Mired in an offensive drought that saw the crops that had once looked so strong and healthy now wilting pathetically, the Cubs needed a little something extra. Enter Willson Contreras, who seeded the clouds with an epic bat flip that ushered in a deluge of runs on the South Side of Chicago Friday night.
The Cubs were already leading 1-0 when Contreras dug in for the second time of the evening with two men on and two out in the bottom of the 3rd inning, but the lone tally was almost a taunt. Given the way the Cubs had been hitting, it was all too easy to imagine them forcing Yu Darvish to make the slim lead stand up. Those fears evaporated when Contreras pounced on a 99 mph four-seamer on the outside corner.
Then came the flip, a majestic toss that appeared to clear the scoreboard in center when the camera angle changed.
Added some appropriate music to WIllson's bat flip pic.twitter.com/Nozisa8bsk
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) September 26, 2020
“I didn’t mean to throw it that high,” Contreras joked to reporters after the game.
The celebration was even more fitting because it came against the Sox, who, led by electric shortstop Tim Anderson, have been proponents of bat flips and making the game fun. Someone should have shared that information with Jimmy Cordero before he entered the game with his sleeve rolled up like a carnie stashing a pack of lung darts and looking to exact vengeance. The big righty busted Contreras inside with a 98 mph sinker in the 7th inning before plunking him with another.
Cordero was tossed from the game for his blatant idiocy, then home plate umpire Dan Bellino gave the thumb to manager Ricky Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper. The Cubs were up 7-0 by that point, so it’s not like the free baserunner really mattered. Setting aside the obvious health risks, I find it dumb from a strategic standpoint to hit batters on purpose. Trying to teach them a lesson? Please.
Contreras tagged up aggressively on a subsequent fly ball from Jason Heyward, then came around to score when Jace Fry — on to replace Cordero — biffed a throw to first on a routine comebacker. The only thing being beaned taught Contreras was that he’d been given a rent-free apartment in his opponents’ heads, one he then chose to redecorate with his own style.
“I’m not going to change anything,” the DH’ing catcher explained. “I play hard for my team. I always want to do the best for my team. But if they don’t like me, that’s fine. I don’t play for other teams to like me, anyways.
“And if I have to do it again, I will do it again.”
He did end up going yard again, though his celebration was a bit more demure the second time around with his team up 10 runs. Plus, his first bat was still in orbit and he didn’t want to lose another one.
He and the Cubs certainly know that goes both ways and they should expect the Sox to show a little exuberance should they put it on the board — Yes! — against Jon Lester Saturday night. The chances of that happening are actually really good given their performance against lefties, so be prepared. And if it happens, just revel in the joy of baseball rather than breaking out the unwritten rule book and pointing to the section where it says thou shalt not toss thy lumber in celebration.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch a video of this particular bat flip on loop for 30 minutes or so.