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The true star of the NL Wild Card game was Willson Contreras bat flipping walks

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Bless him.

Wild Card Game - Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Rockies took a 1-0 lead late into the NL Wild Card game. The Cubs tied it one-all in the eighth after Colorado had barely gotten out of a wild seventh with their lead intact. After 13 long innings of free baseball, the Rockies punched their ticket to the NLDS against the Brewers and eliminated the Cubs with a final score of 2-1.

None of that matters, because despite Trevor Story making hero plays and both Jon Lester and Kyle Freeland pitching lights out and Terrance Gore doing his best Dave Roberts impression with a beautiful steal to set up the tying run, there was one true star of the show on Tuesday night in Chicago.

Willson Contreras’ bat flip walks. Yes, walks plural. Because the Willson Contreras Experience is never something to be missed.

The first bat flip came in the bottom of the 7th when he worked a walk to put men on first and second with two outs after a pitching change from the dominant Freeland to the initially shaky Adam Ottavino. The second bat flip after a walk came in the bottom of the ninth, during a less electrifying situation (sandwiched by strikeouts, with Contreras being the only batter to make it on base that inning) but that didn’t stop him from once again flipping his bat and absolutely freaking out.

Both of them included Contreras being hyped as hell, way more excited than pretty much any walk besides a shrimp merits. But they somehow didn’t come off as overly cocky or piss anyone on the other team off, maybe because everyone made sure to watch MLB’s new “Break the Rules” commercial before heading to the park on Wednesday.

Both bat flips look similar, but they each have their own unique features. Things that differentiate them in spirit and in level of reaction.

The first, in the more clutch situation, was an obvious ball four. It was in the dirt, Contreras knew right away, and the bat throw was aggressive. More streamlined, with a high velocity out of his hands, and his celebratory reaction was all in the arms in the shoulders. The Tiger Woods birdies the 16th at Augusta celebration.

The second, later in the game but with less immediately at stake, had a slightly delayed celebration because it was a less blatantly obvious ball. Yet a brief delay doesn’t make the celebration any less magnificent. In fact it’s far better.

It’s the ninth. Blood is rushing through his veins. The “that’s what the money is for” scene from Mad Men briefly flashes through his brain. “Walk This Way” is playing in his head over images of Jon Hamm in a suit. He’s a little sweaty and exhausted but the wake gives him his energy back and he remembers what feeling human is like.

Wait ... maybe that was me. 13 innings of Cubs-Rockies was a lot, okay? Sleep is valued. Sleep is appreciated.

Anyway. Back to what we were talking about. The second celebration is emphatic as hell. The bat arches ever so slightly more. He leaps. He claps hard once and then pumps his arms twice, a perfect combination that seems choreographed if it wasn’t so clearly spontaneous. He dances down the first base line, a borderline out of body experience. The Wrigley crowd erupts, one of the biggest reactions to an otherwise normal walk you’ll see.

A single elimination game will do that. The Cubs trying to get a rally going in the playoffs will do that. Willson Contreras will do that. The Cubs are going home, but they gave us this one great thing before they left October and we can at least appreciate them for that.