Until the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher realized it was his white pickup being driven onto the field.
Cardinals teammates Lance Berkman and Skip Schumaker pulled off an April Fools' Day prank Sunday that had Wainwright hoping at first that it was all just for laughs.
"As long as that's a joke, that is well done," Wainwright said. "I don't know if that's a joke, yet."
Turned out, it sure was. And it got Wainwright good.
Following the second inning of the Cardinals' 2-1 spring training loss to the Washington Nationals, public address announcer John Frost read a fake script proclaiming that a fan won a car. Berkman drove a 2009 Chevrolet Silverado onto the field from the left-field fence - just as a local dealership had done during an advertising spot before the start of the previous inning.
Berkman, in uniform but not in the starting lineup, drove toward home plate and then to the front of the Cardinals' dugout, where he started honking the horn.
Wainwright quickly realized something was up.
"I wanted to see who was driving," Wainwright said. "I looked around (the dugout) and didn't hear or see Lance, so ... ."
Meanwhile, Matt Griffin - the uncle of third baseman David Freese - kept the gag going in the stands. Holding a ticket to the "winning" seat just announced over the stadium speakers, Griffin jumped around wildly as though he'd won the car. Griffin grabbed his son, ran down onto the field and climbed into the bed of the pickup.
"Something needed to be done. It's April Fools'," Schumaker said. "We collectively just thought about doing something. As usual, Lance took it over the top."
Berkman struggled to maneuver the oversized truck around the Cardinals' bullpen mounds before exiting the field through the right-field gate. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny knew the prank would happen, but was not part of the planning.
"Hilarious," Wainwright said of the practical joke. "Those are the kinds of things that keep baseball pretty fun - besides the fact that baseball is already pretty fun."