SAN FRANCISCO -- Tucked into Cardinals reliever Steve Cishek's pocket every time he takes the mound is a square piece of laminated paper, the edges of which show the wear of time. That card has become as much a part of his in-game routine as his warmup pitches, with Cishek pausing before he faces his first batter to step off the mound to pull out the card and read the words.
On it is a handwritten Bible verse -- Colossians 3:23 -- that Cishek likes to recite as a reminder of how to carry himself on the mound. The New International Version of the Bible cites it as:
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."
"I could recite it in my head, but pulling it out of my back pocket makes me slow down and take my time a little bit when I just want to go, go, go," Cishek said. "I can sit back and read some scripture to really set my mind and get after it with hitters."
It is a ritual that Cishek, who was traded to St. Louis just before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, has maintained since he debuted in the Majors with the Marlins in 2010. Before that, he carried a basketball card of a neighbor who passed away in high school. The card featured a motivational saying.
"I kept running out of cards because they got too sweaty," Cishek said. "That used to help me put things into perspective."
The unusual site of a pitcher pulling out a piece of paper on the mound has become a conversation starter for Cishek, who has been asked many times if he's carrying scouting report information around. But Cishek is used to explaining the unexpected. He often finds himself clarifying why he has the name "Manuel Domingos" stitched on his glove instead of his own. It is the name of his grandfather, who passed away in 2003.
"I know it's my glove, so I can put anything I want on there," said Cishek. "Plus, my grandmother loves it."
• Trevor Rosenthal's wife, Lindsey, gave birth to the couple's second daughter, Adalyn Grace, at 10:10 p.m. CT on Friday. Rosenthal will remain on paternity leave through the rest of the weekend.
• The Gulf Coast League Cardinals captured the East division title Friday to become the organization's second affiliate to qualify for postseason play.