Willson Contreras didn’t mean to throw his bat so high.
Before the Cubs’ 10-0 win over the White Sox Friday, Contreras said, Anthony Rizzo had told him to do something exciting if he hit a home run.
And exciting it was.
The Cubs designated hitter likely would have set the record for highest-arching bat flip in MLB history, if that stat was kept in the record books, after a three-run home run in the third inning. In the aftermath, he was hit by a pitch, and the Sox were handed three ejections.
“It wasn’t to disrespect the other group,” Cubs manager David Ross said of the bat flip. “It was because we’ve been struggling offensively, and he brought some swagger, brought some edge. And I loved every second of it.”
Contreras said he was expecting what happened two plate appearances later. White Sox reliever Jimmy Cordero’s first pitch missed inside. The second was directly at Contreras.
“I just didn’t want to argue anything or say anything,” Contreras said, “because I know that if I start something, like a fight, I might get suspended. And that’s something that I don’t want.”
Contreras chucked his bat and took his base. Shouts came from the Cubs dugout. Home plate umpire Dan Bellino ejected Cordero. Then, after the ensuing uproar from the White Sox, he tossed manager Rick Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper.
Cordero insisted after the game that he didn’t intentionally hit Contreras.
“It was just a bad pitch,” Cordero said.
That’s not how Ross took it.
“I thought Tim Anderson’s bat flip last year, where he flipped it and looked in his dugout, that’s what you want,” Ross said, “and that’s exactly what Willson did.”
The White Sox shortstop made headlines last April, when he bat-flipped after a home run off Royals pitcher Brad Keller. Anderson too was hit by a pitch after that celebration.
As Anderson approached the situation then, Contreras stood by his bat flip on Friday.
“I celebrated with my teammates,” he said. “I got pumped up. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and that was one thing that I did.
“I have no regrets, zero regrets.”