When I was training to be a kung-fu master under the cruel tutelage of Pai Mei, I was forced to grab fruit flies out of the air using nothing but chopsticks. It took me months to hone the craft, but eventually, I snatched one out of the air and completed my training.
And by the looks of his lightening fast reactions, Willson Contreras must’ve done the same.
Watch as the Cubs’ young catcher plucks this pitch out of the air/off-the-bat of Steven Souza Jr. using his throwing arm, not his glove:
Hold on tight! pic.twitter.com/PxTdAl0Nlj
— MLB (@MLB) September 20, 2017
To be fair, that was only an 82.1 MPH changeup … so it wasn’t that impressive.
I kid, of course, because it was pretty wild – and also a bit lucky – for Contreras to hold onto a ball that ricocheted off Souza’s bat and his own glove before landing in his arm/gut for the third and final strike of the at-bat.
And if you’re wondering, yes, it barely nicked Contreras’ glove before he caught it, because if it didn’t, it wouldn’t have been considered strike three.
Take a look from another angle:
— Kevin Marchina (@kg_holler) September 20, 2017
And the official rules for further clarification:
Found the rule clarifying this. It was correctly called a strikeout! pic.twitter.com/Tl8t4vQGzN
— Daniel Wayne (@dan_arget) September 20, 2017
Pai Mei would’ve be proud.