Adam Wainwright's dream has become a reality, and in two years, it has become much bigger than he could have realistically anticipated. Last season, Wainwright started Waino's World in St. Louis with the intent of providing clean drinking water to those in need through Water Missions International and food for those in need in the St. Louis area via Operation Food Search. According to BigLeagueImpact.org, last year's event (Waino's World of Fantasy Football) raised over $120,000 for these two charities, and with nine other teams participating in the event this season, one can imagine that the amount raised will be much more this season.
By now, you probably already know what the event entails, but if not, here is a very brief rundown of the event from BigLeagueImpact:
- An online fantasy football contest where you and a limited number of other fans compete against baseball's starts over the course of the football season for prizes
- A draft day experience at a big league ballpark, including a live, moderated fantasy football draft plus other VIP perks such as on-field special access to batting practice and exclusive tours.
Thanks to his older brother, Trey Wainwright, I was able to send Adam a handful of questions regarding the event, and below you will find his responses:
Viva El Birdos: When you started Waino’s World, did you ever believe it would grow into such a big, MLB-wide event?
Adam Wainwright: When we started Waino's World, we had no thought whatsoever of having it grow to other cities—let alone the entire MLB. We didn't even know if we would do it more than one time in St. Louis. But the Cardinals, Anheuser-Busch, and RealTime Fantasy Sports helped us put together a really fun experience last year. Shortly after our draft and after hearing feedback from the generous people that signed up to play, we realized we had an idea that may be able to catch fire across baseball.
This is our second year, and already, we have grown to 10 big league cities. Big League Impact is a 501c3, and Waino's World is one of the 10 Big League Impact events. The dream, of course, is to take this to all 30 teams eventually, and maybe even to other sports and entertainment industries all over. We're dreaming big while trying to grow slow enough to run a very smooth and productive event. We hope to build something that teams, the Players' Association, the MLB, the NFL, and other leagues all want to support because it showcases them all in some way while giving back to lots of different charities and communities. Big League Impact can be something special if everyone supports it.
VEB: Which non-Cardinal player(s) did you reach out to first regarding making this a league-wide event?
AW: I started talking about this idea with Skip Schumaker and some other guys a few years ago. After last year, the first people I called outside of my Cardinals friends were Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. Clayton, because I have gotten to know him pretty well over the years of playing against him and at a Christian conference we attend in the offseason. Max, because I heard he was a fantasy football nut and a very generous person in his community. Also, it doesn't hurt that they are the reigning Cy Young Award winners, either. We are all very competitive guys, and I look forward to competing with them in this, too. I reached out to a few others, and a few reached out to me. The group this year is mainly people I've gotten to know in baseball who are fantasy football guys and also like doing good things in their community.
VEB: Of the current Cardinals signed up to participate, which is the best at fantasy football?
AW: Of the current Cardinals we have signed up, I would say Matt Holliday is the most experienced while I'm looking for savvy moves by Lance Lynn. Besides me of course.
VEB: Which member of the local Rams do you see as being a sleeper in this year’s draft?
AW: On the Rams this year, I'm looking for Kenny Britt to have a standout year. People forget that just a few years ago, he was a top 3 receiver in the NFL until he got hurt. He's got big play potential.
VEB: Which player on the Cardinals would be the best football player and what position would he play?
AW: Of our Cardinals, I'd have to say that Matt Holliday would be the best football player. He was the nation's top QB recruit out of high school. Georgia's head coach Mark Richt was the offensive coordinator at FSU at the time, and he wanted Matt bad. That's pretty cool. People should know, though, that I was one heck of a place kicker in high school. Decent receiver, deadly with the leg though...
I thank Adam for taking time out of his very busy schedule to answer these questions for Viva El Birdos. If you aren't already, make sure to give the Cardinals ace a follow (@UncleCharlie50) on Twitter and keep up with this year's action at @BigLeagueImpact and @WainosWorld. At the time of this article's publishing (8:00 AM CST, 8/12/14), there still were spots, though limited, to participate in this year's event at Busch Stadium.