WATCH: Contreras admires a double that he thinks is a home run, Maddon furious about it
Years Played: 2016 - 2018
CHICAGO — With the Chicago Cubs trailing 2-0 to the Cincinnati Reds in the fifth inning on Sunday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras paid the price for showboating after hitting what he wrongly assumed to be a game-tying home run. Pinch hitting with a runner on base, Contreras jacked a towering shot with plenty of hang time to deep center field.
Emphatically slinging his bat down and swaggering out of the batter's box after hitting the fly ball, Contreras gradually picked up the pace when he realized that the baseball might not be gone after all. The ball then hit off the wall in center field, and Contreras hustled to convert the hit into a double. He slid in safely at second base, but if the throw from Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton had been on the mark, Contreras would have likely been tagged out.
Contreras admiring what turned out to be a two-bagger was essentially harmless, as Addison Russell, the lead runner, advanced only as far as third base on the hit. Therefore, Contreras could not have gone any farther than second base. However, a better throw from the outfield could have easily resulted in Contreras getting gunned down on what should have been a routine double.
Therefore, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was understandably ticked off about Contreras's ogling, telling NBC Sports Chicago after the game, "I did not like that at all. That will be addressed. The whole team didn't like that."
Contreras was contrite about the embarrassing incident, saying to the media, "I thought it was gone. I hit it super good. Thank God I was able to run hard and make it to second base because what I did was not good for baseball. It was bad. I'm embarrassed with myself. I apologized to the pitcher and my team."
It is worth noting that Contreras is one of the Cubs' leaders, and doing something to hinder his team is very out of character for the All-Star backstop. Simply put, better safe than sorry is the approach that Contreras, as well as every other big-league slugger, should take when it comes to hits that may or may not be home runs.