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In Baseball, Stop Signs Are Merely Suggestions

Chicago Cubs

Originally, I didn’t have that “in baseball” part in the title, but realized I didn’t want to get BN sued. 

Willson Contreras had himself an adventurous day yesterday. Not only was he involved in the collision at the plate in the 10th inning, but he also played a central role in the Cubs’ solitary run in regulation.

With the Cubs down 1-0 in the 5th, Contreras led off by ripping one to left field, and justifiably presumed it was a double all the way. But a hard carom and a great play in left field later, and he was looking toast at second base:

Like, maybe he should have pumped the brakes at that moment. But he was already rolling:

It wound up taking a brilliant El Mago-esque slide to turn it into a double:

Risky double secured. 

Next up, Kyle Schwarber crushed one off the center field wall – another situation where you’re like, this is supposed to have Result X, so I’ll just do that. The problem was that Contreras thought there was a chance the ball would be caught, and was all the way back at second base thinking he might tag up. That resulted in the rare situation where was going to be held at third base, coming from second base, on a sure-fire double. 

But, like the headline says, that stop sign from third base coach Will Venable was only a suggestion: 

That time, it wasn’t so much a brilliant slide by Contreras that saved his biscuit, but a catcher’s inability to hold onto the ball when applying the tag. Whew. Sometimes that does happen, and you can force the issue with aggressive baserunning. 

All told, Contreras probably shoulda stopped at first. And then he probably shoulda stopped at third. The next time around, I’d make those recommendations. But this time around, all’s well that ends well.

And I’d criticize Schwarber for not taking third when the ball squirted away, but maybe that, too, would’ve taken a crazy slide and some good luck.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.