When I think of pitcher Adam Wainwright, I think of joy.
I see the elegant curveball that buckled the knees of then-New York Met Carlos Beltran, closing out the 2006 pennant for the St. Louis Cardinals. I see Wainwright raising his arms in jubilation after striking out Brandon Inge to win the ’06 World Series.
I see a man who takes the mound every fifth day and owns it.
This is why I don’t mind St. Louis’ tendering him a five-year contract extension last week for $97.5 million.
Wainwright exudes class.
I can’t imagine the agony associated with missing the entire 2011 season, which the Cardinals capped with a WS title. Yet, there was Wainwright, sidelined with Tommy John surgery, cheering on his teammates day after day from the dugout’s top step.
He is a mentor. He defers praise and accepts blame. He plays a child’s game with boyish enthusiasm.
Wainwright is what’s right about baseball.