Adam Wainwright pranks former teammate Skip Schumaker

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Adam Wainwright and Skip Schumaker were St. Louis Cardinals teammates from 2005 through 2012. Schumaker moved on to the Dodgers after that and then on to the Reds before retiring. He’s now in the coaching ranks, currently serving as first base coach for the San Diego Padres.

The Padres spent the past few games in St. Louis visiting the Cardinals and, last night, left town for Atlanta to continue their road trip. When Schumaker changed out of his uniform and reached for his travel clothes — a white polo shirt and some black slacks — he found that his old friend Adam Wainwright still thinks about him after all these years:

A lot of baseball pranks are kind of basic. This one was pretty dang clever. And involved too, given that Wainwright had to enlist the help of the Cardinals’ uniform folks and, presumably, had to pay off a visiting clubhouse attendant to get him to filch Schumaker’s polo like that.

A+ to Wainwright in our book.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.