St. Louis Cardinals, Adam Wainwright show human side of baseball

It would be easy to poke fun at St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright.

He had walked away from the perfect sendoff. Wainwright could have joined Cardinals’ icons Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols in retirement, the image of the trio of legends departing the diamond together as a wonderful memory. Instead, Wainwright came back for one more season, looking to reach a pair of milestones with the franchise as he delayed retirement.

St. Louis Cardinals legend Adam Wainwright human after all

His swansong has not gone as anyone would have imagined. Wainwright missed time due to a groin injury suffered during the World Baseball Classic and has not been close to effective since. He has posted a miserable 7.45 ERA and a 1.945 WHiP in his 48.1 innings, striking out just 25 batters with 17 walks. This is not close to the Wainwright that the Cardinals are used to.

That showed on Thursday night. Wainwright had an outing to forget, allowing six runs on six hits and three walks, striking out one as he failed to get out of the second inning. He was seemingly close to tears in the dugout when manager Oli Marmol came over and reassured Wainwright that no one has given up on him.

What Marmol did, and how Wainwright felt, gets lost in the statistical analysis of the game. The human element has been minimized in the hunt for every statistical advantage possible. Players are reduced to nothing more than numbers and situational advantages. It is easy for fans to view the game through the same lens, especially with fantasy baseball and how prevalent those statistics have become.

But that is what the players are – human. They have abilities beyond all but a small percentage of the Earth’s population, but they are still human. They care, they see and hear everything being written and said. Those boos still hurt despite their millions of dollars. And, at times, they need reassurance, just the same as everyone else.

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright has done something important this year. He reminded us that the players are human as well.

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