It's not the money. Adam Wainwright has all the money.
It's not the fame, either. Adam wainwright is as beloved as any current St. Louis Cardinal and wants you to quit smoking. You don't get PSAs when you're not a star.
No, the thing that sucks about being the 'ace' of a MLB team is exactly what you saw last night in downtown St. Louis.
Wainwright got lit up in the first inning by the Cubs. Surrendering 4 runs in a matter of minutes and putting his team in a deep, but not insurmountable, hole.
It happens to the best. The Cubs suck (as always), but they're still paying 10s of millions of dollars to their players to play. These aren't your buddies from the beer league out there.
Between the 1st inning and the rest of the game, Wainwright corrected whatever the Cubs were teeing off on and gave the Cardinals 6 more scoreless innings. A lesser pitcher would have probably imploded, but Wainwright turned a disaster inning into an OK start.
No, not a good start. Not a quality start. But he dressed up a shit sandwich pretty nice.
His teammates though? They were checked out from the first pitch. Jeff Samardzija, best known for being a pass catcher at Notre Dame, was 3-7 entering last night. He hadn't lasted more that 6 1/3 innings in any of his previous starts since May. He is the definition of an OK starter in the Bigs.
But he cruised through a lethargic line-up.
No player will admit that he mentally checked out, but I think it's fair to say that when your ace is taking the rock, you don't mentally check all the way in. You know the games going to be close at worst and a laugher at best. This is the night the other guy can pick you up, right?
The box score will read 4-2. The fans will remember the game for the game-ending double play that wasn't actually completed.
But Adam Wainwright probably had one his gutsier starts of 2013. Too bad none of his teammates cared to notice or help him out.