(Busch Stadium) While most baseball fans are keeping an eye at July 31st on the calendar, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright has a different date circled–August 26th.
That will be Draft Day for his Big League Impact’s Fantasy Football League and don’t be surprised if a certain QB is targeted early.
“Aaron Rodgers is always one of my quarterbacks,” stated Wainwright, who plays in five different leagues. “I love having a good quarterback on my team. It’s something the draft experts tell you–don’t draft a quarterback early…The worst thing you could ever do is be a guy who plays waiver-wire quarterback every week. For me anyways, I can’t stand that. I don’t mind playing waiver-wire kicker, but a quarterback that you know is going to go out there and put up 30-40 points a game, that’s a pretty talented person that you need on your team.”
Rodgers visited Busch Stadium a couple of seasons ago, but Wainwright shared that it was actually a meeting with a different NFL great that resulted in him shifting into fantasy mode.
“I used to always have Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne on my team,” began Waino. “Even when Marvin Harrison was still the guy and Reggie Wayne was just coming up, I remember one time I traded Marvin Harrison for Reggie Wayne straight up to Skip Schumaker–just because I liked him.”
That was in 2005 and soon after, Adam had the chance to meet with his favorite wide receiver.
“I said Reggie, you’ve been so good for me,” he recalled. “He was starting to get up there in age, he was in his mid-30s. And I said ‘I want you to know, that no matter what they’re saying about your age or your ability, I’m staying with my man’ and he said ‘I’ll take care of you, I’ll take care of you.”
That conversation means even more to Wainwright currently.
“Now that I’m in that stage of my career where people are starting to doubt me–you know it’s funny that earlier in this season the fantasy experts, if you will, were saying ‘drop Waino, drop Waino, he’s done, he’s over the hill, he’s never gonna make it’ and now they’re either quiet or they’re saying now it’s safe to play Adam Wainwright again in fantasy.
“I just love proving those guys wrong because I live on both sides of the fantasy world. I know I’m competing for probably thousands of people that have me on their fantasy baseball team but my fantasy football obsession is pretty high, so I can feel the pain for both sides.”
John Smoltz, David Wright, Cliff Floyd, and Hunter Pence are among those leading the efforts in other cities.
The experience includes playing fantasy football with MLB players, having the live draft at Busch Stadium and getting a behind the scenes tour of the clubhouse and more.
Last year, Big League Impact was able to provide mosquito nets for 7,000 people and provide clean drinking water for another 5,000.
“We were able to pass out mosquito nets, inoculate kids and get them healthy again from just horrible worm situations, we were able to give a clean water project in Honduras with sanitation included,” said Wainwright.
“That’s one part that people never remember–in these third world countries, they don’t have bathrooms either so they find themselves using the bathroom and getting clean in the same water sources that they’re drinking. So with the clean water, we also give them sanitation which makes a tremendous, tremendous difference in keeping people healthy and clean around the globe.”
Besides the global efforts, Big League Impact also works with charities in the metro area.
“Crisis-Aid International does great work in the city with anti-slavery, with feeding people here in the city of St. Louis as well as over in Ethiopia, and also finding women who have been abused and putting them up in shelter. They just do so many things that fall into our mission statement.
All of those same charities are in line to benefit again this year from the Big League Impact Fantasy Football event.
“We’re doing some more of those effective charities,” said Wainwright. “Any charity we choose, there’s very little overhead. There’s very little expense that doesn’t go right into helping people. We picked those charities last year, not only because of the mission behind those charities but also because they are very good at what they do in those missions of helping people.”
That efficiency has helped Big League Impact get the most out of their funds raised, which since it’s inception in 2013, have reached over $1 million.
“We are ridiculously efficient,” said Wainwright, noting that nearly 100% of donations received are directly able to be used to help. “That’s the mission behind this and that’s the reason we started it and the reason we’re keeping it going–because it is working and because it is so efficient.”
For more information or to sign up visit Big League Impact’s website.
photo credit: BigLeagueImpact.org, Bill Greenblatt/UPI, Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports