If the St. Louis Cardinals were trying to send a message by firing manager Mike Matheny, it appears to have been received.
Longtime Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright even went so far as to compare Matheny’s firing to Albert Pujols’s decision to leave the organization after the 2011 season.
“It was like an organizational transformational moment,” Wainwright said, via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The wakeup call to the team arrived today.”
There are several reasons why the Matheny firing was so jarring. The Cardinals are notoriously reluctant to make major changes like this, especially in the middle of the season. Plus, Matheny was a game over .500 this season — certainly below the Cardinals’ usual standards, but not the sort of disastrous record that usually gets managers fired during the middle of a season. There have also been some clubhouse issues that raised eyebrows.
Ultimately, firing a manager in the middle of the season is a big deal, but it’s way more jarring than usual when it’s the Cardinals doing.
For every 1,000 professional athletes that claim they don’t pay attention to fantasy sports and could not possibly care less about your fantasy team, there is a guy like St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright who pays close attention to where he is drafted.
Earlier this week, Sirius XM held its F.S.T.A Experts Baseball Draft. Wainwright, who is less than nine months removed from a torn Achilles, lasted until the seventh round and was the 22nd pitcher drafted. The 34-year-old caught wind of how he plummeted down the board and decided to call into Sirius XM’s Fantasy Sports Radio.
“If these are so-called experts doing this draft, maybe guys should start looking for another occupation,” Wainwright argued. “I came back after Achilles surgery in five months. You show me an old guy that’s able to do that. I still feel young. I’m feeling young. All you guys that passed on me, I’m gonna make you regret that decision.”
Wainwright had the sound of a guy who was kidding around, but there was probably a lot of truth to what he was saying.
“Check the stats, SiriusXM. Clean it up over there,” he joked. “What are you doing? It’s going to make it all the more fun going into spring training. I appreciate the extra motivation.”
You can understand why people would be skeptical about Wainwright’s future. Not many athletes come back as strong as ever after suffering a significant injury like that, though Wainwright did win 20 games in 2014 and 19 the season before that.
Cardinals fans should be happy that Wainwright is determined to prove he can come back at full strength. Most pro athletes despise fantasy sports, and one even hinted that it was one of the reasons he retired. If Wainwright can use an “experts” draft as motivation, more power to him.
You can hear Wainwright’s full radio call below:
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright had some harsh words for Major League Baseball and its television partners on Friday.
Wainwright tweeted the official accounts for MLB and MLB on Fox, critical of the constant ads for erectile dysfunction remedies that are a fixture in commercial breaks.
— Adam Wainwright (@UncleCharlie50) October 8, 2015
Money talks, so it’s fair to say that Wainwright’s input probably won’t make much of a difference. He’s far from the first to bring this up, however, as many parents watching with children probably don’t want to have to explain what, exactly, these commercials are for. If baseball really wants to appeal to a younger audience, they may want to reassess who their major advertisers are.
Derek Jeter’s storybook farewell to the All-Star Game will go down in history with an asterisk thanks to Adam Wainwright.
Jeter started at shortstop and batted leadoff for the American League Tuesday in Minnesota, and he got his team started with a line drive down the right field line for a double. Mike Trout tripled him in, and then Miguel Cabrera smacked a 2-run home run off Wainwright, who had a bad first inning that put the NL in a 3-0 hole.
Later in the evening, Wainwright told reporters he intentionally gave Jeter a pitch to hit.
“I was gonna give him a couple of pipe shots. He deserved it,” said Wainwright. “I didn’t know he was going to hit a double or I might have changed my mind.”
The pitch tracking data supports Wainwright’s admission; his first pitch (taken for a ball) was 94 mph, while the second was 87 mph and down the middle. Jeter cracked the second for a double.
“Sometimes my humor gets taken the wrong way. I feel terrible about this. If anyone’s taken any credit away from what Derek Jeter has done today or off me or anything … it was mis-said. I made a mistake by that,” Wainwright said.
“I hope people realize I’m not intentionally giving up hits out there. I know this game means something. I’m guessing people think I’m trying to give up home runs to Miguel Cabrera, too.
“It’s a distraction and I did not want to be a distraction. If anything was taken away from his moment, then I sincerely apologize. At no point in my career have I gone out and intentionally given up hits.”
If you ask me, I think Wainwright gave Jeter a pitch he could hit. Jeter still did the hard work by turning it into a double, but I think Waino helped him out. Wainwright just screwed up by telling the media he did that.
After the game, Jeter was told about Wainwright’s comments and gave a great answer:
Jeter also got a hit in the third and finished the game 2-for-2. And now Wainwright goes down in history in the same conversation as Chan Ho Park.
Clayton Kershaw has been the premier pitcher in MLB this season, but the reigning Cy Young Award winner was not selected as the NL starter for Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Target Field. Instead, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who is managing the All-Star team, chose his stud Adam Wainwright as the starter.
Rather than be angry or bitter over the decision, Kershaw said he understands Matheny’s choice.
“I kind of assumed [it would happen],” Kershaw said of Matheny’s choice via the OC Register’s Bill Plunkett. “Adam had best first half. It’s his manager. You’re not going to not pick your guy.”
He’s absolutely right. Matheny has to reward his guy in this case, and it’s not like picking Wainwright is a stretch; he is deserving of the honor.
Though Kershaw through a no-hitter with 15 strikeouts and had a streak of 41 consecutive scoreless innings just before the break, Wainwright’s numbers have been outstanding as well. Waino is 12-4 with a 1.83 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Kershaw is 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA and 0.83 WHIP and has pitched more than 42 fewer innings than Wainwright, though he has 11 more strikeouts than the Cardinals ace.
Kershaw has been the hottest pitcher, but Wainwright has done more. He is fully deserving of the honor. And credit to Kershaw for having a good attitude about things. There’s a reason why they say Kershaw is just as good of a guy off the field as on it.
It’s also nice that Wainwright completely appreciates the honor.
“Just an overwhelming sense of pride and achievement,” Wainwright said when describing how he felt upon being told the news by his manager during an interview with ESPN’s Buster Olney. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Something I’ve been kind of jealous of other people that got to do that. I can remember a lot of those pitchers who started the All-Star Game, so to be on that list is pretty special.”
Later on today, the U.S. Men’s National Team will face Portugal in what could be one of the more memorable matches in American soccer history.
A win would see the USA advance from the World Cup group stage and make their matchup against Germany next Thursday for the top spot in Group G.
USA’s 2-1 win over Ghana last Monday drew unprecedented ratings, becoming the most viewed men’s soccer match ever on ESPN or ESPN2, via Forbes. Sunday’s match will surely be appointment viewing as well and among those pumped for game is St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright.
Wainwright showed up to the ballpark prior to the Cardinals’ game on Sunday with an American flag painted over his entire face and struck quite the fierce pose for the media.
It’s safe to say Adam is ready for the biggest U.S. men’s soccer match in four years. Are you?
Adam Wainwright is pretty much the definition of an ace pitcher. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2009 and 2010, and he was one of the best in 2012 and this season after returning from surgery in 2011. He was light’s out in the NLDS against the Pittsburgh Pirates and had a strong start against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLCS despite taking the loss. But in Game 1 of the World Series, Wainwright had a subpar outing in an 8-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Waino says his mechanics were poor during that start.
“I honestly don’t know why my mechanics were as bad as they were, my delivery was off as much as it was,” Wainwright said Sunday at a news conference, via MLB.com “But I feel like I’ve put a lot of good reps in in front of the mirror, and watching film and feeling my delivery again, learning the basics all over again. I feel like I’ve made a lot of good adjustments to be ready for this next game to throw some quality pitches. I threw maybe four or five quality pitches the whole time I was pitching [in Game 1]. Luckily, to come away with just a few runs; it could have been ten instead of five.”
There was some speculation that Wainwright’s problems were related to the Red Sox being able to read his pitches, not a mechanical issue. ESPN’s Jayson Stark raised that possibility because he noted that Boston seemed to lay off Wainwright’s curveballs the way most teams can’t.
What’s interesting is that this was the same strategy the Pirates employed in the NLDS. The problem was Pittsburgh announced their plans to the world ahead of time, which led Wainwright to make an adjustment accordingly. Maybe Game 5 will tell us whether the Red Sox know something about Wainwright’s pitches, or whether he just had trouble with his mechanics.