Last June the Dodgers found themselves in last place, nine games out of first. The media had Don Mattingly on the Super Chief out of town and back home and was wondering how $200 million in payroll could result in such a dud of a team. Then all they did was go on a near-historic surge and win the NL West going away.
Fast forward to 11 days ago and the Dodgers were flailing again. They stood nine and a half games back of the Giants — who had the best record in baseball — and were once again subject to early obituaries in the press. Even Don Mattingly resumed his role as pessimist, telling reporters to ask the players why they stink because he didn’t know.
Since then, the Dodgers have won eight of 11. The Giants have lost eight of 11. In that time L.A. has gone from 9.5 games behind to 4 games back.
It’s like it’s Déjà Vu all over again.
On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”
Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.
Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.
Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.