Joe Maddon: Criticism of Willson Contreras over running gaffe is 'over the top'

ByJesse Rogers ESPN logo
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

PHOENIX -- One day after calling out his catcher for not running hard out of the batter's box, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the criticism directed towards Willson Contreras is "over the top."

"Willson always plays hard," Maddon said Monday afternoon. "For anyone to say otherwise, please, come talk to me. It's inappropriate. It's incorrect. That's wrong. He had a bad moment, but he said he was sorry and did the right thing."

On Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds, Contreras thought a fifth-inning ball hit to center field was a home run, so he began to jog around the bases. Instead, the ball hit off the wall, forcing the catcher to scramble to not be thrown out at second base. He barely made it there safely.

"Horrible," Maddon said afterward. "I didn't like that at all. That will be addressed."

For his part, Contreras was contrite about not running, and on Monday, Maddon defended him by making the distinction between flat-out not running out a ball and not running out one he thought was "30 feet" into the stands.

"Anyone that wants to hammer on that should come talk to me about it because I'll defend this young man -- always," Maddon said. "He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played every day."

Major League Baseball didn't help matters when its official Twitter account retweeted a video of the play with the caption "Disrespect 90," a play on words of one of Maddon's slogans, "Respect 90,"which means to run hard for 90 feet, the distance between the bases.

"There's way too much made of it," Maddon continued. "Way too much. It's over the top. It's not necessary. Whoever is perpetuating this is wrong. He made a mistake and said he was wrong. I'm totally against this dialogue. It's inane. It needs to go away.

"Why do you have to carry it over to the next day?"

To be clear, Maddon wasn't backtracking on the criticism of the play, just the piling on that came afterward.

"It should not happen in spring training, it should not happen in May, it should not have happened [Sunday]," Maddon said. "But it does. He's not the first guy that has done it. He won't be the last."

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