Verbal exchange with Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras gets 2 fans banned from National Park for 5 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two fans are banned from Nationals Park for five years after a heated exchange with Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras.

The incident occurred in the top of the 10th inning Tuesday during the Cubs’ 7-5, 11-inning victory over the Washington Nationals. After Contreras’ sacrifice fly gave the Cubs a lead, he headed from behind home plate to the Cubs’ dugout on the third-base side.

That’s when an animated Contreras verbally engaged a fan in the stands. At least one person was escorted by stadium security after Contreras returned to the bench.

A Nationals spokesman confirmed the five-year suspension for the two fans to the Tribune on Wednesday.

After the game, Contreras declined to go into the details of his tense exchange with the fan, who said he was Latino and spoke Spanish. But he said, “If someone tried to ruin my family, they are going to (have to) go through me first. Whatever they said, it wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t right.

Players understand and expect to bad-mouth opposing fans during games, something Contreras has certainly heard over the years with no problem. However, he made it clear that the comments that led to the ballpark ban were personal and clearly crossed a line.

“What he said bothered me,” Contreras said. “We are speaking the same language. I know what you mean.”

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