There is crying in baseball: Contreras bros.' special moment

April 29th, 2022

ATLANTA -- Cubs All-Star catcher received a nice surprise before the Cubs' 5-1 loss to the Braves on Thursday night at Truist Park.

Contreras' younger brother, William Contreras, called to tell him he had been promoted by the Braves and that the two would be squaring off against each other at the Major League level for the very first time.

As a means of celebrating the milestone, the two Contreras brothers enjoyed the opportunity to exchange lineup cards.

“He told me that he was called up again, and ever since then I got very emotional,” Willson said of his brother's exciting news. “I told him the best way to make my parents proud was taking the cards out together.”

They shared a long embrace at the plate, before the younger Contreras playfully ended the hug by lightly slapping his big brother’s head.

“That’s pretty special,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It doesn’t happen every day.”

The Braves recalled Contreras after placing Manny Piña on the injured list with left wrist inflammation. The younger Contreras spent some time as Atlanta’s primary catcher while Travis d’Arnaud was injured last year. He was also part of Atlanta’s Opening Day roster this year, but the plan is for him to spend much of this season working on further developing his skills behind the plate.

As for how this special moment came about, after an initial conversation with his younger brother, Willson discussed the opportunity with Cubs manager David Ross, who gave it his immediate approval.

“Being on the same field with family members and competing against one another and being able to share a moment before the game [is special],” Ross said. “Obviously, they've come a long way from Venezuela and their background, and that was a special moment for [Willson]. I'm happy he got that, both of them.”

At the heart of the emotion shown by the two during their embrace was, for the elder Contreras, the thought of seeing William at the highest level.

It brought Willson to tears.

“[It was] a special moment in my life,” William said. “Truly kind of a dream come true for us to be able to share the field together in just a very unique moment for us and my family.

“It's been something that I've longed for and wanted for years. … The next thing we're looking forward to is when we play at the same time against each other.”

After the game, Willson couldn't hide his emotions when discussing his relationship with his brother and their journey from Venezuela to the Majors.

“I always recall those moments when we were growing up together back home, it's your dream to get signed by somebody and the [dream] to get to the big leagues,” Willson said. “And I'm crying because I'm proud of the job that we put together to get to where we are. … It's really hard to get signed as an international signing, because there's a lot of competition.”

The impact of the pregame moment wasn’t lost on Willson, who said of the Contreras family as a whole, “I bet 100% that they were crying too.”

“I tried to share all my experiences with my brother, so he knows what road to take,” added Willson. “I taught him to learn the culture, learn the language, because that's the fundamental for [us to adapt] to a different country. And now that we got to play together, against each other … that's something that we will never forget.”