Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright shocked fans and teammates Thursday by singing the national anthem on baseball’s Opening Day in St. Louis. (Watch the video below.)
But the three-time All-Star said he “showed my rookie self” performing a version that he deemed too slow.
Wainwright, in his final season, was to have been the game’s starting pitcher, but an injury during the recent World Baseball Classic has sidelined him for a bit.
The aspiring performer apparently kept his singing engagement a secret, judging from the shock of teammates when the stadium announcer introduced him to raucous applause.
Wainwright, from Georgia, began with understandable jitters, then settled in to croon a deliberate, countrified anthem.
He tapped his cap to his heart in receiving another ovation afterward.
“I went a little slower than I wanted to go,” Wainwright said after the Cardinals’ 10-9 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, per Bally Sports Midwest. “Very tough. Props to anyone who does that, because it’s very tough with the delay. You sing it, and then you hear yourself sing it a whole second and a half later, and then you start listening to yourself and then it slows your tempo down.”
“That’s what happened to me today. It shows my rookie self.”
Wainwright’s 195 pitching victories ranks him third in Cardinals history. That’s plenty to sing about.