twitter @Frank_Cusumano.

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