(Busch Stadium) The magic began for Adam Wainwright before he even threw the first pitch of the game. Before taking the field, he paused at the top of the St. Louis Cardinals dugout, raised his hands, and then signaled for music and his teammates to charge onto the field.
“I’ve always wanted to do that,” Wainwright shared. “I’ve always dreamt about coming out on the field and cueing the music and then getting the guys to run out in front of me and kind of cueing them and then taking the field. I texted the team this morning and said I’ve always want to do this, it might be corny, but I want to do this, so they were like ‘yeah man, let’s do this. let’s pump you up’. It fired me up.”
It also fired up his teammates, who executed according to plan en route to a 4-1 victory over San Diego.
“A ton, we’re all engaged looking at him,” Paul DeJong said. “He’s a leader and a legend in this uniform, so for us to be out there and competing is a true honor.”
“When Trevor Hoffman used to walk in the game or some of those big closers–Smoltz, or Kimbrel, or Mariano, when you get to see that, that’s a cool thing,” Wainwright added. “I don’t know. It was fun.”
Wainwright carried over the excitement to the mound as he mixed up his pitches and velocities to finish with a line of 6.0 IP, 5 hits, 1 run/earned, and 9 strikeouts.
“It’s similar stuff to the way I pitched in Spring Training with a little more adrenaline,” Wainwright said. “Honestly, I think I went through a little body shock in Pittsburgh. I was used to pitching in Florida and tried to pump myself up for 32. I don’t know what happened, but I knew coming into today I needed to be in a better place mentally. When I’m good mentally, I’m usually pretty good physically. Just tried to give myself a better chance to succeed out there with being very focused and making good pitches.”
While it was the mental approach which helped key his success, there is also a stark contrast to the physical difference Wainwright is able to pitch with now versus this time last season. As he walked off the mound in May after lasting only 2.1 innings against San Diego, Adam admits to wondering if that may have been his last appearance in the big leagues.
“At the end of the year, I felt pretty good about stuff and where things were headed,” Wainwright said. “The first part of last year, it was head straight home and nurse your wounds for four straight days. Last year, I was just hoping I could make my next start, honestly, until I just couldn’t do it anymore. So, in a different spot.”
Wainwright remains perfect against San Diego at Busch Stadium (6-0) and he has not allowed a home run to any of the 204 Padre hitters faced.
As for the continued special entrance before games, “wait and see” said Wainwright.
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports