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Joe Maddon considers how Willson Contreras’ background impacts temperament

Maddon defended his catcher’s angry response.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras found himself in some hot water over how he lost his temper in Friday’s game against St. Louis, but he has a rather nuanced defender in his manager.

Contreras was suspended for two games over an altercation with home plate umpire Jordan Baker that also got his pitcher, John Lackey, tossed from the game. Contreras was aggrieved over a perceived missed third strike call and slammed his mask to the ground in anger, and it jumped up and hit Baker.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon understands that Contreras has a lot of passion and it makes him a better player — but it needs to be channeled correctly. He also noted that Contreras comes from a different culture that Maddon simply doesn’t, and it’s his job to better understand that.

It’s probably a little indicator of why Maddon, by and large, is so popular with his players. In a sport where many Latino players engage in showmanship and outward shows of passion — which is sometimes critiqued by the old guard — Maddon seeks to understand instead of criticize, at least in this instance.

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