Adam Wainwright on Opening Day. Mar 30, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) salutes the fans before an opening day game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Over appearing in 17 MLB seasons ahead of this one, all with the St. Louis Cardinals, Adam Wainwright has seen some stuff. Wainwright has posted a 195–117 record with a 3.38 ERA, and he’s pitched in tons of high-pressure situations, including striking out Brandon Inge to conclude the Cardinals’ 2006 World Series win. But he did something entirely new and different for him on a baseball field on Opening Day Thursday. Ahead of the Cardinals’ clash with the Toronto Blue Jays, Wainwright (who was set to be the St. Louis Opening Day starter, but had those plans change after a groin injury late in spring training) performed the U.S. national anthem:

The intro there of “One of the most up-and-coming singers in St. Louis” is great, as is the reaction from the teammates around Wainwright when that’s announced. And Wainwright gets some good backing there from friends and country music singers Gary Baker and Greg Barnhill, and the crowd goes wild for him. It all makes for a pretty memorable anthem.

After the game, Wainwright (seen above saluting fans ahead of this game) told Daniel Guerrero of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch this idea came from Cardinals’ manager of player communications Melody Yount to help honor his 18th and final season. He said he declined at first, but rethought that 10 minutes later. He also said his teammates suggested he should sing the anthem after he’d already made plans to do so, and he had to work hard not to spoil the news:

“Just leaving the line and seeing my teammates’ faces like, ‘Are you kidding?’” Wainwright recalled of the moment. “Cause five or six guys were like, ‘Dude, you should sing the anthem sometime.’ Like, ‘Why don’t you sing the anthem some time?’ I’m like, ‘Well, maybe we’ll think about it.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, I want to tell you so bad.’”

But Wainwright did say he had a ton of nerves going into this, even if it eventually worked out and became one of his most memorable moments on a baseball field.

“That was the most nervous I’ve ever been on a baseball field times seven. Like not even close,” Wainwright said. “Way, way, way, way, way more nervous. … It was fun. I’m glad I did it. …As far as just cool things to do, that’s up there for me.”

[The St. Louis Post-Dispatch; photo from Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.