Days after his playing career ended, Adam Wainwright is dealing with a pressing issue. A cute, fluffy one.
Louie, a Lagotto Romagnolo puppy that was gifted to Wainwright by the St. Louis Cardinals — his only major league team — is at the center of a running family argument.
“Everybody’s fighting on who’s holding him,” Wainwright said. “I’m a little worried he’s not going to learn how to walk here, if we can’t put him on the ground soon.”
Working in walks for Louie is a different type of concern for Wainwright after 18 seasons in the majors — when walks of the bases-on-balls variety were more than a minor inconvenience. The 42-year-old right-hander finished his big league career with a 200-128 record and a 3.53 ERA.
Wainwright’s playing days are over, but he isn’t exactly taking it easy in retirement.
The Georgia native and his wife, Jenny, have five children; daughters Baylie Grace (17), Addison (14), Macy James (11) and Sadee Faith (5), along with 4-year-old son Caleb Adam. The 6-foot-7 Wainwright is returning to TV with FOX Sports, and he continues to work on a burgeoning country music career, too.
“My two oldest daughters are in high school and I’ll get a text between classes: ‘Hey, Dad, how’s Louie doing?’ ‘Hey, I’m doing fine, too,'” Wainwright cracked.
Next up for Wainwright is the FOX booth for the AL Division Series between the Twins and Astros that begins Saturday in Houston. He will be alongside play-by-play man Adam Amin and analyst A.J. Pierzynski for the third time after they also worked together in the playoffs in 2020 and 2021. Wainwright and Pierzynski also played together on the 2014 Cardinals.
“I think what I enjoy most about it is just my love for the game of baseball and pitching in general,” Wainwright said. “I love to sit on the bench next to our guys, next to our pitchers, and go ‘Why do you think he threw that pitch?’ or ‘What do you think the hitter’s thinking right now?’ … I love watching for that and I love talking about it.”
Wainwright’s studious approach helped him become one of baseball’s most dependable pitchers. He had 10 seasons with at least 31 starts. He had 12 years with at least 11 wins, including a career-best 20 in 2010 and 2014.
He became a beloved figure in St. Louis along the way, and he was lavished with cheers during his last few games with the Cardinals. He watched as Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols received similar treatment before they retired at the end of the 2022 season, but he was still surprised when it happened to him as well.
“I never thought I would ever get anything like that, honestly,” Wainwright told The Associated Press. “I thought they’d be like ‘And there’s Adam, too, and he did a great job, you know, whatever he did.’”
In addition to Louie, the Cardinals presented Wainwright with an original painting and a custom Les Paul guitar with hand-written letters from his wife and children inscribed on the back. As much as he wants to play the Les Paul, he said it’s likely going into a glass case for protection.
Wainwright got into music when his wife got him a guitar when he was a Class-A ballplayer in 2001. He didn’t play very much at first, but he started playing every day when he missed most of the 2015 season with a torn left Achilles tendon.
He has loved writing and telling stories since high school, including poems for his wife. “Probably should take that back up again,” he said.
So Wainwright has turned his love for his guitar and writing into his own country music. Working with songwriters Gary Baker and Greg Barnhill, it has progressed to the point where he played three songs in a concert after a Cardinals win at Busch Stadium last weekend.
“The preparation that went into it, I took it very similar to a start for me, to a series where you’re learning hitters for the first time,” he said, “where you really dive into it and really study. … I went into that focused and knowing that I had done the things I needed to do to have success.”
Wainwright thinks he might do around 15 games next season as a TV broadcaster. He is hoping he might play some concerts in connection with that schedule.
“That’s the goal. We’ll see where that goes,” he said. “I’m getting lots of requests to play in lots of various different shows, opening for this guy, opening for that guy. And that’s all, I can’t believe I’m getting those even. So it’s been really fun to see the interest come in.”
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