Joe Maddon calls Willson Contreras' lack of hustle ‘horrible'


Joe Maddon is relentlessly positive and almost never bashes one of his players publicly.

Which is what makes his reaction Sunday evening so shocking.

Maddon sent Willson Contreras up to pinch-hit in the fifth inning of Sunday's 2-1 Cubs loss and the catcher drilled one to straightaway center that looked like it might be a game-tying home run off the bat.

Instead, the wind blowing in off Lake Michigan pushed it back onto the field, with the ball bouncing off the top of the Wrigley Field wall.

Contreras, however, completely pimped it, doing a little bat flip then staring and admiring his shot while slowly walking down the first base line. When the ball hit off the wall instead of soaring into the bleachers, he had to hustle to even get to second base and actually may have been out there if the Reds had realized he wasn't running out of the box:

Maddon famously has no rules in his clubhouse apart from "Respect 90," aka always hustling down the first base line.

So when asked about Contreras' reaction and initial lack of hustle, Maddon went off:

"Horrible," the Cubs skipper said. "I didn't like that at all. Not at all. And that will be addressed. The whole team didn't like that."

Maddon went back to that play two other times in his postgame press conference, reiterating it will be addressed with Contreras and saying he was happy with his team's effort in the loss "outside of the play by Willson."

The play did lead to the Cubs' only run as the next batter — Albert Almora Jr. — drove home Addison Russell with a sac fly.

But for Contreras to react like that was a bad look, not even taking into account the fact he's gone six weeks without a homer (last dinger was Aug. 1) and he should know better with the wind blowing in at the ballpark he's played half his games at the last three seasons.

"I thought it was gone, yes," Contreras said. "I hit it super good. The wind in this ballpark — I forgot about that. It kinda took me back to when I made my debut in 2016 [and homered to center field on the first pitch]. Obviously today was not the same case.

"Thank God I was able to run hard and make it to second base because what I did was not good for baseball. A lot of people are watching me and they've been really hard on me. At first, I thought it was gone and I kinda walked and then I started running hard. That was bad on my side.

"...I'm embarrassed of myself. I apologized to the pitcher and to the team and I think that's the right thing to do."

Contreras said Reds pitcher Luis Castillo didn't say anything back, but the Cubs catcher just wanted to make sure his opponent knew he regretted showing up the pitcher.

"I said, 'That was my fault, I shouldn't do that,'" Contreras said. "He's a nice guy and the next time I get to see him personally, I will talk to him about it. I think there's no hard feelings — he did a great job against us. That's something that happened and we learn from it."

In speaking to how rare of a sight this was for Maddon to call out Contreras in that way, Maddon's son, Joseph, said he's only seen his dad do that one other time:

On the plus side, the swing from Contreras was a serious positive for a Cubs offense that could really use his bat to get going.

He hit that ball 108.2 mph off the bat and it was only his fifth extra-base hit since Aug. 1 as the question of where his power has gone has been one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the Cubs of late.

Contreras now has a hit in 3 of his last 4 at-bats and also drew a walk in three straight games last week as Maddon has given him more rest, so maybe he could be in the process of busting out of his slump.

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