PITTSBURGH -- A fantasy football player since his days in Atlanta's Minor League system, Adam Wainwright is now bringing the game to the Major League stage.
On Monday, Wainwright launched wainosworld.com to introduce people to his newest charity initiative, Waino's World of Fantasy Football. The idea is simple: Wainwright is recruiting fantasy football players to compete against one of four Cardinals. The entrance fee is $2,500 per person, with 100 percent of the donations being split between two preselected charities.
"Every single cent that we earn is going to help people," Wainwright said. "The people that give to this charity, I want them to know that their money is being well used. They may not get money back in return, but they are getting a great experience, and their money will go to impacting people's lives for years and years to come."
This idea of playing fantasy football for charity was one Wainwright first had about five years ago. And with the assistance of his brother, Trey, last offseason, the idea has evolved into an event. Wainwright, along with teammates David Freese, Matt Holliday and Allen Craig, will each be participating in one 12-team fantasy football league.
The other 44 spots will be filled from the outside. Those entering the league will be invited to Busch Stadium on Aug. 23 for a full day of events. After a catered brunch and tour of the ballpark, participants will mingle with the participating Cardinals and then be a part of a three-hour live draft, run by Real Time Fantasy Sports.
Everyone will then be invited to watch batting practice and that night's game, against the Braves, from a suite. At the end of the season, non-cash prizes will be awarded to the four league winners and the overall champion. A trip to Cancun and autographed paraphernalia are among the items to be given away.
"It's a pretty unique experience," he said. "It's not a fund-raiser where you write a check and then you're done with it and you go home. This is something that you'll be able to enjoy for months on end and interact with Cardinals players. All the trash talk and bragging rights that will go into a normal fantasy football league, that's what we're bringing, and we're raising a lot of great money for people who really need it."
Noting that he and his wife, Jenny, feel "led to give to basic needs," Wainwright chose Operation Food Search and Water Missions International as the two charities to support. Based in St. Louis, Operation Food Search collects/distributes food and also provides nutrition programs.
Water Missions International describes itself as "a nonprofit Christian engineering organization providing sustainable safe water and sanitation solutions for people in developing countries and disaster areas." Last year the Wainwrights worked through the organization to provide a clean water system to serve an area of about 6,000 people in Uganda.
This upcoming offseason they plan to visit one of the towns aided by a water system to "take video of it so next year when we do this, we can show the impact we're having through fantasy football," he said.
Wainwright also has grander plans for this league. Once he feels comfortable with the logistics on the local level, he intends to bring the concept to the other 29 Major League teams. Other players would be recruited to participate, and the proceeds would be split 50-50 -- with half going to Water Missions International and the other half to a local charity of a team's choice.
"The players I've spoken to have said they'd be very interested in it," he said. "We may have to change the name of it. I'm not sure 'Waino's World' in Cincinnati or Pittsburgh would sit well. But besides the name, what I want people to know is that we are helping people. That is what this is all about. This is not about building someone's name. This is not about building a platform for anything other than just to help people."
For more information and/or to register, visit wainosworld.com.
Lyons to get start in Game 2 of twin bill
PITTSBURGH -- After learning of the Pirates' decision to pitch veteran A.J. Burnett in the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader, the Cardinals opted to flip-flop their own starting pitching plans. Wanting his "experienced pitcher lining up with theirs," manager Mike Matheny announced that Lance Lynn will oppose Burnett in Game 1, leaving the Game 2 assignment to rookie left-hander Tyler Lyons.
Lyons joined the Cardinals on Monday and will be added to the roster for just one day. The implementation of the "26th-man rule" allows for teams to put an extra player on the active roster for a doubleheader scheduled at least 48 hours in advance. That allowed the Cardinals to pluck a starter from the Memphis rotation.
Lyons returns to the Majors after an exceptionally successful six-start stint in Triple-A. After allowing four or more runs in his last four Major League starts before his June demotion, he went to Memphis with a to-do list.
"Mostly, I just wanted to go down there and figure some stuff out," Lyons said on Monday. "I wanted to improve my fastball command and really pitch off of that, establish that. That was a big thing for me. Then there were other small things, like controlling the run game, slowing the game down when things were going sideways a little bit.
"That was stuff that I learned while I was up here and stuff that has been problems throughout my entire career. It was stuff that once I got up here and saw it happen here, I was conscious of it and wanted to work on it when I went down."
With that as his focus, Lyons thrived. He allowed only six earned runs and 16 hits in 40 2/3 innings, while walking eight and striking out 37. Opponents hit .118 off him.
Lyons arrived in Pittsburgh knowing his stay will be short, but also aware that an impression left on Tuesday could create opportunity later.
"It's one game, but I just want to take advantage of any opportunity I get to pitch in a big league game," he said. "It's obviously a tight divisional race, and that's something that you follow on TV as a baseball fan. It makes it that much more exciting to be a part of it."
Matheny not putting too much on set with Bucs
PITTSBURGH -- On a day the Cardinals opened a five-game series against their closest division competitor, manager Mike Matheny remained firm in his insistence that the team views this stop in Pittsburgh in pieces, not as a whole. He refuses, too, to buy into the hype of this potentially being a season-defining series.
"It's going to be boring, but it's going to be consistent," Matheny said of his message. "It's going to consistently be about, 'We have a game today.' … If we just go about it that way -- it doesn't make for good writing, I understand that -- but it makes for good consistent baseball, and that's the business we're in."
Pittsburgh is the second stop on a three-city trek that began in Atlanta and will end in Cincinnati. The Cardinals were swept by the Braves, leaving them only 1 1/2 games ahead of the Pirates at the start of this extended series.
Although the complexion of the division can change drastically with the outcome of this series, Matheny has urged his players to downplay the importance of one five-game stretch in a 162-game season.
"I want these guys to do the same thing, and that's training their minds to prepare for one game," he said. "Go out and just compete, compete and compete, and not get distracted. This game is about eliminating distractions. It has to be put down into bite-size pieces. The smaller and more focused you can put that attention, they have seen that's more of a fertile ground for success."
• The Cardinals' Twitter account (@Cardinals) will be taken over by Mike Shannon on Wednesday for the organization's first "Twittercast." During the game against the Pirates, Shannon will step away from the microphone to provide commentary, answer questions and share stories. Fans who want to interact with Shannon on Wednesday should tweet to @Cardinals using the hashtag #MikeShannon.
• Matheny said it is "doubtful" that Carlos Beltran will start both games of Tuesday's doubleheader, though he did not tip his hand as to which of games Beltran will likely play. In the doubleheader the Cardinals played against the Giants in June, Matheny had all 12 of his position players start at least once.
• In his return to the Memphis rotation on Sunday, right-hander Carlos Martinez threw five scoreless innings. Martinez scattered three hits, walked two and struck out seven.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.