Willson Contreras expects ’50-50’ split of boos, cheers

Contreras expects mixed reaction in Wrigley return originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Willson Contreras is making his return to Wrigley Field on Monday with his team struggling to find its form, and he expects that he’s going to get a mixed reaction from Chicago Cubs fans.

Contreras, who left the Cubs and signed a five-year deal with the Cardinals during the offseason, will bat fifth and serve as the designated hitter in Monday’s game, and he told media before the game that he expects to get a healthy mix of cheers and boos when he steps to the plate.

“The welcome back is going to be 50-50. 50% is going to be happy, 50% is going to boo me,” he said. “I’m not mad about the fan base in Chicago, because I’m always going to be thankful for them. They always supported me from day one, and I’m always going to be thankful for them.”

Contreras made his debut with the Cubs in 2016, winning the World Series and starting off a run as one of the league’s best offensive catchers. After the team opted not to trade him at the 2022 deadline, he entered free agency and opted to sign with the Cardinals, who had to move forward without long-time mainstay Yadier Molina.

“Going back to my first home, the city that gave me opportunities to become a major league player, to watch my growth for six years, and the fan base that watched me play every day, I’m excited,” Contreras said.

Contreras had one other message for Cubs fans after leaving for the rival Cardinals.

“If I said something in the past that got in some people’s feelings, I really apologize, but I never would say anything against the Chicago Cubs or against the fan base,” he said.

Contreras and the Cardinals will take on Marcus Stroman and the Cubs beginning at 6:40 p.m. on the North Side.

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