JUPITER, Fla. - Waino's World, like the universe in which it resides, is expanding - which is great news for fantasy football fans and even better news for those lacking food, water or shelter.
Last summer, St. Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright gave fantasy football fans the opportunity to join his fantasy football league with the proceeds generated benefiting local St. Louis food bank Operation Food Search and Water Missions International.
People who joined Waino's World fantasy football league last season were treated to a day of football and baseball with St. Louis Cardinals. Wainwright held the fantasy draft at the Cardinals' ballpark. Afterward, the team owners headed to the field to watch the Cardinals take batting practice. The owners then moved to a party suite inside the ballpark to watch Wainwright pitch.
It was amazing, Wainwright said. One of the highlights of my career was the day of our draft in St. Louis. I got to pitch that night against Atlanta. I threw a complete game. As far as days go, just knowing the impact we were going to have, how much money we raised, how smooth everything had run, it was a dream come true.
The league proved so successful, raising $118,000, that Wainwright will not only do it again, he is branching out to include players from other Major League Baseball teams.
Wainwright says that in 2014, fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers will be able to join leagues hosted by pitcher Clayton Kershaw, outfielder Skip Schumaker, pitcher Cole Hamels, catcher Brian McCann, second baseman Neil Walker, pitcher Justin Masterson and pitcher Max Scherzer, respectively.
A couple of them came to me, Wainwright said. Most of them, I just kind of know these guys. I just know they are very generous guys and they are fantasy football players so I just reached out to them.
Wainwright also hopes to spread the money raised by his league among three charities this year, keeping Operation Food Search and Water Missions International, while adding another famous organization.
We're thinking about bringing Habitat for Humanity on board, Wainwright said. The idea is the basic, essential needs. The basic needs are water, food and shelter. That's what we'd like to do.
Last year, Wainwright's St. Louis teammates David Freese, Allen Craig and Matt Holliday, also joined Waino's World, creating four conferences within his league. Wainwright expects there to be three-to-five teammates joining the lead player from each of the new teams this year, potentially opening 54 spots for fans of each of those teams.
Wainwright said he and St. Louis-based RT Sports, which will once again handle the scoring and league management, are working on a way to ensure they can name an overall champion across all leagues.
During the first year, Wainwright made a point of ensuring much of the money raised help the people of St. Louis. That will be an emphasis again this year. However, the players from other teams will get to designate charities in their team's city to be recipients of some of the money earned.
The draft Wainwright hosts will be held Aug. 15. Most others will come between Aug. 10 and Aug. 19. This year's entree fee will be $3,000.
Anheuser-Busch has opened all doors providing great prizes, Wainwright said. The St. Louis Cardinals again have been just so warm and receptive to the idea of making this thing great in St. Louis.
Waino'sWorld.com will have more details as they become finalized throughout the summer months.
In the meantime, Wainwright is preparing for his opening day start against Cincinnati on Monday.
Care To Click commended Wainwright for his fantasy football league idea last year and we are even more impressed that he's taking the game to another level. We also salute Clayton Kershaw, Skip Schumaker, Cole Hamels, Brian McCann, Neil Walker, Justin Masterson and Max Scherzer for joining Wainwright's effort.
It's fantastic to see a simple idea becoming something that is both enjoyable to those involved and beneficial to those in need. Care To Click members are encouraged to join one of these leagues.
Fans unable to join Waino's World this season are still encouraged to visit the Care To Click Hunger page where small, everyday actions such as donating a click or printing useful coupons can make an impact on a hungry person's life. At CareToClick.com, your small actions prompt our donations to the fight against hunger.