Willson Contreras Has No Regrets About His Big, Beautiful Bat Flip: “I Knew That My Team Needed Its Swagger Back”

Willson Contreras Has No Regrets About His Big, Beautiful Bat Flip: “I Knew That My Team Needed Its Swagger Back”

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The Cubs, who scored 10 runs last night, had scored just 10 runs in their previous seven games combined. Things looked awfully bleak for the offense.

So when Willson Contreras hit a three-run homer last night to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead, it felt like an enormous weight was lifted with that singular swing. The fact that Contreras chucked his bat 40 feet into the air didn’t seem over-the-top in the least. It seemed completely right. It’s no surprise that everyone’s been having a lot of fun with it:

Get on the bus. pic.twitter.com/2gEvn4yQ5L

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 26, 2020

Something I loved in particular about the monster toss was how much Contreras’s teammates loved it. Just look at Anthony Rizzo here:

Has Willson’s bat landed yet? pic.twitter.com/3ek9dujh6k

— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) September 26, 2020

It turns out there was a good reason Contreras went that big and Rizzo reacted so strongly. Turns out, before the game, Rizzo told Contreras to do something to pump up the team if he hit a home run.

“[Rizzo said], ‘Hey, if you hit a homer, just do something exciting. Just do a bat flip,’” Contreras said, per Cubs.com. “I was having fun. I hit the ball. I knew that it was gone. I knew that my team needed its swagger back.”

Oh hell yes.

“I’m not going to change anything,” Contreras added. “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.”

The White Sox may not have liked the massive flip, plunking Contreras later in the game (which is BS, and a suspension should follow). But Contreras doesn’t care: “I knew it was coming because I think they felt disrespected, which, what I did, I have nothing wrong with it. I celebrated with my teammates. I got pumped up. I wear my emotions below my sleeves. That was one thing that I did. I have no regrets – zero regrets.”

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel:Getty Images)

Contreras’s manager echoed the thoughts of his catcher, albeit in a managerial way.

“I loved every second of it,” Cubs manager David Ross said, per Cubs.com. “Probably not my style, if I’m playing, but these guys need a little bit of an edge …. He flipped it and looked in his dugout – that’s what you want – and that’s exactly what Willson did. He bat flipped. It wasn’t to disrespect the other group. It was because we’ve been struggling offensively and he brought some swagger. He brought some edge.”

Contreras went on to homer late in the game when the White Sox went to position player Yolmer Sanchez. No bat flip necessary:

.@WContreras40 knows what to do with 69-mph cheese. pic.twitter.com/buhCyOAbYo

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 26, 2020

The big night – two homers, a walk, and a HBP – raised Contreras’s season slash line from .236/.347/.374 (99 wRC+) to .243/.357/.411 (111 wRC). Given his defense and now-elite pitch framing, Contreras (1.6 WAR) has been the most valuable catcher in the National League.

And one last awesome thing:

This was awesome. I’ve noticed after every game, Rizzo is always the first player to start the handshake line after wins. Today, he wanted Contreras to be at the front of the line. #Cubs pic.twitter.com/ii1w5hlc1z

— Scott Changnon (@ScottyChags) September 26, 2020

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