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Adam Wainwright drops some wisdom regarding the need for playoff experience

Oct 8, 2013, 9:23 AM EDT

Adam Wainwright Getty Getty Images

Maybe it’s the cold medicine talking, or maybe my mind has just been altered by the Braves loss and I’m willing to accept anything at the moment, but this quote from Adam Wainwright in Jesse Spector’s article previewing tomorrow’s Cards-Pirates showdown makes a lot of sense, regardless of the syntax.

Wainwright, who faces off against the rookie Garret Cole in Game 5, had this to say when asked if playoff experience matters:

“I think it can. Experience is one of those things where if you think it helps you it, does, and if you don’t think it does, it doesn’t. If you don’t have it, and you wish you had it, and you think you’re at a disadvantage because you don’t have it, then you are at a disadvantage.”

Or, as Satchel Paige said of age, experience is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.  And I tend to think it doesn’t matter to Gerrit Cole. If it did, he wouldn’t have shut the Cardinals the heck down in Game 2 like he did.

  1. bfunk1978 - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Wainwright knows. He showed how it doesn’t matter at all to anyone who would listen in 2006.

    • cohnjusack - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      …except Rick Ankiel.

      • bfunk1978 - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:43 AM

        Ankiel also flailed about miserably the next year. There was something wrong between his ears for a good long while, unfortunately.

  2. goskinsvt - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    This is a very Yogi Berra-esque piece of information.

  3. The Dangerous Mabry - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    I think that’s basically an exact description of the placebo effect. I wonder if that’s what he was trying to say, or if it just came out that way.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      I think placebos are banned in the current JDA.

  4. stoutfiles - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Experience matters. Otherwise, you give bad advice on Twitter like Brandon McCarthy did to Craig.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      McCarthy said don’t worry about about Freddy. Freddy pitched pretty capably, actually. Put the Braves in the position to win. Can’t really complain about that.

      • stoutfiles - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        The bad advice was more about trying to convince a Braves fan that they wouldn’t be knocked out of the playoffs. A more experienced observer of the Braves would know that’s just what they do.

  5. historiophiliac - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Gentlemen, this advice only works for sports.

    • paperlions - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      Not really. In most things, talent is more important than additional experience. Having done it more isn’t as important to success as being good at it…which is true of most professions and most aspects of life.

      The biggest problem with the playoff experience narrative in any sport is that the game isn’t different during the playoffs. Every player has played baseball (or whichever sport) a lot and is good enough to be among the best humans at it, the fact that the games have greater perceived implications doesn’t alter the construct of the game or the ability to be good at it…..if these guys couldn’t handle pressure, they wouldn’t have made it to the majors to begin with.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:03 AM

        paper, he’s talking about the belief whether you need experience or not. Just because you think you’re good at something doesn’t mean you are — or even reference your talent at it.

      • paperlions - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        Even the belief can matter as it translates to confidence. If you are confident in your actions the lack of hesitation and commitment to the endeavor can affect the result….a lack of belief can lead to questions or hesitation that most certainly can affect the outcome as well as the ability to improve a skill.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:12 AM


      • paperlions - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        I’m sorry, but it can….I am not saying that ignorance is bliss, but two people with the same talent/skill but with different confidence in their abilities will most certainly experience both different levels of success and different rates of growth in the skill or development in their talent.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:16 AM

        Dude, you totally missed the point of my post.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:21 AM

        Having done it more isn’t as important to success as being good at it…

        Right. Though doing it more often can lead to being better at it.

      • bfunk1978 - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        He’s not saying you don’t need to practice, if that’s what you’re getting at. He’s just saying that having done it under certain conditions isn’t necessarily a requirement to do it under those conditions. If that was true, every brain surgeon would paralyze or kill their first patient.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:49 AM

        I hear what you are saying Paper. Talent certainly overrides the lack of experience.
        That in mind…I know for a fact I am far more nervous during our competitive softball teams postseason games then any other time in the season.
        And we have won it all 5 of the last 7 years. And it’s competitive softball for crying out loud! I can’t imagine the nervousness/anxiety of MLB postseason play.

      • paperlions - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        Right, but that is you. It would be highly unlikely that a baseball player with that level of nerves would make it anywhere close to MLB….people that can’t perform under pressure generally are weeded out long before you get to the highest level of competition because there is always pressure to perform, you are always being pushed and fighting for your job.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        Again…I hear you. Not necessarily trying to argue. Simply pointing out it is human nature for the stress levels to rise as the stakes get higher. I have heard countless athletes…musicians…etc… state this. There is nothing wrong with it. In fact, I think it is even healthy. I makes you rise to the occasion so to speak. The best do it better than anyone. And or the record…I didn’t say I didn’t/couldn’t perform. Only that the nerves/anxiety grows as the games have more meaning. And again…that’s for competitive softball. MLB is a whole other matter! Lol!

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        I do like the fact Waino said experience helps if you think it does. And of course…if you think it doesn’t help…it won’t. In a nutshell…it’s all between the ears.

      • paperlions - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:30 PM

        Yep….I think he’s really just talking about confidence. If you are confident in your abilities despite your level of experience, the lack of experience (or even the experience you have) is irrelevant….but if you do think it is important and you don’t have it….then maybe that doubt or lack of confidence can undermine your performance.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        I don’t think there is any lack of talent between Wainwright and Cole. I would also imagine that athletes would not reach the top of their sport if they suffered from confidence problems in big moments. Guys with those sorts of issues (I would imagine) are weeded out long before they reach MLB.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        I seriously wish we had a delete function. 😦

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 8, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        I need to buy a sarcasm/quip font.

  6. whitdog23 - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    where would sports be without ridiculous cliches that nullify other ridiculous cliches?? sad to see lame bloggers can’t come up with anything new in 21st century

  7. Old Gator - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    Don’t forget to tell that to Wacha next time the two of you are alone together. Maybe if the kid had had “experience,” he could have really dominated that game.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      Wainwright did say that experience doesn’t matter if you think it doesn’t matter.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      Burn…burn…burn. In your face. Gator style.

  8. spudchukar - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    On a similar topic, Cole had the advantage in that the Cards had never seen him before. That won’t be the case tomorrow, and the Cards have a history of bouncing back the second time they see a young hurler. Should be fun to find out whether Cole can repeat his dominance or the Cards can get to the Pirate pitcher.

  9. ottomanismydog - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Speaking of the media… Watching the pre-game on TBS Pedro Martinez has called out the Pirates for not organizing their line up correctly and for Wacha’s ability to not command his change up early in the game. Both couldn’t be further from what has played out on the field as the Pirates have had timely hitting by the 6-7 slot and Wacha was a beast yesterday. A little off the topic, but still worth mentioning.

    This has been a great series for fans with 2 blow outs and 2 close games.. What will game 5 have in store?!!

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      Perhaps Pedro was having a crisis of confidence, since he has no broadcasting experience and perhaps feels as though this puts him at a disadvantage.

      I have a tough time imagining Pedro lacking confidence in anything though…

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:52 AM

        Pedro has confidence in everything he does C.C. No doubt. Be it pitching, discussing baseball or tossing Don Zimmer to the ground. Lol!

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        I can’t tell. Did Pedro mellow with age and /or the change of scenery out of Boston, or is my bias against anyone wearing a Red Sox jersey that strong? I hated his guts when he was with the Sox, but I kinda liked him with the Mets. Did he change somehow, or was it just the laundry swap that did it for me?

        I’m pretty sure he changed…

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        Lol! I appreciate your honesty. My guess…he did mellow a bit. He hated the Yankees. Probably a lot easier for him to not hate them when he quit wearing the Red Sox jersey. But I would guess the change in attire also helped you. Completely understandable. At least from my perspective anyway. Being an IU basketball fan…all someone has to do is wear Purdue attire for me to automatically tell I am not going to like them. I used to be that way with the Cubs. But I just can’t bring myself to hate them anymore. Ha!

  10. tridecagon - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    A player on a streak has to respect the streak. You know why? Because they don’t happen very often. If you believe you’re playing well because your getting laid or because you’re not getting laid or because you’re wearing women’s underwear, then you are!

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