adam wainwright cardinalsAmong new Chicago Cub Jason Heyward’s reasons for choose the Cubs over his former team, the St. Louis Cardinals, Heyward pointed to a core that might not be in place for much longer – something that doesn’t look to be an issue in Chicago. Heyward’s former manager Mike Matheny didn’t care for that rationale, even if he pivoted the question slightly and made it a matter of the quality of the Cardinals’ core.

Presumably, given that, and the ensuing tempest that popped up among media and fans – look, man, we love Cubs/Cardinals rivalry stuff, and there’s not a thing wrong with it – Heyward spoke to Peter Gammons about his comments and clarified what he meant. We’ve already got a sense of how classy Heyward is, so I’m not surprised to read that he spent most of the time praising his former club, even though, as he points out, he never chose to be on the Cardinals.

You can and should read Gammons’ piece for the full context, but the short version is that Heyward wasn’t saying the Cardinals are old and in decline or anything else that Matheny’s response hinted at. Instead, he was simply saying that, when he looks at the Cubs and looks at the Cardinals, one of those teams is more likely to look the same at its core four, five, six years down the road. That team is the Cubs, and I don’t think that’s arguable.

So, then, tempest over.

Right? No way! We must never let artificial rivalry bits go!

Adam Wainwright also responded to Heyward’s remarks, speaking with Bernie Miklasz in a must-read interview for so many reasons* (Wainwright seems awfully grumpy about suggestions that a 34-year-old pitcher coming off a major achilles injury, and a herculean workload before that injury, could possibly start to decline).

Wainwright had very nice things to say about Heyward as a teammate, so let’s not go saying that he was all about ripping Heyward.

But he did suggest that, in his opinion, Heyward’s decision to join the Cubs was about not wanting to be “the guy” in St. Louis after the Wainwright/Molina/Holliday core departs.

“The person that we want to give that kind of money to, that big money to, he needs to be a person that wants to be the guy that carries the torch,” Wainwright told Miklasz. “He needs to be a guy that wants to be the person, that after we leave, he carries on the tradition. And that’s just a personality thing, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But we’re looking for that guy who wants to be the man.”

It’s a little bit of a barb. Wainwright’s not being openly hostile or angry, and his comments seem to be coming from a sincere place … but the implication is that Heyward doesn’t want to be a leader or the focal point of the team. Who knows? Maybe he doesn’t. But saying so after a guy chooses to sign with your rival (for less guaranteed money) casts comments like this in a negative light.

This is probably the last we’ll hear about this stuff until Spring Training rolls around, and then again, of course, when the teams first square off in St. Louis on April 18.

*(Also, Wainwright says this: “And if you remember, if [Randal] Grichuk doesn’t get hurt last year there’s a very good chance he wins Rookie of the Year.” Nah.)

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